For Inspector Paul Akerman, policing is more than just about preventing and solving crime.
“We’re trying to do things that make people confident about building a life here in south Leeds,” he said.
The man who leads the Holbeck Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) – which covers Beeston and Beeston Hill as well as Holbeck, Cottingley, Stourton and Hunslet – is the fourth person in three generations of his family to have joined the force.
In the year since he took charge of the NPT, crime has fallen 17 per cent.
Insp Akerman believes improving communication with the public has been key to the reduction.
“We’re trying to listen to people,” he said.
“You can go to all the public meetings you want and people will say certain things, but if you take them to one side they might tell you something else – for example, that what makes a real difference is stopping the drug dealing going on down the road.
“To an extent I’m prepared to take the leap of faith and go with what people are telling us they want.”
A quick look at the NPT’s Facebook group gives an indication of police priorities in the area. One message reads: “Disturbance in your street this morning?
“Sorry but Holbeck NPT have been conducting early morning warrants again.”
There are regular updates about cannabis farm finds.
In the financial year 2011-12 the NPT executed 43 search warrants – the majority linked to the fight against drug crime. So far this year, the figure is 83.
There has also been a focus on cutting anti-social behaviour in Cross Flatts Park, including mounted patrols during the summer, as well as combating problems with speeding and uninsured cars in the Tempest Road area. Reducing break-ins at homes and cars is another priority.
“We want people to tell us what’s important,” Insp Akerman added. “It’s vital that we have that dialogue.”