Police teams ready to hit beat

Some of the officers involved in the Policing The Future pilot scheme in Northamptonshire
Some of the officers involved in the Policing The Future pilot scheme in Northamptonshire

These are just some of the officers tasked with shaping the future of policing in the county.

Northamptonshire Police launched its Policing The Future project at the start of September, aimed at finding out how policing should work across the county in the future.

All Saints in Kettering and Oundle and the surrounding villages have been chosen as the pilot areas for the 12-month scheme.

It is hoped that in 12 months’ time, the force will have identified better ways to police the area and these can be rolled out elsewhere.

The Telegraph went out this week to meet some of the officers involved in the project and to hear about what they hope to achieve as part of the intensive study into finding the best ways to tackle crime and improve the quality of life for residents.

Chief Inspector Dennis Murray said: “The whole point of this is to find ways of policing which will be sustainable in the future.

“One of the key things is it’s a pilot, it is to investigate what works and what doesn’t.”

As part of this, officers have received new hand-held devices which will allow them to access more information while they are out, meaning they won’t have to return to the station to carry out certain procedures or access specific date and can spend more time in the community.

Chief Inspector Murray said: “A lot of this will be about working with the community so they have a say in it. The ultimate outcome is we engage the community to solve some of their own issues.”

All Saints, Kettering

Officers who will be on the beat in All Saints in the coming year say that partnership work with other agencies will be key to making it a success.

PC Megan Sae-Thang said the police have been working more closely with the fire service and council for some time, and this will continue in the next year.

She added: “We often get calls from members of the public on matters which are not policing issues.

“At one time we may have referred those people elsewhere, but now we can serve people better because the people they need to speak to are working much more closely with us.

“One of the things we have done recently has been to go out on patrol with officers from the fire service – in response to small fires being started in All Saints.

“We also now share statistics with other agencies so that we know where to concentrate resources.”

Police say the main issues facing All Saints are anti-social behaviour as well as burglaries and thefts from motor vehicles.

PC Sae-Thang added: “All Saints has less of a community feel than some other areas of the county.

“There are a lot of multi-occupancy houses for example.

“One of the aims this year will be to hopefully improve the community-feel.”

Polie community support officer Brinsley Elliott said one of the key aims over the next 12 months would be to carry out more ‘targeted patrols’ in the area.

He added: “For example, we often get information from the public which says there is anti-social behaviour in a certain area at a certain time.

“It would be no good to then patrol that area in the morning, for example, if the issue is concentrated in the evening.

“That means we will be working with the public to get better information and we also want to get the message out that there is a whole team of officers here to help, not just one contact.”

Oundle

People living in Oundle and the surrounding villages will see a greater number of officers on their streets during the next 12 months.

But the police are keen to emphasise this is not due to the area being a crime hotspot.

Chief Inspector Murray said: “There will be a larger number of PCSOs out and about so we want people to know what’s coming so they know it’s not as a result of a spike in crime.”

The area has been chosen as part of the pilot scheme due to its rural nature, which is in contrast to All Saints, which has been picked as an urban area with different policing needs.

Safer Community Team Sergeant Adam Ward said the crime rate of a rural area like Oundle is a lot lower per head in comparison to an urban area, but the fear of crime is higher.

He said: “We want to understand where the perception comes from, and to work with the community.”

And he is looking forward to being involved with the pilot scheme, saying: “It’s such a good opportunity to be part of something that’s so different.”

Officers will be talking to residents about issues in the area, such as making the roads safer if speeding is a problem, and then working with them to find ways to tackle it.

PCSO Nadia Norman is looking forward to the challenge.

She said: “It’s a completely new challenge for me. I have been on the All Saints ward for three-and-a-half years doing a lot of community-based work so I will be taking that to Oundle and surrounding areas to see the reaction of the public to it and giving it a go.

“Having learnt from the officers who work in All Saints, I think there’s some really good ideas that could work.”

Inspector Murray said they realise there will be certain things that don’t work for a certain area, but he is confident the scheme will allow them to find better ways of working while ruling out other less effective ways.

Cadets

Police cadets, special constables and Neighbourhood Watch groups are becoming more and more important to the police, say front line officers.

Kettering-based PCSO Brinsley Elliott said that not only do they fulfil important roles in the force, they are also an additional reassurance to the public.

He added: “We can do a lot more crime prevention work with help from volunteers. It means people also see a bigger uniformed presence.”