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To: Simon Hayes, Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire
Save our local Police beat Officer
Dear Mr Hayes,
Please halt the planned reorganisation of Rural policing in our area so that proper consultation with the communities affected can be undertaken.
Why is this important?
Simon Hayes, Hampshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, plans to reorganise rural policing with effect from April 2015.
Our local beat officer, PC Andy Reid, currently has responsibility for one of the four Rural Basingstoke South beats. His beat covers a substantial 78 square miles and includes 22 Parishes from Brown Candover in the south to Nately Scures in the north.
The planned reorganisation will see all four existing beats combined to become part of a 250 square mile area with all officers and operations based in Tadley. There will be a reduction in the number of Police Officers responsible for this vast area. A number of PSCOs (Police Community Support Officers) will be assigned to the area, charged with providing “community engagement”.
The reorganisation plans will see us lose our dedicated beat Officer.
In plain terms, our beat Officer will no longer be able to provide the committed, proactive policing that has been so crucial in minimising crime in our parishes.
His intimate knowledge of our community – built up over his years of service and engagement with us will be lost. The ability to gather local intelligence and use this to guide preventative actions will also be lost.
In instances of crime we will have to use the 999 service and hope that Officers less familiar with our villages can react quickly and accurately enough to be properly effective – inevitably less effective than the current coverage achieves.
Simon Hayes summarised his achievements during the year from April 2013 to March 2014 in the following way:
Hampshire Constabulary did”
Thanks to the existing rural policing arrangements and the unstinting efforts of our local beat Officer, Hampshire Constabulary has indeed delivered effective policing for this Parish in recent years and our community values this hugely.
The success of our current policing arrangements could be used as a model for other areas and should be nurtured. Instead of which, the proposed reorganisation is likely to destroy what has been achieved here with potentially disastrous outcomes for crime levels, safety and confidence in our Parishes.
In his Rural Policing Strategy statement 2013/17 Mr Hayes reaffirmed his commitment to rural communities:
“When I first became Police and Crime Commissioner, I challenged Hampshire Constabulary to deliver a consistent policing service across both urban and rural areas, with the specific requirement to close the gap between rural and urban solved crime rates”.
The October 2014 report from Hampshire’s Police and Crime Panel (the body charged with scrutinising the role of the Commissioner) notes that
“… greater police support is needed to help protect residents against rural crime….”
The planned reorganisation of rural policing completely contradicts these stated aims.