West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner defends 'Bobbies on the Beat' following Chairman of the APCC’s comments (14 Jul 2015)

West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, has defended 'Bobbies on the Beat' as part of a visible Neighbourhood Policing uniformed presence on the streets following a suggestion that they are 'an outdated notion that should be sacrificed in favour of sophisticated policing methods'. The comment was made by the outgoing chairman of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, Nick Alston (Essex)

Mr Burns-Williamson said: "To suggest that police officers, special constables and PCSOs out patrolling the streets as part of a visible Neighbourhood Policing model is an outdated notion is wrong. People here in West Yorkshire want to see police officers and PCSOs out on their streets, in their communities, as their presence and visibility makes areas safer and causes people in those areas to feel safer as well. The main threat to maintaining a sustainable visible presence are continuing Government cuts to the police service, and as a result we constantly have to review how neighbourhood policing can be delivered effectively working closely with our community safety partners.

"Clearly we need to use modern methods of policing with the assistance of new mobile technology for example and we are investing heavily to assist with that transformation - but with the increase in sophisticated crimes such as cyber-crime and demands around safeguarding vulnerable children and adults it's important to use all possible powers and methods to tackle them - adapting alongside not instead of existing practices.

"Neighbourhood policing continues to be vitally important in tackling the new challenges we face in our communities, such as the reality of people trafficking, the threat of terrorism and the need to safeguard those who are vulnerable from child sexual exploitation.

"Policing in the UK is by consent and if we lose that local visible contact and presence, the trust and confidence in policing will suffer greatly at a greater cost to all of us."

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