TIM DREW: Community engagement vital in fighting crime

Tim Drew
Tim Drew

The blueprint for local policing in Sussex in 2020 was unveiled by Assistant Chief Constable Laurence Taylor at a presentation to Sussex Neighbourhood Watch members in Lewes last Tuesday, June 14, with the prioritising of the protection of the vulnerable, relentless pursuit of criminals and strong community engagement at its core.

With the local policing budget (now at £110million) to be reduced to £82million by 2020, a new policing model had been devised which had been built from the ground up. The emphasis was on the creation of a smaller, modern workforce that is flexible, skilled and can work together with partners and providers to deliver an efficient and affordable service, while utilising its infrastructure to best advantage so as to enable new methods of working.

Priority would be given to managing the core demand for police services and the way in which the police interact with the community at large will be transformed. The key to achieving this aim will be the protection and prioritisation of the response emergency service and the development of resolution centres to improve services for victims and witnesses, refining the quality of intelligence gathering in the process. The resolution centres have indeed proved successful thus far with 73 per cent of cases raised resolved within 48 hours and 56,000 deployments having been saved.

The days of “Dixon of Dock Green” are long behind us and the weight of evidence suggests that the least effective policing method consists of “random walking.“

ACC Taylor said that, though most policing is now invisible, all of it keeps us safe and cited a recent case in Hastings when 110 officers were engaged in locating and retrieving a sub-machine gun. Visibility and accessibility will, however, remain essential and good quality intelligence is the lifeblood of the police, so community engagement – particularly through Neighbourhood Watch – will be a vital tool in dealing with criminal activity, including terrorism.

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