Britain’s top police officers have put ‘reassurance’ at the centre of their proposals for reform of the Police Service.It’s a major turnaround for the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), who for years have insisted that officers should be at work tackling crime rather than devoting manpower to being a visible deterrent and making people feel safe.
Home Secretary David Blunkett plans a major Police Reform Bill late this year, in which a range of modernisation will be tackled, from training and organisation to conditions of service.
ACPO admits that for years the Police Service has worked on the ‘ill founded assumption’ that success in reducing crime would inevitably result in increased public confidence.
A major plank of its submission being sent this week to the Home Office is the identification of the role reassurance can play.
It is proposed that forces up and down the country regularly audit ‘anxiety triggers’ such as graffiti, abandoned or burned out vehicles, vandalised telephone boxes and damage to buildings.
These will be responded to with a variety of tools such as a visible, locally known police presence, improved lighting, CCTV or well tended public areas.
The Police are offering to work in partnership with other agencies to ensure that rapid action could swiftly remove some of the triggers, such as graffiti and abandoned cars.