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Neighbourhood police officers set to double

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Police and Crime Commissioner shares details of his Crimefighters Strategy to strengthen local policing across Thames Valley’s communities

Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Barber will today (14/4) confirm that the number of neighbourhood police officers in the Thames Valley is expected to double over the coming year, marking the beginning of a shift in emphasis for the force.

The news comes as Thames Valley Police has grown to record numbers, with more than 5,000 officers serving the communities of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Milton Keynes and Oxfordshire.

The commitment to increasing officers in frontline neighbourhood roles forms part of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Crimefighters strategy; a shared vision with Thames Valley Police to strengthen local policing and help build the trust of all our communities.

Speaking at an event in High Wycombe, Matthew Barber told the audience: “Crimes such as thefts, burglaries, shoplifting and crimes associated with anti-social behaviour can blight the lives of those affected as well as having a significant social and economic impact on communities as a whole.

“I know from listening to the public that there can be frustrations with the policing response to neighbourhood crime. These crimes are not, and never will be tolerated.

“In the delivery of Crimefighters, Thames Valley Police and I are taking a long-term look at the improvements to community policing in order to build trust and confidence and increase peoples’ feelings of safety. This includes increasing the number of officers which will benefit communities across the force area but also the refocus of community policing as a whole to enable officers to deliver a more proactive and responsive service that is better placed to effectively prevent and disrupt crime.”

Key elements of the Crimefighters strategy include:

Strengthening local policing. In addition to more officers, the recruitment of PCSOs will remain a priority. Officers will be more visible with increased local engagement to help build relationships and instil confidence in communities. A greater depth of knowledge and understanding of local areas will enhance the prevention and disruption of crime.

Embedding crime prevention. Neighbourhood officers will focus their efforts where there is the most likely impact to reduce crime. Policing will be intelligence led, focusing on known hotspots and known offenders to prevent crime, with visible patrols on foot and in vehicles.

Improved communication between the public and the police. Reducing the 101 wait times as well as investing in technology to improve and expand channels for reporting will encourage the public to report crime and incidents. Automated systems will also improve the way that victims are able to get feedback from the police on the crimes they have reported.

150 additional officers will be allocated to neighbourhood policing roles over 2023/24 as the start of a shift which will continue to demonstrate the growing role of community policing within the force.

To download the full strategy please visit the Crimefighters webpage

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