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Police Foundation: Neighbourhood policing is crucial for tackling 21st century crime

15th February 2017

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Dame Vera Baird QC, has welcomed new research by the Police Foundation which says neighbourhood policing needs to be protected – a view firmly shared by  PCC Baird.

The findings of the new report entitled ‘Police Effectiveness in a changing world’ state that neighbourhood policing plays a vital role in tackling new crime challenges and that cutting back community teams could pose a serious threat to the police service as a whole.

The Police Foundation studied local policing at first hand in four police forces and found that well-resourced neighbourhood teams were able to operate more effectively and were better placed to tackle crime and prevent harm.

As the police look to tackle more complex, hidden and ‘new’ crime such as child sexual exploitation, fraud and terrorism, the Police Foundation today presents a set of recommendations for police leaders on how neighbourhood policing should adapt.

The recommendations promote partnership approaches and local needs driven services,  which are already priorities for Northumbria Police.

PCC Baird, said: “Neighbourhood policing is at the heart of Northumbria Police. From speaking to local people I know how much they value the work of their neighbourhood police teams – they are the eyes and ears of the community and do a very good job.

“In recent years, Government cuts have meant that tough decisions have had to be taken, but I am absolutely clear on the value of neighbourhood policing and will continue to do everything within my power to protect it.

“I firmly believe that a strong neighbourhood policing model helps build stronger communities. Here in Northumbria, despite us facing the largest budget cuts of any other Force, we have protected our neighbourhood policing teams. I am committed to maintaining Neighbourhood Policing as we move through this challenging period.”

Northumbria Police Chief Constable Steve Ashman said: “Yes, the nature of policing demands are changing but we need local officers more than ever. It’s the neighbourhood teams who ensure vulnerable people are identified at the earliest possible stage and they also gather vital intelligence to help counter serious crime.

“Northumbria Police is recognised as a force that delivers for local communities and I will do all I can to make sure that local needs continue to be met.”

Police Foundation Director Rick Muir said “As vulnerability and harm reduction move higher up the policing agenda, police leaders must ensure they do not lose sight of the importance of neighbourhood policing, which far from being an ‘optional extra’ is more vital than ever.

“Our research has shown how strong neighbourhood policing ensures proactive capacity, local insight and outreach, trusted community contacts and inter-agency relationships which will provide vital tools for meeting the challenges of policing in the 21st century”.