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Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Paul Stephenson hits the right note

Not very long ago I observed
Sometimes it's the little things, rather than grand strategy, that can have the most effect. Yesterday I stood waiting for a cab as two police women strolled by on patrol. They were deep in conversation and enjoying eachother's company. What they weren't doing was looking and watching the street, or being ready for a member of the public who wants to talk to catch their eye, or taking the initiative to start a chat with someone. They were in their own world, cocooned, walking aimlessly, waiting for an instruction to come through on their radio.

Requiring police officers to patrol in pairs may tick the risk assessment box, but it doesn't just halve the effectiveness of beat patrols, it destroys it.
The news today that Sir Paul Stephenson is reintroducing lone beats in many areas is very good news indeed. He has already told officers to wear helmets, and this has been a visible and reassuring change. Both moves will give police officers an outward focus rather than an inward one; they might grumble a bit, but policing in London has just improved.


Nick Drew said...

an uncle of mine once observed that if coppers were required to walk to work in uniform it would double the amount of uniformed presence on the streets

of course these days, what with house prices etc, many live more than walking-distance from the nick

but the broad point remains

JuliaM said...

Pity he chose to make a complete tit of himself by turning up at the door of a suspected burglar (with phalanx of uniformed support and cameras in tow) who'd already been taken in to custody then, isn't it..?

Anonymous said...

"Police wear helmets" - how is this reassuring?
It sounds that police are slowly turning into soldiers.