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Policing has changed - it is time to prevent!


I'm arguing that crime has changed - it has gone behind closed door, it has gone online and criminals have globalised.

However, policing is changing too - instead of the police solely delivering an effective response, they are now also working to prevent crime too. And this creates new opportunities to tackle issues which people have largely given up on - rural road speeds and cybercrime...

 

So, how does a police force prevent crime? Simple, through partnership with local people.

Taking the rural crime initiative, the Cheshire force has cut burglaries by 19% in rural areas whilst this crime has risen in other force areas.

This reduction is largely put down to the actions of Operation Shield - a community partnership project, lead by the Cheshire Police, which security marks people's property.

The police told us "we want to focus on prevention - it's a good news story and it builds relationship with communities."

So, the role of the Police is changing - no longer are they solely the distant law enforcer - responding when things go wrong, but now the police are becoming a prevention agency. This shift in culture that is taking place is significant.

"We're not going to hide our police tactics any more" which means that a proper, grown up partnership can now be built between local residents and police. The more that local people understand police tactics and methods, the better they can report suspicious activities or concerns.

In fact, Cheshire now has over 800 volunteer horse riders who are briefed to report anything suspicious they see when out riding or hacking.

So, what's next?

Clearly, the #RuralMatters programme is still very young - only 1,000 homes have been protected by Operation Shield so far - there are probably another 74,000 rural homes across Cheshire and the confidence and trust in the local police teams needs time to build.

Crucially, as this rural focus shows, prevention works and it is therefore possible to think about other areas where this can be applied.

Top of my prevention list are cybercrime and rural road speeds. Both of these issues are areas where most people say 'there is nothing we can do about it, is there?' This then leads to low levels of reporting of incidents, which in turn, results in poor police intelligence and therefore lower conviction rates and higher repeat offences. 

It is time to change that despondency and sense of powerlessness and start to build a prevention programme that reaches out and engages people and delivers the data and intelligence that officers need to make our communities safe for now and in the future too.

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Click here to take my one question survey on cybercrime...
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