I have said before that I have worked in Neighbourhood Policing for many years and I am a big fan of local officers tackling the problem people and places and making neighbourhoods safer and nicer places to live and work in.
My teams clearly understand that I want the bad people arrested or prosecuted. I want them off the streets or towing the line on an ASBO or whatever it takes.
I get fed up, and quite frankly embarrassed, when I see some of the gimmicks that neighbourhood teams sometimes dream up to get a bit of publicity. Or is it someone trying to make a name for themselves when they put in for their promotion board?
Do you remember this stunt, where officers in East London were offering to follow people home from the cash point if they were worried about getting mugged. My question at the time was, if you have a mugging problem, what are you doing to catch the offenders? Why can't the neighbourhood teams be out visible deterring these offences anyway. If you don't have a mugging problem all you are doing is raising the fear of crime.
Now we have PCSO Vince Preston out on a BMX bike. He claims young people are more likely to talk to him and interact with him on a BMX rather than a normal bike. Vince, you don't know what you are talking about. I don't know who dreamt up this idea and you may just be the stooge for someone else's stupidity. You are not supposed to be regressing and becoming one of the youths that rides round on one of these things. You are supposed to be part of the police service and have the respect of the people you police. Riding around on a BMX just makes you open to ridicule and gains nothing.
Sorry to sound so negative but I wish we would just stick to the basics. In my experience the public just want us to be visible and enforce the law. That is our job, using discretion where appropriate. It is not to keep inventing ways of avoiding doing just that.