Thursday, March 26, 2009

It's not just the Police working on 'Crime and Disorder' issues in Howden and Howdenshire

One of my roles is to chair the Howden & Howdenshire Police and Partners Community Forum (PPCF), and we recently held the spring meeting in North Cave. The East Riding Safer and Stronger Communities Action Group (SSCAG) also attended; this group involves the Police, Fire and Rescue Service, the NHS, the Police Authority and various Council-led teams dealing with areas such as crime and disorder reduction, anti-social behaviour, domestic violence, youth offending, substance abuse, licensing, and the Children’s Service. Coupled with these were the Neighbourhood Action Teams (NATs) and last but not least the Local Action Teams (LATs).

The meeting was a chance for all the different partner organisations working in the area of crime and disorder to meet with the public as one, giving the opportunity to listen to residents and demonstrate that it is just not about the Police working alone, it is about Police Officers working with the Local Authority, partner organisations and the community to address problems in this area.

"It is important that we have partnership working and that all have a common approach to solving the problems we face. It is equally important that we do not have organisations duplicating their efforts and separately trying to do similar things with the same target groups of people, as this is a very inefficient use of time and resources".

"The East Riding is very much at the forefront within the whole country of having partners sitting around a table, cooperating and exploring ways of working together, both at the senior management level and at the delivery level. It is the local coordination of service delivery that is important, and the Local Action Teams (LATs) are at the forefront of this".

The subjects of speeding traffic and parking, along with incidents of anti-social behaviour were again the main issues raised by the public. It was acknowledged the East Riding as a whole is a safe place in which to live and crime levels are low. The subject of Police visibility was also discussed with the message coming across that people would like to see a greater Police presence.

Divisional Commander Chief Supt Paul Davison talked about confidence in the Police, but most of the concerns raised were about minor things, which cause residents real problems. He sympathised with the problem, but was not sure if speed cameras were the answer. He took the opportunity to ask residents about the scale of the problems of speeding vehicles in Howdenshire villages. He referred to the debate on public confidence and satisfaction with the Police in general, and specifically regarding people who were charged for speeding. He explained that cameras did reduce fatalities, but also caught people who were maybe only one or two mph over the speed limit but otherwise law-abiding citizens. He was more concerned about anti-social use of vehicles on the road, suggesting that the police should be stopping speeding before it happened and targeting those who used the roads recklessly, not those who occasionally strayed marginally over the speed limit.

"As Chairman of the Police Authority Forum I welcome the Police and partners listening to what residents have to say, and how changes and improvements can be made. I am more of a critical friend to the Police, and as such I understand some of the problems they face, mainly from targets imposed by central Government. I feel they need to be unshackled from the bureaucracy they are burdened with and allowed to get on with the job of being policemen and policewomen. I am a great supporter of PCSOs who are probably the nearest thing we will get to a local Bobby; they have a positive influence particularly with young people. The PCSOs show respect to the young kids, and this respect is returned multiplied and does a lot to address the issues of anti-social behaviour".

1 comment:

Kev Owen (aka Bluetracker) said...

I'm not sure that PCSO's are the way forward.
I'm old enough to remember three shifts of police officers working between Goole & Howden stations and on each shift there was at least 12 officers 'out there' walking beats...yes WALKING plus those needed at the station to man the front desk look after prisoners etc. There was also at least 1 town patrol car and 1 rural patrol for Goole itself and similar for Howden PLUS Road Traffic police keeping an eye on the Motorway. There was also a small C.I.D. compliment.
Nowadays we are lucky to see a 'real' policeman at all never mind walking around town. If we do he is likely to be heading back to his car!
Whizzing through town at 30mph is not 'policing'
Governmental interference in setting targets has served only to remove the small number of officers we have left on the ground from our streets. It is now a virtual 'open season' for the anti socialites and those of criminal intent.
Police stations are open only during 'office hours' and a member of the public who may require Police assistance is shunted via the switchboard in Hull and their call is dealt with by someone who has no local knowledge whatsoever and in many cases is not even a police officer. In many cases the caller is left waiting for a police attendance that never arrives as the call has been 'prioritised' as not being one worthy of dealing with there and then. But when a patrol finally does find the time to 'swing by' sometimes hours after the original telephone request for assistance, what may have been merely a call regarding a drunk making a lot of noise during the 'quiet hours' has escalated in parked cars being left without wing mirrors and the perpetrator long gone!
You cannot prioritise policing matters from 32 miles away.
Crime is a 24 hour 365 days a year occupation. Police stations should be open and manned likewise.
Criminals do not work part time nor do they (unlike police officers)spend most of their day writing about their exploits!