In a recent article in the Police Review, Inspectpr Simon Hepworth of West Yorkshire Police, waxes lyrical about the ‘new’ government initiative of neighbourhood policing.
Entitled ‘Keeping Policing Local’ he says the recent publicity by the government promoted "a localised brand of policing & promises the public access to a dedicated & visible neighbourhood policing team."
Inspector Hepworth is a neighbourhood policing team inspector & is "pleased to say there is nothing new in this initiative" – well no shit Sherlock!
He explains "West Yorkshire Police moved towards the primacy of neighbourhood policing over a year ago & our chief constable, Sir Norman Bettison, has long been a champion of this format."
I seem to recall that Inspector Hepworth has previously written criticism of police bloggers. It’s a shame he hasn’t been reading this one or he’d have discovered that neighbourhood policing initiatives date back far longer than his ‘forward thinking force’.
Insp Hepworth ends his article with some advice to improve the success of this ‘visionary‘ style of policing. "To be most effective, neighbourhood ethos needs to be spread across all parts of the police organisation. An ideal model of neighbourhood policing would [be] to have patrol teams, proactive beat managers [e.i. neigbourhood PCs] & CSOs working in the same area every day. They could be backed up by CID & local intelligence officers who would also concentrate their efforts in the same small area.
"A police station in each town would be ideal. The lack of a loal nick is something the Home Office should address to get the best out of its new idea. Ultimately, local police stations mean local policing."
Pretty much as it was in the 1970s & 1980s, before they sold all the neighbourhood & rural officers’ houses & offices & decided to put everyone on squads.