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Overhaul of neighbourhood policing in Leeds promises 'visible, accessible and identifiable' local officers

Inspector Andy Berriman, Superintendent Joanne Morgan, crime commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson and Chief Inspector Richard Padwell.
Inspector Andy Berriman, Superintendent Joanne Morgan, crime commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson and Chief Inspector Richard Padwell.

Frontline policing in Leeds is to be relaunched from Monday, with a renewed focus on officers having a visible presence in communities.

The move is designed to revamp neighbourhood policing teams which have suffered in recent years as budgets were squeezed, officer numbers were slashed and resources were redirected to reactive work.

Read more: Hundreds of extra officers to be deployed in West Yorkshire communities

Superintendent Joanne Morgan said Leeds had a “really proud history” of neighbourhood policing and investment in additional officers would begin to reverse the cuts of recent years.

“The community should feel a real difference in the policing style,” she said. “It’s very much back to how neighbourhood policing used to be.”

The current 11 neighbourhood policing teams will be replaced by six larger teams, with an additional five inspectors and nine sergeants added.

It is the result of funding allocated through the West Yorkshire police and crime commissioner’s 2018/19 budget, which has allowed the creation of 100 additional neighbourhood officer roles across the county and ensured more than 600 PCSO posts are also protected.

Read more: Tax bill rise for Leeds residents to ‘boost’ policing

Supt Morgan said: “What it will mean for the communities of Leeds is that they will have inspector-led teams who are locally based, who will be supported by named sergeants, constables, PCSOs, special constables and volunteers. They will be visible, accessible and identifiable.”

These teams are viewed as playing an essential role in understanding any crime and anti-social behaviour affecting a particular neighbourhood, building relationships with locals, and gathering intelligence.

Working with other organisations such as the council, schools and charities to tackle problems is also part of the role.

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This was the message taken out to shoppers in Leeds yesterday afternoon as a street briefing was staged in Briggate.

Crime commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson said: “There’s no doubt this is what the public want. When we were going out to talk to them about raising additional money through their council tax, neighbourhood policing and additional officers was their priority.

"Of course, we’ve got to have reactive, response policing but we can’t have that without the locally based policing. Intervention and prevention is what the new teams are about.”

What will the new structure look like in Leeds?

Six neighbourhood policing teams will be created from the current 11, with district-wide support from eight specialist officers.

City: One inspector, three sergeants, 11 constables and 26 PCSOs.

East: One inspector, six sergeants, 23 constables and 55 PCSOs.

North East: One inspector, three sergeants, 11 constables and 28 PCSOs.

North West: One inspector, three sergeants, 15 constables and 37 PCSOs.

South: One inspector, six sergeants, 21 constables and 51 PCSOs.

West: One inspector, six sergeants, 18 constables and 43 PCSOs.