Effective policing

HAVING read the County Times report of April 19 about ‘upset residents warned over crime response’, and Chief Inspector Sharon Parker’s response to reassure the public, I despair.

I joined Sussex Police as a Special Constable in 1973, becoming a regular in 1975, working the district from 1980 to retirement in 2001. Having grown up living in Roffey I feel qualified in speaking.

To gain the trust and respect of the community it is necessary to have a visible and approachable presence. Most importantly a ‘cop shop’ open at all hours with a uniform patrol presence in the town centre.

Having noted comments concerning vandalism and anti-social behaviour I feel despondent. Firm but friendly policing from a local station with custody facilities is the only way to effectively deal with problems. The implementation of custody centres necessitating a journey to Crawley was the death-knell.

Reliance on CCTV and acceptance of crime numbers without necessary inquiries or attendance is a recipe for disaster leading to lack of faith and vigilante behaviour.

It is not rocket science to know that issuing fixed penalty tickets for being a public nuisance is a waste of time. Instantaneous arrest and detention has a sobering effect - especially if bitten by a police dog.

I am sure the rules of engagement have changed due to financial restrictions however if a safe and secure environment is to be achieved a visible presence is required.

May I suggest the dwindling police available actually work anti-social hours with senior supervisors complementing the few. Get out on late and night shifts and use common sense, especially discretion.

In 1996 I detected a decline in morale and effective local policing, especially disposing of village based officers who were knowledgeable, proud and loyal.

During a routine meet the troops at a briefing session, I invited Deputy Chief Constable Maria Wallis to accompany me for a shift. The senior figure worked a late turn shift learning a lot and enjoying the experience.

I did make the point of explaining my concerns as to the quality of service the public were receiving due to financial considerations, being shortly after posted to Pulborough.

Perhaps Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and the Home Office wish failure of the present system.

In Surrey private firms were recently invited to take over responsibilities including investigating crimes, managing intelligence, patrolling neighbourhoods and collecting CCTV footage. The Independent Police Complaints Commission is voicing concerns.

Leadership from members of the police authority assigned to the district is vital, especially if made aware of complaints from internal or external sources.

Locally appointed magistrates operating in the district they live complements the situation.

PAUL HAMLIN

The Street, Capel