This blog is mainly about the governance and future of policing and crime services. (Police & Crime Commissioners feature quite a lot.) But there are also posts about the wider justice system. And because I am town councillor and political activist, local & national issues are covered a little, as well.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Balancing rural and urban policing

I have had a reply back from PCC Stansfeld regarding my question about his pledge on maintaining the balance between urban and rural policing. Here it is:
Dear Mr Harvey
I intend to keep the present balance of police numbers between Local Police Areas (LPAs) unchanged.  It is not possible to give the baseline breakdown between urban and rural areas as many LPAs have both rural and urban areas within them.  For instance West Berkshire is essentially small towns and rural areas, yet it contains the western urban areas of Reading.  Milton Keynes again is both rural and urban, as is Buckinghamshire.
What I don’t envisage is moving numbers of Police between LPAs , either from or into, more rural or urban areas.
Anthony Stansfeld | Police & Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley 
Now of course, this raises lots of interesting questions:
  1. Is it for the PCC to decide on the numbers of police officers deployed around their area? 
  2. Might the Chief Constable have a view that this is an operational matter?
  3. If it not possible to give a baseline breakdown between urban and rural areas, how will he assert that this pledge has (or has not) been kept come 2016?
  4. There are 14 local police areas in Thames Valley which could probably all be described as containing both urban and rural zones although the mix would vary. Is he really saying that he does not foresee any movement between these LPAs in the next 3.5 years, even if crime rates vary differentially?
I shall watch how this all plays out. Interesting.

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