Chief defends new policing proposals

PUBLISHED: 10:37 20 February 2008 | UPDATED: 21:32 26 October 2009

Chief constable Frank Whiteley

Chief constable Frank Whiteley

CONTROVERSIAL plans which could see Neighbourhood Watch volunteers taking on certain police duties have been defended. Hertfordshire chief constable Frank Whiteley said the proposals - revealed in a memo leaked to national newspapers - did not amount to p

CONTROVERSIAL plans which could see Neighbourhood Watch volunteers taking on certain police duties have been defended.

Hertfordshire chief constable Frank Whiteley said the proposals - revealed in a memo leaked to national newspapers - did not amount to policing "on the cheap".

The report said Neighbourhood Watch teams could be asked to help tackle major problems on our streets.

But Mr Whiteley, who is also speaker on Neighbourhood Watch issues for the Association of Chief Police Officers, hit back at criticism.

He said: "Neighbourhood Watch schemes are not, and never have been, a substitute for policing.

"The leaked paper, was in fact a paper approved in principle by the National Steering Group on Watch Issues, and circulated widely to police forces and the Volunteer Neighbourhood Watch leads, for wider distribution to Neighbourhood Watch members.

"All the case studies mentioned in the paper reflect practice already happening in various parts of the country.

"They do not represent policing on the cheap but a genuine attempt to work better with local people to deal with local concerns."

Mr Whiteley added: "The roll out of neighbourhood policing teams means that from April this year, every area in England and Wales will have a dedicated team designed to be flexible and responsive to local needs and priorities.

"That presents an opportunity for the police to work even more closely with Neighbourhood Watch schemes and improve the co-operation and information sharing between the police and Watch members."

The memo is called Neighbourhood Watch in Context: A Strategic Tool for the Neighbourhood Policing Agenda.

Neighbourhood Watch members have worked with the police service since 1982 and it is the single largest voluntary organisation in England and Wales.

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