In September the Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw
announced “A dedicated task force of police officers is being rolled out across Lancashire this month, tackling issues that matter most to people. The taskforce is split into proactive teams of four or five officers spread across nine areas in the county, with the responsibility for tackling local priorities including drug dealing, anti-social behaviour and burglary, alongside disrupting organised crime group activity and targeting outstanding offenders”.
Mr Grunshaw said “The Government’s funding announcement at the end of last year made it clear that the only way to raise funds to put extra officers on our streets, which the people of Lancashire consistently tell me is what they want to see, was to fully utilise the council tax flexibility given to Police and Crime Commissioners. This was the only option provided by Government to protect and bolster policing here in Lancashire and not using it would have meant a further cut to the budget and 125 fewer police officers. Thanks to support from the public, I’m pleased to say that for the first time since 2010 investment is being made into policing here in Lancashire with additional officers going into every district, focusing on reducing and preventing crime and dealing with the issues that matter most to people”.
So West Lancashire will have a Task Force. Ch Supt Sam Mackenzie of Lancashire Constabulary said “The introduction of these officers is great news and puts extra officers into our communities. The roll out of the Neighbourhood Policing task force will help us to continue tackling key crime hotspot’s and allow us to be more proactive in preventing the crimes that concern us all the most. I expect their impact to be significant in every corner of the county. I believe these officers will make a real difference in our community and look forward to seeing the effects they have”.
But “Sceptical of Aughton” who might be me, or you, has a cynical view of the concept. He’s a retired police officer who wrote to the Champion
and foresees the four, maybe five officers actually being somewhat depleted by annual leave, rest days, and sickness, leaving not much officer time to deal with burglary, drugs, anti-social behaviour, target outstanding offenders, and assist in tackling Organised Crime Groups. Not to mention the practical garaging of vehicles and storing equipment.
As “Sceptical of Aughton” says, all the above doesn’t leave much time to have a “significant” impact on anything. We hope he is wrong, but we share his misgivings.