Cheshire is bucking the national trend of reducing the time police officers spend in communities by allocating a police base in every community in Cheshire to increase officers’ visibility.
Recent reports in the media have stated that some forces have shut half of their local stations in the last eight years which is reducing the amount of time officers spend in local communities.
But in Cheshire, 122 police community bases have been opened this year under police and crime commissioner David Keane.
The new bases in Cheshire are housed in existing community buildings, such as libraries and community centres, and provide facilities for PCSOs and officers to hold regular surgeries or have confidential discussions with victims, witnesses and other members of the public.
PCSOs are now able to begin and end their daily shift at a local community base, increasing the amount of time they have to meet local residents and deal with local issues.
The commissioner says this increased visibility is having a positive effect on officers’ ability to tackle and prevent crime.
“In a challenging financial climate where we’ve seen police funding cut year-on-year, this model of sharing existing buildings is allowing us to increase the presence of officers in communities at no extra cost to the taxpayer.
“Since we started the roll out of the new community bases across Cheshire earlier this summer, we’ve seen police interaction and visibility increase which is building assurance in our communities.
“I believe that policing should be truly local and community focused and I’ll continue to work with Cheshire Constabulary to put more community officers back where they belong.”
The community base model has been implemented under the commissioner’s Estates Strategy which sets out how the constabulary can ensure their police estate is fit-for-purpose.
Under this strategy, two of Cheshire’s existing police stations – Frodsham and Mickle Trafford in Cheshire West – have been relocated to shared community bases which has increased their accessibility.
The commissioner will conduct a further review of other stations which may also benefit from this shared services approach.
“The future is around working with our partners in the fire service and other community organisations to share buildings and running costs.
“As our thin blue line gets thinner, this is the only way we can ensure officers have a presence in all of Cheshire’s communities”, added David.