A Lincolnshire Police chief has told councillors that officers are “not retreating” from community policing, as the force continues moving teams into the new South Park HQ in Lincoln.
City of Lincoln Council’s Community Leadership Scrutiny Committee questioned Chief Superintendent for Lincolnshire Police Jon McAdam on a variety of subjects, including the move and recruitment of new officers.
Mr McAdam told the meeting that the new base would not result in the closure of outstations or “police boxes,” but that staff would be better briefed at South Park then deployed to those satellite facilities.
Councillors raised concerns and questions over how staff would patrol areas, with Councillor Emily Wood noting that the Carholme ward currently only had one PCSO, while Councillor Naomi Tweddle questioned the priority of neighbourhood policing particularly in the Minster and Ermine wards, where she said drugs issues had “got worse”.
He said: “Yes, there are frustrations that people aren’t going to feel that we’re as visible as we were historically.
“It’s not because we’re retreating, it’s not because we are less of a service, it’s because we are adapting the service to be able to meet the needs of a changing community and we will represent that community.”
He said that if gaps emerged in how police could engage better, they would look to fill them, but that community information intelligence would remain a priority.
“It’s that community intelligence and information that really helps us drive and work and focus on what we don’t know.
“We are testing some of these changes, because every change is made to ensure that we are improving our service.
“Everything we have done over the last few years has been to put additionality into roads policing, into real crime, into business crime, into actually policing our communities in a different way.
“Policing, whilst we’ve got to evolve, the commitment for policing and Lincolnshire has never changed. It’s unwavering.”
Councillors also questioned recruitment of new officers, with 40 extra PCSOs expected in January and March next year, 15 for Lincoln.
Mr McAdam told councillors there was no struggle to promote recruitment right now, however, rigorous testing to join the police did result in around 20% dropping out initially. Further attrition was also taking place later in officers’ careers when they decided to use their skills for other employment.
Also under discussion was how police tackled drug and violence issues and how the force would continue to build trust with local residents.