More bobbies on the beat promised

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KEEPING police officers visible on the streets is a key priority in Shaun Wright’s five-year strategy, included because of ‘public demand’, the commissioner said.

“The public are always saying they want to see more police officers,” said Mr Wright.

“We’re increasing the number of police officers, or increasing the number of individuals wearing uniform, and retaining the number of community support officers.

“I’m always reluctant to use the word ‘front-line policing’, everyone’s got a role to play in reducing crime and anti-social behaviour, but people want to see more of the police.”

He said there were dozens of police buildings which could be fitted with signs to improve visibility.

“I want to see better signage and more positive messages emblazoned across them. I’ve also asked the chief constable to do an audit of our vehicles, and there are about 300 that could be badged up which are currently unmarked. I would expect the public will start to see more police vehicles.”

The commissioner said he hoped the measures would reassure residents, particularly elderly people.

“It will not only reduce crime but make older people feel safe and secure. The perception with older people is that crime is going up, so it will help to address that.”

The plan promises to replace scores of police officers due to leave the force over the next two years.

“We’ll be using some of those replacements and targeting them towards more visible policing.

“Around 50 or 60 replacements will be going into Safer Neighbourhood Teams and 10 into child protection.”

Mr Wright added: “This plan is about delivering as much as possible within the challenges we face. We’re going to be as proactive as we can be in meeting our priorities.

“I will be held to account as well. If we can achieve the majority of them I would say that is a success.”