Number of beat officers in Welwyn Hatfield increased - after Census reveals sharp population rise

PUBLISHED: 08:00 21 April 2013

Dave Wheatley, chief inspector for Welwyn Hatfield

Dave Wheatley, chief inspector for Welwyn Hatfield


THE number of neighbourhood officers in Welwyn Hatfield has been increased following a police review.

A total of 4.5 new posts have been created on the borough’s safer neighbourhood team after force bosses responded to a rapid increase in the population.

It follows a reshuffle which has seen some boroughs, including East Herts, lose officers.

This week Welwyn Hatfield’s chief inspector said the team had been expanded after Census figures showed the population had gone up by more than 10,000 in 10 years.

The borough-wide team now boasts 21 PCs and 22.5 PCSOs.

Chief Insp Dave Wheatley told the WHT: “We’ve had the largest increase in population in the county.

“The changes reflect the Census.

“Thirteen per cent is a big rise over a 10-year period.

“The demographics have changed significantly, and we need to respond to that.”

He said the expansion of the University of Hertfordshire had seen the number of students grow, and the force made the move to respond to the pressures caused.

And he added that work was being carried out to assess the impact Government welfare reforms are likely to have on crime figures.

On Census day in 2011, the borough’s population was 110,500 – up 13.2 per cent on the 2001 figure of 97,600.

And Chief Insp Wheatley said: “We’ve gained extra officers which confirmed my view that we’re a busy CSP [Community Safety Partnership], but I think now the profile meets the demand.”

The team has been split into three units, Welwyn Hatfield North, Central and South.

“We want the officers to concentrate on working as a team, rather than taking an individual approach,” said Chief Insp Wheatley.

“We’ll be tackling safer neighbourhoods more as a team.”

And he said once a month, officers would be targeting areas in the borough, handing out crime prevention advice and encouraging people to join neighbourhood watch schemes.

Since January, the number of people involved in neighbourhood watch has gone up by 40 per cent, Chief Insp Wheatley told the WHT.

The move comes a week after new figures revealed there were 1,211 less crimes committed in Welwyn Hatfield in the past financial year compared to the 2011/12.

The police chief said: “Although anti-social behaviour has dropped about 20 per cent, it’s not the time to take our foot off the gas.”

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