“Why do you include Litter and Dog Fouling in the Survey?”
Monday, April 19th, 2021
“When we speak to the Neighbourhood Policing teams about such issues we are told that these are not policing issues.”
Thank you to the resident who e-mailed us with this question. It is a question we have asked ourselves, so this is an opportunity to explain our answer!
A healthy Community is a Jigsaw
The health of our communities depends on a jigsaw of services, service providers, organisations, volunteers and residents. One only has to be a member of a local Facebook Group to be aware of the extreme frustration felt by many residents on account of mindless littering, and especially inconsiderate dog owners letting dogs foul in public areas, or dropping bags of dog poo instead of disposing of them properly.
Often this frustration is added to by a sense that “someone must do something” but not really knowing who that someone is.
The Forum’s surveys collect residents’ concerns. It may be useful to know that the origin of the surveys was led by Chiltern District Council in collaboration with Thames Valley Police. Now of course it is Buckinghamshire Council with the Police. So the survey is broader than simply issues that are mainly or solely the responsibility of Neighbourhood Police. The idea is that when residents’ concerns are collected, then they can be reflected to the appropriate authority.
The Forum also tries to signpost proactively – so for example we published recently a page on the website on the subject of dog fouling: https://www.csb-forum.org/dog-fouling/ This explains that the key responsibility in terms of policy and enforcement lies with Buckinghamshire Council.
Whilst researching this page, we circulated a mail to the Council, Police etc, and the response from Chiltern Neighbourhood Police Inspector Vine was: “My expectations are that if any of the team (police) see an offence occur that they deal as appropriate with it. That said with all our primary and statutory responsibilities, we would not undertake specific patrols for this matter.” Which is fair enough, given the Council’s statutory responsibilities, Police resources and their need to prioritise by levels of potential harm.
Finding the right Agency for Residents’ Concerns
When it comes to analysing and directing the data collected from the surveys, some remedies/actions will be driven by Neighbourhood Policing (eg Burglary prevention and many aspects of Anti Social Behaviour), some will be predominantly Council responsibilities (eg dog fouling) and some will need a level of community involvement and responsibility (eg litter). Some will be hybrids (eg Speeding within our communities can be discouraged by active Community Speedwatch groups – see for example our recent post: https://www.csb-forum.org/fresh-start-for-community-speedwatch-in-thames-valley/) Some will be appropriate to other, sometimes more specialised areas of the force – eg Modern Slavery, Rural Crime etc – and concerns are passed on as appropriate.
Survey data is now reported to Community Boards, and presented to a group of Community Board Chairs which sets Neighbourhood Police focus areas. Thus a formal channel has been introduced for residents’ concerns within the survey to be reported to their local Councillors. This is particularly relevant to concerns which are predominantly handled by the Council.
So in summary, what the Forum’s surveys seek to do is to provide a platform for residents to express concerns, and help in the flow of information to appropriate agencies. This includes supporting the setting of Neighbourhood Policing focus areas. The meetings held by the Forum are also very useful opportunities to flush out these matters, and we would encourage residents, as well as completing the surveys, to come along to the meetings – everyone is welcome!
Survey and Meeting
The latest survey of residents’ concerns is currently OPEN – until May 3rd, and available on https://yourvoicebucks.citizenspace.com/communities/csbpolicingissues2021/
The Forum meeting will be via Zoom, at 6.30pm on Tuesday 18th May. You can request a link via the survey, or by e-mailing us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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