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David Goodall

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Policing is a Local Matter

January 30, 2006 6:00 PM
Hampshire Police

Hampshire Police

The Government's answer to any problem to make things more efficient appears to be to centralise control. This control mania started with hospitals, is spreading to schools with central funding there and now to the police service with plans to merge police forces like Hampshire and Thames Valley.

The vast majority of police work is not fighting international terrorism and drug runners. The bulk of police work concerns local issues, like problems in West End High Street. In this brave new Labour world police officers within the new larger forces would be moved around the new area. This would leave either Hampshire or say Thames Valley with fewer police than they currently have, as they are moved around. Yet no police force is saying we need fewer officers.

Eastleigh's MP Chris Huhne, with his economic background has looked at the financial side and not even that side makes sense and he said :-

"...the council tax payers of Hampshire will be paying more but getting no discernible improvement in their policing. Indeed, there is a clear risk that a larger force will be less responsive, accountable to local people."

Local councillor David Goodall added:

"Before Christmas I spent a 10 hour shift with the police in Southampton and all the matters deal with were local police matters. I think sometimes the ministers in Whitehall loose sight of what real policing is about"

"We need more police officers and more support officers. Policing works best when the police really know the local area and local people well"

To improve local police presence in area Liberal Democrat controlled Eastleigh Borough council are promoting the use of Police Community Support Officer (PCSO).

The role of the PCSO comes from the Police Reform Act 2002. PCSOs work alongside the police in a supporting role, providing a visible presence and helping to reassure the public. They patrol their local area, providing assistance and dealing with incidents which don't require full police powers.

They are sometimes given the power to direct traffic, issue fixed penalty notices and detain someone whilst waiting for the arrival of a police constable. The work may also include assisting at large public gatherings, such as sports events at the Rose Bowl.

They work under the direction of the police commander in their area and work in pairs or small teams in response to the needs of the local area.

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