TIM DREW: Efficiency key in face of ongoing budget cuts

Tim Drew
Tim Drew

A focus on maximising efficiencies in the face of ongoing police budget cuts and the need for police engagement officers to engage with Neighbourhood Watch were among the main topics discussed at last Wednesday’s meeting of Sussex Neighbourhood Watch Federation.

Assistant Chief Constable Laurence Taylor was present, and we are all the more grateful for his attendance after the tragic events in Westminster earlier that day. ACC Taylor said £50miliion had already been cut from the police budget leading up to 2015 and another £42million of savings had to be made, of which £29million consisted of cuts to the local policing budget over the next four years.

A local policing programme, with a more resilient model, is being developed with this in mind and is set to be launched in June.

The cuts would involve redundancies among police staff – not including officers who are Crown agents, rather than employees.

Research is being carried out with Cambridge University in order to drive efficiencies and address areas of priority – such as crime against children, which has risen exponentially.

The emphasis would be on proactive rather than on reactive policing.

Police engagement officers would have to be used effectively and while reports could be compiled, this was time-consuming and the information would have to add value.

The police use Twitter and information sent this way could be transferred to the Alert community messaging system and communicated in a timely manner

ACC Taylor insisted that Neighbourhood Watch was valued by the police and would not be abandoned – it is a vital source of information and the police would not be able to solve crimes if they were not told about them.

• The Central Ward Neighbourhood Panel will meet this evening (March 30) at the Ardington Hotel, Steyne Gardens, at 6.30pm.

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