There are plenty of examples that shows that if the state spends more money on something it doesn’t necessarily mean there is a better service and also that it is possible to find savings without cutting the standard of service.
The Metropolitan Police are no exception to this and big reductions in budget have been absorbed while the amount of front line policing has been maintained.
One way that policing has been enhanced has been through the boost of volunteering. There are more Special Constables. Also there are more Neighbourhood Watch schemes – where the public provide a vast intelligence network on a greater scale that could possible be provided by beat policing.
So it does make sense that liaison with Neighbourhood Watch coordinators – whether by police officers or PCSOs – is maintained.
David Millar, Chairman of the Neighbourhood Watch Borough Association, sent out the following note recently to those involved in fighting crime by coordinating Neighbourhood Watches.
At a number of recent meetings in Hammersmith & Fulham it has been made clear that there is public concern at the reported outcomes of the current funding review of the Police.
The reduction in neighbourhood policing and possible loss of all PCSOs has caused the major concern. A number of lobbying suggestions were made at the meetings.
Well, by chance, I found myself sitting next to Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe (Commissioner of the Police in the Metropolis – as it says on his card) on a flight from Edinburgh last Sunday.
As I had him captive for an hour I thought I would put it to good use. We had a fair and frank discussion and it is clear that he is facing an unenviable task on where he will find the savings that will be required of him.
It seemed to me that he was being shielded from the communities view – bearing in mind that there is no consultation – on what people want from their local police. I took the opportunity to relay the general feelings of H&F residents from recent discussions at the Neighbourhood Watch AGM and Safer Neighbourhood Board.
There was a meeting of the Mets Management Board on the 29th September where they were reviewing the options open to them. He was very clear that no decisions will be taken until December.
After a wide ranging discussion he agreed that it would be appropriate to meet representatives of all London Boroughs which I can arrange through the organisation that I represent H&F on – the London Communities Policing Partnership.
At the end of the day the final decision will be his, but I hope that at least we will have the opportunity for our voice to be heard.
I will keep you informed of any developments.