The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) has started an “on line” survey which she says is aimed at getting residents views about neighbourhood policing.
In some ways this is well timed as the summer period invariably brings a peak in some forms of crime – notably anti-social behaviour.
We have already seen an escalation in complaints about the “mad moped” brigade while environmental crime (e.g. dumping, dog fouling) are still at high levels. However, they are yet to reach the heights seen last year when the police presence was very low.
Since then there has been a gradual and welcome improvement with more patrols by PCSOs evident.
The survey begins by asking about satisfaction with a range of public services. There will be a suspicion that this will be to allow the PCC to say that the quality of policing is more highly rated than, say, road maintenance. The real comparison is with historical performance.
The effectiveness of policing has never been the same in sub-urban parts of York since anti-social behaviour activities were centralised into a “hub” at West Offices. Almost overnight communication channels between residents and named police officers were broken, losing a valuable channel of information about the causes of crime and those responsible. The boundaries of the neighbourhood policing units seem to have been in a constant state of flux.
Lists of local officers need to be regularly updated and included on public noticeboards, social media pages etc.
The local activities web page for York South famously is only updated a couple of times a year, although there are many more things going on than are publicised.
The survey fails to probe whether residents have confidence in the criminal justice system in its entirety. Many reported crimes go undetected while courts seem to lack effective powers to deter repeat offences.
The police seem reluctant to publish performance stats at a neighbourhood level. Information is available at https://www.police.uk/ but accessing it is awkward. Residents Associations no longer routinely receive information. Many Neighbourhood Watch organisations have folded in recent years.
We hope that the results of the survey will be published at neighbourhood level.