Were there just two police officers covering whole of Harlow last Tuesday?

Crime / Tue 20th Aug 2013 at 09:44am

AS PART of our first few months, we are getting around as many community groups as possible.

Last week, we visited the Neighbourhood Action Panel (NAP) that meet at Tye Green Bowls Club in Bush Fair.

It was very well attended with over 20 members of the public there.

The meeting was “chaired” by cllr Ian Beckett and there were also two police officers there (One Sgt and One PCSO).

Naturally, there were a large number of concerns regarding crime. At one point, the Sgt told the meeting that the number of police officers on patrol in Harlow that evening (Tues Aug 13th) was..two.

The members of the meeting could not believe what they had heard. For a town of 80,000 people, there were two members of the Neighbourhood Police Teams on patrol. What compunded it was that the Sgt informed the meeting that Harlow had recently lost four PCSO’s.

So..it came as no surprise, a few hours later, that (and we refer to this matter as a general discussion of a public affair) that a large disturbance took place a mile down the road and a teenager was stabbed.

The general perception is that the police seem to have turned into the fire service.

So..we went to the top and asked the Police Crime Commisssioner Nick Alston for this comments.

Mr Alston said: “I have looked into this matter and any suggestion that there were only a couple of police officers on duty in Harlow on the evening of Tuesday August 13 is based on a misunderstanding.

“At any given time, officers from a range of different units within Essex Police are able to respond to and manage incidents as they occur.

“On the evening of Tuesday August 13, in addition to the Neighbourhood Policing Team, a significant number of Neighbourhood Crime Team and Response and Patrol officers were working from Harlow police station.

“I would reassure everyone that there is still a strong and effective policing presence in Harlow, involved in community engagement and long term problem solving, and able to respond rapidly to incidents as they occur.”

This is just the first piece in a series on police numbers in Harlow. It appears that with £43 million worth of cuts and with a strategic change to way policing is approached in 2013, we may not or maybe we should not expect the old days of twelve neighbourhood bobbies on patrol in Harlow. But is it now too reactive, to science-led?

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