Friday, 12 December 2014

Meeting with local Police commanders this afternoon

Met this afternoon with Julian Platt, Police Chief Inspector and Pam Holgate, Geographic Inspector - both responsible for policing in Hyndburn.

We discussed the cuts - which I want to say more about following my  meeting with the Steve Finnigan, Lancashire Chief Constable and Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Clive Grunshaw.  yesterday in Parliament. The cuts in Lancashire are having an adverse impact on policing and the thought that 40% have been allocated and 60% further cuts have yet to come will leave communities unprotected. One figure from yesterday's meeting was the number of incidents that Lancs constabulary deployed to this year (18,000) as compared with years previous (30,000). The police do not attend a significant number of crimes immediately because they do not have the manpower.

At today's meeting the issue of the cuts and the impact it is having on the front line was discussed. Only yesterday the police had to take two separate individuals from road traffic accidents to A&E reducing their capability.

We discussed operational budgets and the tension between funding neighbourhood policing and PCSO's/neighbourhood officers verses full time response bobbies. I like the PCC agree that Lancashire's success has become because of our successful neighbourhood policing model - a model which is already been stretched to thinly. People are saying they see their PCSO's less and less.

One of the avenues the PCC has gone down is to recruit more special constables. It is 10 hours a week voluntary with training with the advantage that that experience can be used in an application for full time posts. If anyone is interested an application pack to be a Special Constable for Lancashire Constabulary can be found here. Hyndburn does offer better opportunities through the successful CanSafe initiative which we discussed. Where professional staff from all agencies come together into 6 units to patrol the streets in an evening picking up youngsters at risk and taking them to a place of refuge and care. CanSafe is now complemented by SafeHaven where children are kept overnight if their parents cannot be contacted and they are vulnerable. Special constables working on CanSafe get the opportunity to work with a variety of other agencies first hand and pick up a wide range of policing and social care experiences.

The is also cadet training on offer. I have previously been out on operations with the teams and seen what brilliant scheme it is. the PCC has also been to see just how effective an initiative this is prevention and care as well as policing. Big thanks to all those involved including Can Safe chair and Councillor Joyce Plummer (Peel Ward/Hyndburn) where the scheme first started.

Operation Aristo was discussed. An on going major operation against drug dealers and suppliers which has led to numerous high profile arrests, court cases and lengthy prison sentences. This has been a significant worry for the people of west Accrington who at times have felt terrorised by these criminals.

We also discussed  counter terrorism and anti social behaviour.

Lancashire Constabulary are one the best police forces in the country, well led at all levels  and the relationship with Councillors and MPs continues to be strong. Sadly the governments austerity programme is threatening the very existence of polcing as we have known it.