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High visibility policing is what our communities want – and it works

The policing problems that most people in Devon and Cornwall want dealing with are drug dealing and antisocial behaviour.

High visibility policing is what our communities want – and it works

Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez joins officers and local community representatives on a tour of Torquay’s hotspot policing area 

And when I ask them to choose what areas of policing they most want investment in they select ‘in my neighbourhood’ over other choices.

People have an innate understanding that the presence of police officers has a deterrent effect, preventing crime in the first place and reassuring the communities that they serve that law and order is in place.

Too many police officers are taken away from the jobs they joined up to do in the first place by paperwork and targets. And I am pleased to see two initiatives that put officers where the public want them and they want to be.

Tell me what you want from Devon and Cornwall Police by taking my five-minute survey

Recently, Truro neighbourhood policing team were joined by partners including Safer Cornwall and Cornwall Young People to carry out a Safer Business Action Day.

The aim of this day of action was to support continuing efforts to safeguard the community and provide reassurance to people living and working in Truro that the police are taking reports of antisocial behaviour and shoplifting seriously. The approach to tackling the key priorities in the city aims to work towards making a positive, lasting impact on Truro.

The OPCC community engagement vehicle outside Torquay Town Hall

The Police and Crime Commissioner's community engagement vehicle outside Torquay Town Hall on Thursday

The main focus of the day’s activities were to target antisocial behaviour and shoplifting in the city centre. The team were supported by volunteer Special Constables and Truro Street Rangers to carry out high visibility foot patrols in targeted areas. Following intelligence gathered in advance of the day of action, the team highlighted areas where antisocial behaviour was a concern to the community, and areas where multiple instances have been reported.

Safer Cornwall and Cornwall Young People visited businesses who had reported young people climbing on roofs, to offer support and advice around public safety. This approach aims to deter a serious incident from taking place and reminds members of the public of the different ways to report crimes or dangerous situations to the police.

In a continued effort to deter shoplifting from taking place and offer support to local retailers, the team conducted visits to businesses in the city centre who have been targeted by shoplifting to gather intelligence, provide reassurance and offer prevention advice. Officers carried out high-visibility patrols as part of the day of action to detect and deter shoplifting.

This side of the Tamar I joined neighbourhood policing teams and Torbay Council staff and councillors in Torquay, one of the towns where additional hotspot funding is helping to pay for additional uniformed patrols.

We are only a few weeks into this project – and while some of the work to prevent crime from taking place will be medium and long term, it has been great to see the immediate impact of high visibility patrols in the Castle Circus part of town – somewhere that has been beset by problems for years.

While we were out and about police made two arrests, and my community engagement team heard there are numerous problems that need addressing. Making this area, and others around Devon and Cornwall, more prosperous and feeling safer is something I and partners need to be committed to in the long term, we’re far from done and extra neighbourhood patrols are certainly part of the solution.