North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan has published the results of her neighbourhood policing survey and has called for more visible policing around the area
The survey was completed by over 1,400 residents last year across North Yorkshire and York. People were asked to give their views on the quality of policing in their area, what had changed and whether community safety has improved.
While residents in the area say they feel less safe, Scarborough and Richmondshire are standout areas for good practice and community confidence.
The survey looked at public perceptions of the service, including fear of crime, perceptions of the level of crime and anti-social behaviour, and people’s views about the level of police presence. The results showed that public perceptions are mixed.
Commenting on the report, Julia Mulligan said: “The results are worrying but not a surprise, as it has been clear to me for some time now that the public are concerned about the erosion of local policing services. I undertook this survey to get a better understanding of the issues, and to ensure North Yorkshire Police can see that these are very real concerns.
“While the majority of people are satisfied, it’s evident that a significant proportion are not. What is more, we get regular feedback from officers telling us that they too would like to offer a better service, but feel more people on the ground would help them and the communities they serve.
“I believe the results reflect the gradual shift in policing resources nationwide, not just here in North Yorkshire, from traditional, local policing to more serious and complex matters, such as child abuse, sexual assault, cyber and online crime, serious and organised crime. While it is right that North Yorkshire Police has the resources in place to tackle the most serious crimes, I do feel this has been to the detriment of local policing.
“However, the balance is hard to achieve. Policing demand is going up, as is the complexity of crime. Those officers dealing with serious crimes are also feeling the pressure, especially as the additional workload comes at a time when resources are very tight.
“The decision this year is a tough one, which I am weighing up very carefully. People quite rightly want a good, visible local policing service, but we do need to protect the most vulnerable people from harm. What’s more, we are all feeling the pinch right now, so a higher bill is the last thing we want in an ideal world.
“However, given we have no further assurances from the government on centrally funded increases, and pay levels are on the rise - as well as other costs - this may be the only way to improve matters. I have made no decision yet, but if the precept does go up, both myself and the public will need to see more police officers and PCSOs in local communities.”
Commenting on the report, Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Ciaron Irvine said: “We are a public service, so feedback from the people we serve is immensely valuable, and we take it to heart.
"As a Chief Officer Team, we’re grateful to the 1,421 residents, Councillors and business owners who took the time to participate in the Commissioner’s survey, out of the 820,000 residents we serve.
“Just to give some context, the latest crime figures from the Office of National Statistics show that North Yorkshire continues to be the safest place to live in England, and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate rates the Force as good at keeping people safe and reducing crime.
"According the national public perception report, which was published earlier this month, we are amongst the top ranked Forces in the country for public satisfaction, for dealing with local issues and for treating people fairly.
"Nevertheless, this additional local survey clearly shows that some people do not feel we are doing a good job for them – and it is really important that we listen to those views, and take them on board.
“We have already started to do some things to improve our neighbourhood policing service, and the public should start to see the effects of these activities in 2019.
"We’re sharing buildings with other public sector partners, so we can save money on property and invest in people.
"We have been recruiting Police Officers as quickly as we can, as far as our budget allows, so we have more people out on patrol.
"We have given local Officers and PCSOs the technology to work out of the station, so they can spend more time in the community."