TALKING to local people is very important for the police; it helps us to collect information that might be important to solve crimes, it assists in gathering intelligence about local criminals and also helps to us to understand what worries local communities.
But this should not be seen as a one-way process; it is also important for local people to understand what they can expect from us and how they can influence policing in their area.
A few years ago, we introduced PACT – Police and Communities Together. This involves a regular monthly meeting at a Community Centre or other suitable venue where local residents can come and find out about policing in their area, task local officers to solve local problems and find out what we have done to tackle those issues at the next meeting.
In some areas, this works really well and the meeting is always well attended, but in some areas there is less enthusiasm for that meeting. This does not mean that local people are not interested in policing, but having these meetings at a set time and location does not always fit around an individual’s lifestyle or needs.
I have sympathy with working families, older residents and those who live in rural communities, for whom attending an evening meeting, in particular, is not an easy ask.
To this end, we will soon be rolling out a new PACT process, one that is more flexible and which can be tailored to fit the needs of local communities. Whether this be varying the times or locations of meetings, holding online meetings, making better use of police surgeries, having officers present at meetings held by other groups or organisations – the options are many and varied.
I will be asking my officers to consult with their communities in the coming weeks to see exactly what they would like this to look like in their area. So, if you want to have a say in how we run PACT in your area, please contact your local Neighbourhood Policing Team at Skelmersdale or Ormskirk Police Stations.