During a recent visit to Cheadle by Policing Minister, Brandon Lewis, MP Mary Robinson used the opportunity to urge local communities to rekindle their support for Neighbourhood Watch schemes across the constituency.
Mary, a keen advocate of the popular community safety initiative, spoke to the Minister about the great work being done by Neighbourhood Watch volunteers in our communities.
As part of the visit, Mary also introduced Mr Lewis - who was appointed Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Service in July this year - to local police officers from Greater Manchester Police [GMP] who cover Cheadle constituency.
Chief Inspector Leon Jacobs, Inspector Pete Walsh and Inspector Bob Cantrell spoke with the Minister about the introduction of the new policing model which will allow officers to spend more time on the beat, alongside many former Police Community Support Officers [PCSOs] who have moved into Police Officer roles.
They also discussed the recent roll-out of body-worn video cameras on police uniforms, which the Force hopes will enhance evidence gathering and help them to meet the demands of 21st century policing. Around 3,000 frontline officers across GMP will be issued with these devices by the end of the year.
The Minister also met a number of local residents and discussed the merits of Neighbourhood Watch schemes.
“I was delighted to welcome the Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Service to Cheadle, and I was interested to hear his views on the new policing model which was implemented by Greater Manchester Police this year.
"I was particularly keen to take the opportunity to champion the role Neighbourhood Watch can play in communities and I’d like to encourage the creation of more schemes around Cheadle.
“Since they were first launched in Cheshire in 1982, Neighbourhood Watch schemes – or Home Watch as they were previously known – have allowed people to enjoy a good quality of life in communities where they feel confident and safe.”
Chief Inspector Jacobs explained the fundamental principles behind GMP’s new policing model. He said: “Our local policing teams are now more integrated with their communities and partner organisations. Our officers are more visible and accessible thanks to the introduction of mobile data equipment, and are spending more time in the community without the need to return to the Police station. Knowing their patch and being close to their community means they are far better informed to do their job. The new model also means we are better able to respond to local needs, to reflect changing demands and threats.”
Mr Lewis' visit to Cheadle took place on the day that Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary [HMIC], the government body responsible for inspecting police forces in England and Wales, published its Annual Police Efficiency Report. [3rd November]. In the report, Greater Manchester Police was rated “good” at keeping people safe and was praised for its understanding of both the current level of demand and in anticipating future needs.