Friday, 22 March 2013

How will the police service enable the ‘frontline professional’ to fight crime and protect the public?

On Wednesday 13 March between 10am and 12 midday there was a live debate on Twitter using the hashtag #futurecop (from gavthecop)

So I thought I would add my two pennyworth as I was travelling for much of this time. Here are some ideas:
  • The office of constable is possibly one of the most legally empowered frontline roles in the country but the impression I get is that not many PCs feel this way. How come? Perhaps a start to answering the overall question would be found in understanding why...
  • I have already blogged about the value to be found from not only empowering / enabling the frontline officers (PCs, PCSOs and other staff) but also empowering / enabling citizens and communities to take (evidence based) action to prevent and tackle crime & disorder. (Blog is here) Our aim should be to create 'barefoot crime preventers'
  • Speaking as a socialist of course, I cannot help but notice that socio-economic class features highly in the analysis of where crime happens, which communities are most at risk etc. So perhaps a good dose of sociology and/or socialism as part of police training would be a good thing... While all frontline officers are well versed in addressing racism, sexism, ageism etc... what about a little more about tackling classism?
  • Also as I have blogged beforepolicing resources should be deployed into areas where there is most risk of harm / actual harm. This might mean that there is sufficient resource to take a long term view of crime and disorder in those areas and engage in some solid prevention. This would be an alternative to constant 'fire fighting' and reactive policing which often arises in places where resources are severely stretched.
  • Perhaps every Neighbourhood Action Group or Community Safety Committee should be required to have a random five members of the ordinary public present each time they meet. These people may give a greater voice to their concerns and help frontline officers know more about what they should be tackling. Equally if any of these five people fall asleep during the course of the meetings, the meeting would have to stop!
  • have also blogged before about the role of the PCC in crime prevention with a strong focus on the work of Paul Ekblom and his conjunction of criminal opportunity model. Much of this is applicable to frontline officers also.
  • Section 17 of the 1998 Crime and Disorder Act imposes "…. a general duty on each local authority to take account of the community safety dimension in all of its work. All policies, strategies, plans and budgets will need to be considered from the standpoint of their potential contribution to the reduction of crime and disorder". (Source here) Has this law ever been fully enacted? Could frontline officers, perhaps with the back up of the PCC, now be using this more?
What are your ideas?

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