Hopes of creation of up to eight neighbourhood policing teams: police colum
We currently have three neighbourhood policing teams in Doncaster. But with police funding looking set to rise, I believe that could rise to as many as eight teams, writes Chief Supt Shaun Morley
Now there has been a review of neighbourhood policing, particularly in terms of the numbers and the use of community support officers within those neighbourhoods, we are looking at where we will be re-investing in officers within our local communities.
With the expected national uplift around policing that the Government recently announced, when we have worked through the details and secured the funding, we expect in the near future to be able to bring an increase from three to possibly as many as eight neighbourhood policing teams in Doncaster.
This would be something we would like to do within the next financial year.
That may sound ambitious. But we want to improve and develop community safety and make those neighbourhoods more secure. I think the core, fundamental thing that we need to achieve to do that is to put police officers who are dedicated to local communities back into those areas.
In the communities, they can build trust and relationships and work constructively together, helping to build a good quality of life and better safety in those neighbourhoods. That is our key intent.
After the changes, we would look to have 26 PCSOs in the communities. There are 21 Doncaster Council wards, and we would like to dedicate a PCSO to each individual council ward, as well as significantly expanding the number of neighbourhood policing teams.
We carried out a review of PCSO numbers and the view that the force has is that we have a relatively low number of constables and a relatively high number of PCSOs.
The review is looking to change the balance to have more PCs relative to the number of PCSOs.
We are looking to create a better balanced workforce that should ensure we effectively engage with the community and have the capability to tackle local issues.
We have already announced that we plan to have a neighbourhoods team based at Edlington Police Station, and the plan is to have that up and running in February 2020. The actual date is still to be confirmed as we have to do some work around the security of the building first.
We would like all the new teams to be in place by the end of March 2021.
In the meantime, we are looking to introduce a new national scheme to make the town centre a safer place at night, in terms of the night time economy.
We are looking to work alongside Doncaster Council to bring in the Best Bar None scheme. We will be involved through promotion of the scheme, and assessments.
We are putting the finishing touches to an app which people will be able to use to see where they can go in Doncaster to find a bar that would fit into certain categories, such as which ones are family friendly, or which show sports on screens. They would all have been assessed for safety and security.
It will promote responsible drinking, and perhaps ideas like free refills of soft drinks for drivers.
It would also look to operate a scheme that has already been used elsewhere, called Ask for Angela. The idea is that people who are feeling vulnerable on a night out with someone can ask at the bar if Angela is working, as a code, and then be offered support.
Once that is running, we hope to apply for Purple Flag status – a status that is given to towns that are shown to have safe night time economies.
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