It is very clear that, along with the rest of the public sector, policing in Stockport is facing challenges due to cuts in funding. I wish this was not the case, but it is an unfortunate reality which we all – both the police and the local community – have to face.
As budget cuts bite and police officers are more thin on the ground, the involvement of local residents is more important than ever to help the police prevent crime. People need to be aware of the latest advice on how to keep their homes, possessions and cars secure, as well as information about trends and patterns of crime in their area – all available on the Greater Manchester Police website.
But we don’t always have time to look at the website. In my constituency work I find, more and more, that social networking is a good way to communicate. The police also recognise that good communication with the public is essential to do their job effectively, and an increasingly vital part of this is the use of social media.
Our local police use facebook and twitter, as you would expect, but I hope they will also have a look at how the many local social media groups are sharing information online – including concerns about crime.
The face of community policing is changing. Online communities are great for swift communication, with people offering suggestions and looking out for each other. It would be great if the neighbourhood police teams could tap into this, and also use it to give us feedback about policing and crime issues in our areas.
To help prevent crime, we need a network of information – keeping the public informed about policing in their neighbourhood, and ensuring the police themselves are part of the conversation.