Neighbourhood Policing Is Key To Improving Public Confidence

THE police service will not be able to improve public confidence without investing in neighbourhood policing, Hampshire Police Federation has warned.

Chair Zoë Wakefield said small budgets had led to community teams being sacrificed over the past decade.

She said: “You can’t stop having response, you can’t stop going to 999 calls. But you can stop that visible presence in communities and you can stop going to those community meetings.

“In periods of high demand, all that happens is the officers on neighbourhoods are being used to going to all the 999 jobs because there aren’t enough officers on response. So they’re not being able to properly do their job of policing their communities.

“I know a lot of neighbourhood officers that find it incredibly frustrating because they want to know everything about their communities and they can’t really help them deal with the problems. It’s very frustrating for them.

“Neighbourhood policing is massively important and is the key to increasing community confidence and reducing crime. Neighbourhood officers get to know everyone in their community and who the problem people are. It is so important and it is an area of policing that has been lost.”

In a keynote speech at the Institute for Government, Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper expressed Labour’s intentions to tackle crime by putting an extra 13,000 neighbourhood police officers and police community support officers back on Britain’s streets, paid for with £360 million delivered from a shared procurement plan.

Police Federation of England and Wales National Chair Steve Hartshorn said he supported the plans.

He said: “Neighbourhood policing has been massively undervalued, and subsequently decimated, over the space of more than a decade, with 6,000 fewer officers in these teams.

“An uplift in police officers is desperately needed, and we support plans to do so, but we need to exercise caution in how this can be achieved when forces are already having to make multi-million-pound budget cuts.”

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