Four Years of Surveys and Engagement
Friday, November 19th, 2021
The Forum, initially covering Chiltern, and now Chiltern and South Bucks, has been surveying residents’ opinions for nearly four years now. The leading residents’ concerns have remained fairly constant in that time. The resultant focus areas for Neighbourhood Police have followed a ‘perm 3 from 5’ pattern; or, more accurately, the same leading concern, Burglary, combined with two of the next four.
So if the concerns are predictable, what’s the point of the survey? It provides an essential focus for valuable engagement between residents and Neighbourhood Police. When the Forum meets, senior Police representatives report on their actions and progress on the focus areas. Often, additional information is provided, sometimes by a relevant guest, on these concerns. This allows broader understanding of initiatives to enhance the safety of residents, and ways in which residents can complement the work of the Police and contribute to greater community resilience. Ideally, a useful narrative develops.
Take the response to Speeding. For the first time, in our latest survey, Speeding supplanted Burglary as the number one concern. Back in September 2020, Matthew Barber, then Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner, told us his mailbag had made him well aware of concerns in our locality. He expressed a view that Community Speedwatch (CSW) needed reinvigorating in Thames Valley. He gave us something of a heads-up on work between TVP and Hampshire Roads Police to this end. Mr Barber updated us in May 2021 on pilot projects being launched, and just six months later these have resulted in new tools and arrangements which address many of the concerns over the efficacy of Community Speedwatch.
Through our website and social media, we have endeavoured to keep residents up to speed with the developing narrative:
Fresh Start for Community Speedwatch in Thames Valley – 8th April 2021
Community Speedwatch Letter – Good News! – 14th September 2021
Putting Community into Speedwatch – Update – 8th October 2021
It is to be hoped that communities now take full advantage to help improve the situation in this area of particular local concern.
One significant change to our latest survey results is the introduction of a ‘Fly Tipping’ category, even though the primary responsibility lies with the Council. Fly Tipping is a scourge of our community, and residents responded by placing it in a strong number 3. To help understanding of the issue, we invited David Rounding, Lead Enforcement Officer, Strategic Waste Management and Enforcement at Buckinghamshire Council, to address the meeting.
No-one expects the scourge of fly tipping to be cleared up any time soon. But it is surely helpful for residents to hear what IS being done, to be informed on the issues around the subject, and to be able to ask their questions. We heard also of some recent instances of Police managing to intervene where fly tipping is in progress, assisted by information by the public.
These are just two very current examples. Police-residents engagement, through the surveys and/or through the meetings, has covered a wide range of issues, with open and frank (sometimes very frank!) exchanges with senior Police representatives.
We all know how ubiquitous surveys are these days, so must end by thanking residents for their perseverance in completing our surveys and participating in the meetings. It IS worth it!
Chiltern & South Bucks Policing Issues Forum expects to hold three surveys and meetings in 2022. These will inform setting of focus areas for Neighbourhood Policing. We look forward to residents’ participation and facilitating continued constructive engagement between residents and our Neighbourhood Police.
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