Police officers should stay longer in one area so that they can build a relationship with a community.
That was the call to Warwickshire’s police and crime commissioner, Philip Seccombe, when he presented his latest report to county councillors on Thursday (September 23).
After discussing the imminent increase in the number of officers - up to 1,100 in April - Cllr Chris Kettle (Con, Feldon) asked for changes in the way the safer neighbourhood teams [SNTs] were staffed.
Speaking at the meeting of the Warwickshire police and crime panel, he said: “Everyone commends the increase in establishment but if that doesn’t feed through into local neighbourhoods then they will not see the benefit of those extra officers.
“So could we have real focus to ensure that particularly SNTs are fully resourced on a long-term basis? As soon as someone gets in and puts their name on the front desk, they suddenly go off to a nicer or more challenging neighbourhood.
“We want to see them there on a fairly permanent basis rather than them flitting in, getting introduced to parishes and then disappearing off to a post elsewhere. So please can we have some changes which deliver some more reliable visible teams so that when you pick up the telephone it is the same person you spoke to last week.”
Cllr Dave Reilly (North Warwickshire Borough Council), who chaired the meeting, added: “The point that was being made was about the visible importance of relationships at a very local level and the community’s frustrations that are coming from across the whole of the borough about the frequent change of staff.”
Mr Seccombe said that the vast majority of money secured from increased council tax payments had gone into local policing - not just into safer neighbourhood teams but also detectives and response.
He added: “I have heard the previous and current chief constable say to me that safer neighbourhood teams are the backbone of local policing and as far as I’m concerned there is no intention to downgrade, reduce or change the nature of our 33 teams across Warwickshire.
“I accept that it would be better if there was a longer tenure for all safer neighbourhood officers. Sixty to 70 officers leave Warwickshire Police every year just on retirement so clearly there has to be a churn but there is room for improvement.”