Posted by: westlancashirerecord | January 12, 2017

What Is PACT?

“PACT gives residents the chance to regularly meet with their local Community Beat Manager to discuss policing issues affecting the areas where they live”. Well, depending on where you live, it might or it might not!

The Aughton Parish Council meeting of April 11th 2016 was eventful for the news that, notwithstanding local residents being informed at the February Parish meeting that they could also attend the Public PACT Meetings at Aughton Police Station towngpolice on the second Tuesday of every month to raise policing issues with the local police officers, the April PACT meeting did not take place because no police attended at the advertised time.

And this led to news that there would be no more Aughton PACT meetings, due to “poor attendances and lack of police resources”. We have been told that “Unfortunately due to staff numbers we are not going to be able to hold PACT public meetings anymore”. It left local policing relying on Specials, Volunteers, and Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) nhw.

The official Parish minutes include that ..”A resident commented on the setting up of a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme (NWS), his efforts to gain access to the Public PACT Meeting at Aughton Police Station and the crime statistics for Aughton, his attendance at the NWS Forum at HQ and the possibility of obtaining NWS signs through the Forum. The Chairman referred to the change of policy in respect of Public PACT Meetings but with reduced police staff, the focus was on front line policing rather than attending meetings. It was hoped that the PACT Panel Meetings would, however, continue. The Watch Liaison Officer would be invited to give an update on the NWS initiative at the Annual Parish Assembly, or attend a future Parish Council Meeting”. And PACT Panel meetings did and do continue…to be closed to local residents.

The issue was raised again on Monday 9 January 2017. Agenda Item Lancashire Constabulary: Policing Of Aughton – Police & Communities Together (Pact) – To Report On Pact Panel Meeting Held 4 January 2017. On being asked if a Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator could attend the Panel the reply was no, the parish clerk and chairman are invited. Upon attending and being delivered of the monthly crime figures these are not disclosed to NHW at all and only to the public who happen to turn up to the APC. The NHW is now the face of local policing in Aughton, and only if it can receive information to pass on to members. If that is not a buggers muddle I don’t know what is! Where is PCC Grunshaw  grunmeetaught when we need him for answers?

Elsewhere in the borough though, things are rather better, where not only is PACT alive and well but residents have a pick of who might better represent their interests. Step forward OWLs who have been approached by residents. And step forward Cllr Gareth Dowling who tweets on 5 December 2016 “Chaired Police And Communities Together (PACT) meeting for Knowsley & Scott Wards with @LancsPolice & fellow Cllrs Delaney & @Adam4Knowsley. A trumpet voluntary might be blown here for Cllr Dowling who wrote “The comment, from the OWL Political Party Treasurer and former OWL Political Party Candidate Mr Ian Davis refers to “so clearly the council have been working on this for more than two years”. Mr Davis is correct in acknowledging the time and effort I have put in over a prolonged period to first secure the money for the traffic calming measures, and to then roll out the consultation with local residents. I was not alone in this work, as I was supported by fellow ward councillors, the local constabulary, and hundreds of residents who took part in our campaign.

“These roads issues were raised with me by residents through various means, but primarily through the Police and Communities Together (PACT) lancspsct meetings which I have chaired since August 2015. The dates of these meetings are listed below, where we’ve had representatives from West Lancashire Borough Council, Lancashire County Council, Highways and Transport, Lancashire Constabulary and the Police and Crime Commissioner in attendance, before up to residents: 05/12/16; 24/10/16; 19/09/16; 08/08/16; 11/07/16; 23/05/16; 11/04/16; 07/04/16; 25/01/16; 14/12/15; 09/11/15; 21/09/15; 10/08/15; 29/06/15.

“This list does not include individual resident visits and visiting the roads with Highways Officers to point out the concerns of residents. Nor does this list include the bid I wrote with Cllr Hennessy to secure the £66,000 funding to address these issues locally, the time spent writing that bid, the time spent speaking with residents to get backing for the bid, etc.

“Mr Davis is also correct in stating “Now is the time for residents who have concerns to make them known and ask the questions to which answers are required” which is the entire point of the consultation, and the PACT meetings I have been chairing every six to eight weeks in the area since 2015. This stage of the consultation process is to enable the County Highways Officers to get feedback from local residents, so they can review their initial proposals with that in mind before going to a full public consultation”. Looks like we all need a Dowling?

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