ASSURANCES have been given that Cheadle's Local Neighbourhood Policing team will not be reduced in the next four years.
The assurance came during a visit to Cheadle Town Council by Local Policing Team (LPT) Commander of Staffordshire Moorlands Inspector Jon Ward on Monday, December 17.
Inspector Ward was there to introduce himself so that the councillors could "put a face to the name". He has been in the Staffordshire Moorlands since August and has been in the police force for 16 years.
Originating from Leeds, he has been stationed most recently at Hanley police station. He said that parish and town councils and councillors were important members of the community and he hoped to get around to meeting all of them personally and hoped everyone and working closely with everyone.
Councillor Richard Alcock asked how long Inspector Ward would be staying in Cheadle, as it seemed there was "someone new every few months".
Inspector Ward said he hoped to be in the Moorlands for as long as possible and he had no immediate intention to move.
He explained that there were ten LPTs across the county and former Staffordshire Moorlands Inspector Claire Riley had been promoted to Chief Inspector at Newcastle, which is why she moved.
He also said that the majority of the LPTs were now managed by Chief Inspectors
Councillor Ray Wood asked for assurance that the local police neighbourhood policy would stay.
Inspector Ward said that Chief Constable has stated publicly that there would be no reduction in staffing up to 2018 and the staffing figures currently of 225 would remain.
Councillor Margaret Locker welcomed Inspector Ward to the meeting and informed him that there was a newly reformed Police Liaison Panel beginning in Cheadle, which she had asked for and hoped to attend at the next meeting.
She said that County Councillor Mark Deaville had also given his support and she hoped that Inspector Ward would take this on board and that they could all work together.
Inspector Ward said that there are strategic objectives for local communities and as he hoped to make improvements the Police Liaison Panel would have an important part to play.
Councillor Neil Plant asked whether the 101 police contact number was operational at night as he had problems getting through.
Inspector Ward said he did not know of any problem, but that they were amalgamating the control room and there would now be one main control room at Headquarters and if there were problems in future he could be contacted directly on his extension number.
Councillor Peter Elkin said that he would also like to welcome Inspector Ward and that he was one of the co-ordinator's of the Neighbourhood Watch in Cheadle.
He said that PCSOs in Cheadle were very important and that he had worked well with PCSO Mark Bridgwood who was extremely helpful and wished Inspector Ward good luck.
Inspector Ward said that when PCSOs were first introduced people were unsure about them and wanted to see police officers on patrol. But now they have come to accept that they are doing an excellent job certainly that is here in the Moorlands.
He said that there are more PCSOs than neighbourhood officers, but that PCSOs were utilised for the problem solving issues i.e. neighbour disputes, but when these escalate to become a criminal issue the neighbourhood officers step in. He said that PCSO Mark Bridgwood was a good asset.
Councillor Peter Warrillow asked whether anything could be done about inconsiderate parking on pavements, an example was at the junction of Friars Close and Prince George Street, he had received complaints from residents who could not walk on the pavement due to inconsiderate parking.
Inspector Ward said that the police no longer deal with parking issues, yellow lines etc unless it causes a danger.
Councillor Gary Bentley asked whether Inspector Ward could look at the restrictions put on the parades held in the town as in recent years routes had been restricted because of the lack of police manpower and given enough notice it should not be a problem.