Plans announced by Home Secretary Charles Clarke will provide every community in the country with its own dedicated neighbourhood policing team by 2008. Some 24,000 police community support officers will be appointed to put the plans into effect. By the Autumn of this year each of the 43 police forces will select one of their Basic Command Units to implement and champion neighbourhood policing and understand the best way of adapting it for their area. It is expected that half the country will have neighbourhood policing by the end of 2007 with full implementation by 2008.The focus on neighbourhood policing represents a shift from policing by consent to policing with co-operation. It is a hard edged strategy that recognises the importance of visible, accessible, responsive and intelligence-led policing to combat all crime, from nuisance neighbours to drug dealers. It relies on actively engaging local people, winning their hearts and minds and responding to their needs and concerns. It has brought success in the United States where cities have focused on low-level acts of disorder, and dealt with them before they create an environment in which the anti-social elements feel in control.
Neighbourhood policing teams made up of police community support officers, local wardens employed by councils and special constables, will support regular police constables in tackling crime and disorder and making streets, estates and villages around the country safer. Community involvement will ensure that people will have a real say in local policing issues and setting local priorities and they will know who their local police officers are and how to contact them.
The neighbourhood policing strategy has been developed following consultation by the Home Office. As well as 5000 responses from individuals, some 400 groups gave their views including police forces, police authorities, crime and disorder reduction partnerships, local Government, the Local Government Association, community and voluntary groups, the Association of Chief Police Officers, , the Association of Police Authorities, the Police Federation, Unison, and the Police Superintendents’ Association.
The Home Office neighbourhood policing booklet “Your Police; Your community; Our Commitment” is available on the Home Office police reform website www.policereform.gov.uk