Brave new world in policing hit the streets this week

PC Steve Winn (centre) with Police Community Support Officers Tom French, Elaine Morton and Mark Illston. ('PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER)
PC Steve Winn (centre) with Police Community Support Officers Tom French, Elaine Morton and Mark Illston. ('PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER)

Sweeping changes to the way Harborough district is policed came into force on Monday.

And the inspector now responsible for our district, Insp Louise Cordiner, repeated her call to “judge us by results”.

She said: “Let’s see what those performance figures look like, because you can’t shirk away from those.

“We’ve got the right infrastructure, so now it’s just let’s get on with it.”

And the county’s Chief Constable Simon Cole added: “Protecting our communities still remains at the heart of everything we do.”

Government budget cuts totalling £30million have led to the changes in how Leicestershire Police looks after the Harborough district.

The county’s elected police and crime commissioner Sir Clive Loader said the gap between income and expenditure was in danger of widening like “crocodile jaws” unless tough decisions were made.

Sir Clive said: “Of course people don’t like austerity, but these days austerity is the norm in the public sector.”

So on Monday, Harborough became part of the big Eastern Counties Neighbourhood Policing Unit – which takes in 173,000 people over 563 square miles of Melton Mowbray, Rutland and the Harborough districts.

Harborough lost its dedicated inspector from the Leicester Road police station – Insp Cordiner is based in Rutland.

And the nearest emergency response team is now starting and ending its shifts at Keyham Lane in Leicester, 19.2 miles away.

Responding to comments on the size of the new policing area, Insp Cordiner said: “Yes, we have 57.5 per cent of the whole Leicestershire force area.

“But we only have 11.5 per cent of the demand on police time.”

She said plenty of police resources will remain in Harborough and “dedicated neighbourhood teams” will have more time to deal with Harborough concerns.

The 999 response teams may start their shift in Keyham Lane, but “they will be on patrol throughout the county, just as before”, she says.

The Harborough district will now have two dedicated neighbourhood sergeants, six dedicated neighbourhood officers, 14 PCSOs and officers will still be using Harborough Police Station.

Insp Cordiner said: “I genuinely believe we have made sure these sweeping changes are not detrimental to the service Harborough people will receive.”