Community policing losing out

COMMUNITY police officers in Suffolk spent less than a third of their time working in their districts last year, it was revealed today.The officers, whose job involves working with schools, businesses and other community groups, were diverted from their regular work by operational commitments.

COMMUNITY police officers in Suffolk spent less than a third of their time working in their districts last year, it was revealed today.

The officers, whose job involves working with schools, businesses and other community groups, were diverted from their regular work by operational commitments.

Despite targets suggesting they should spend at least half of their time within the community - actual figures revealed that only 31 per cent of their time was spent on their beat.

Suffolk chief constable Alistair McWhirter said: “CPOs provide a visible and local policing presence in communities across the county, engaging with people and focussing on issues and priorities.


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“The role of the CPO is being reinforced with the introduction of Safer Neighbourhood Teams across the county. The teams will give people greater accessibility to the police and provide an enhanced service.

“In the past, when there have been operational commitments it has been necessary to take CPOs from their day-to-day community duties.”

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Under the government's drive for community policing to be introduced within rural and urban communities, there is an added emphasis on improving relations within the community.

It is hoped that this will lead to greater intelligence gathering and added public reassurance.

Under new Home Office guidelines it will not be possible to divert CPOs on Safer Neighbourhood Teams away from their duties.

These teams are already in place in south east Ipswich, south west Ipswich, central Ipswich and Kesgrave.

Today's figures were released as part of the chief constable's annual report to the police authority.

They were compiled over a two-week period in November when CPOs were required to record their activities in line with national guidelines.

Do you think there is enough neighbourhood policing? Write to: Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail: eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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