Number of ‘bobbies on the beat’ will depend on funding, says Lincolnshire PCC

Lincolnshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones has rubbished a national study claiming a third of people haven’t seen a bobby on the beat in a year.

A survey of 26,000 people from across England and Wales for HM Inspector of Constabulary was published on Wednesday, August 31.

Research carried out by Ipsos Mori last summer found that from those surveyed 36% had not seen police on patrol over a 12 month period.

Another 23% said they’d seen officers on foot only once or twice a year. HM Inspector Mike Cunningham stated the public perception of police was “vitally important”.

Lincolnshire PCC Marc Jones commented on the findings during Lincolnshire Police’s last summer community engagement day at St Marks shopping centre on Wednesday, August 31 – where he and other police chiefs and officers were meeting members of the public.

He said: “It was 26,000 people, so whether that’s representative is a question. There’s more than that in Lincolnshire alone.

“What I heard was two thirds of people do recognise they’ve seen bobbies on the beat and a third of people maybe work all day and sleep at night. When exactly are they going to see them?

“It doesn’t mean we’re not working with the community day by day and working really hard. What we have to do better is communicate exactly what that work is and how effective it is.

“Sometimes neighbourhood policing is about protecting children and vulnerable people online. That work gets done away from the community but it’s being done importantly for the community.”

When asked whether Lincolnshire has an appropriate number of police officers and PCSOs and whether the current number would be retained, Marc said: “We can do more policing if we get more money. It’s as simple as that.

“It depends largely on the budget that I get passed down and ultimately it’s the chief constable’s job to deploy the services where he feels they’re needed.

“As to the specific numbers it’s the roles we’ve got to consider like if we need more officers on rural crime or cyber crime for example.”

Lincolnshire Police Chief Constable Neil Rhodes added: “You’re going to hear an awful lot from the two of us in the months ahead about the challenges of funding in Lincolnshire.”