Neighbourhood Policing Fears For York in North Yorkshire Police Shake Up
5:12pm 27th June 2014
(Updated 5:13pm 27th June 2014)
York Council's cabinet member in charge of tackling crime has raised fears for neighbourhood policing in York under a planned shake up of North Yorkshire Police.
Labour's Tracey Simpson-Laing met with the county’s Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner, Julia Mulligan, last week, seeking assurances that the Commissioner’s proposals will not hit street level policing.
The Commissioner recently announced a new ‘operational policing model’ which commits to maintaining policing levels at their current number and a commitment to ‘significantly increase’ the time spent in communities by both police officers and police community support officers.
In York, Neighbourhood Officer and PCSO numbers will be maintained at current levels, 17 Neighbourhood Officers and 63 PCSOs. The current Inspector-led Neighbourhood Policing Teams of West (based at Acomb Police Station), North (based at Athena House, Clifton) and City & East (based at Fulford Road and Mill House) will change to two teams. The new model will see geographical areas of North, and City and South. This change will not affect the location of constables and PCSOs, only their line management will change
Tracey Simpson-Laing says she is still concerned about the plans, saying in a statement:
“We remain to be convinced that officers will actually spend a great deal more of their time out in communities, welcome though that would be. Using newer technology should free up some time but I think it is questionable how much more. I spoke with the Police and Crime Commissioner last week to get her assurances that this model will deliver what she is saying it will, and that frontline policing levels will be protected."
“The neighbourhood policing model is proven and has helped to reduce crime in our city so we will seriously scrutinise proposals as they come forward. Labour is committed to protecting neighbourhood policing in all of York’s communities."
“I have a concern that with frequent reorganisations, continuity and effectiveness is compromised as local people and partners are unclear who in the Police they are working with. I raised this point with the Commissioner and I hope she takes it on board."
“We understand that the Police is under pressure to change ways of working given the significant funding cuts it has experienced under the present Conservative–Liberal Democrat Government, but we do hope that this commitment to frontline policing being maintained is genuine”.
North Yorkshire Police Commissioner Julia Mulligan has not responded to Minster FM's request for a response to Tracey Simpson-Laing's concerns but speaking at the launch of the new "operational policing model" said:
“Notwithstanding the years of austerity, we are announcing a major investment in North Yorkshire Police for the long term, which has at its heart the central objective to increase the visibility of policing in our local communities.
“Making it easier for officers to do their jobs on the move, without having to come back to the station to fill in and submit paperwork, will mean more time spent on the beat serving the public and arresting criminals.
“The OPM has also analysed how policing is changing, setting up the force for the future so that it is better placed to tackle crime over the coming years. For example, for the first time, North Yorkshire Police will have a dedicated Cyber Crime Unit.
“We now need to discuss these proposals with local communities, and ensure they understand what’s needed of a modern and effective police service.”
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