Saturday, 16 November 2013

Residents Frustrated With 'Neighbourhood' Policing In Rural Areas

As residents of West Berkshire we are lucky to live in a local authority area with relatively low levels of crime. And as residents of Aldermaston ward we are even luckier that our villages are among the safest in the district - at least, that's what we are led to believe!

While out campaigning members of your local Focus team attended several 'Have Your Say' [ref] events to meet local PCSOs (Police Community Support Officers). These 'Police surgeries' are intended to demonstrate engagement with communities and gather feedback regarding local policing priorities, yet they are often scheduled at times and places when members of the public are least likely to be able to attend and we found that they are also regularly cancelled without notice.

As a result engagement and feedback can be less than expected, and LibDems continue to receive occasional complaints that residents' concerns are overlooked. Since promises of accessibility fail to match public demands this may be leading to misidentification of local priorities by the Police authority.

In Aldermaston ward (Aldermaston, Brimpton, Midham Wasing and Woolhampton parishes) worries are compounded by the way neighbourhood policing teams are divided - after recent reorganisations Brimpton and Aldermaston villages are now included in the renamed 'Thatcham West' patrol area, while Midgham and Woolhampton are designated part of the 'Bucklebury/Downlands' area (although crime statistics are collected along different lines, see links below).

This has the consequence that Police resources become concentrated where priority reports are made - in Thatcham, and in Hermitage and Upper Bucklebury - meaning our villages fall between between two stools.

Almost 1/4 of all reported crime in Bucklebury/Downlands occurs in our ward, yet this is completely ignored in the Neighbourhood Policing Newsletter!

And since incidence of crime can quickly flare up as Police visibility falls your local LibDems are concerned that the neighbourhood policing boundaries do not reflect the needs of residents.

Aldermaston ward campaigner James Spackman commented,
"the way neighbourhood patrol areas are currently organised is failing both Police Officers and members of the public. Particularly during a time of austerity it's important to make sure we make the best use of available resources."

Check out Thames Valley Police performance figures from 2010-2013

Look the crime maps for:
Check Policing priorities for:

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