This is something of a balancing act. Like most people I’m reassured when I see someone out and about regularly in police uniform. I don’t want to see a uniform on every street corner or even every day, but I do want to see one regularly as it makes me feel good about the area. The other side of the balance is that local people want my team to be patrolling in places and at times when they’re most likely to prevent crime happening or to catch criminals. That may be at 11am when many people are at work, or at 3am when many people are asleep in bed. In that case we shall not be seen by most people.
To deal with this, each of our Police Community Support Officers has a ‘patrol plan’.
This identifies times and places where there are likely to be high volumes of people, for example, school finishing time at Todmorden High School, peak times for Morrisons’ supermarket and so on. It also identifies a spectrum of places that rightly expect to see regular patrols, like the Medical Centre, along the canal bank or up at Hardcastle Crags. On top of all that, there will be specific events that deserve visible patrols, which we cater for on a case by case basis.
My team and I need to get the balance right. Being in an area too often can worry local people, who may think that the only reason we’re there is because they are at risk of being a victim of crime. In fact in this area we are still in one of the safest places in the county.
If we are not seen enough then people will wonder whether they’re at risk of becoming a victim of crime.
We’ll carry on doing our best to be seen patrolling regularly and we’ll talk to as many people as we can to let them know why we’re there. We are using social media to let people know where we’ve been, so even if you haven’t seen us in person, you know that we’ve been because you will have seen a photo of us in your area. If you’re not sure whether you’re getting the service you deserve you can join in in person or at an online meeting for your area and ask us the question. Details are on our website.
Next month I’ll be looking at rubbish/litter and drunk/rowdy behaviour. In the meantime why not take a look at the Upper Valley NPT facebook site and you can see some of the work we’re doing that is making a difference in this area?