Hampshire Police needs more neighbourhood police officers if it is to cut crime and build connections with communities, the force’s Federation has said.
Neighbourhood Police Week of Action in January celebrated neighbourhood policing successes across the country, and highlighted the important work of officers in communities.
Officers and staff carried out high visibility patrols, ran drugs crackdowns and publicised the work of the men and women who keep communities safe.
Hampshire Police Federation Chair Zoë Wakefield (pictured) said: “Neighbourhood policing is really important. It was my last role before I came into the Federation full time. Unfortunately, because of the austerity and all of the cuts, a lot forces have had to get rid of neighbourhood policing. We’ve still got it in Hampshire but it is massively reduced from what it what it was.”
Hampshire Constabulary is running at a £43 million shortfall, but Zoë has said she would like to see funding for more neighbourhood officers. Zoë was a neighbourhood sergeant in Eastleigh before she moved to the Federation full time.
She added: “Neighbourhood police officers are the people that the public see – that the communities see. And they are the eyes and ears for everything else. A good neighbourhood officer knows so much about his or her local area. They know who the problem people are, they know where they hang out; they know so much.
“And without that local knowledge, you really lose a lot of the proactive work and the intelligence gathering. And that’s just one aspect of neighbourhood policing.
“Neighbourhood officers really get in touch with those hard-to-reach communities, different community groups, those from protective characteristics, and other ethnicities. It is so important that we have connections with all these different groups. If we don’t have that, we cannot have good policing.”