An overhaul of neighbourhood policing across West Yorkshire is set to take place next spring as the county’s force aims to shore up what is considered the ‘bedrock’ of its work.
A report prepared for West Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel details the essential role of neighbourhood policing teams (NPTs) in the effective functioning of all departments.
But it said: “Maintaining effective neighbourhood policing under the current structures has become increasingly difficult, due to increased demand for service as well as budget reductions, resulting in neighbourhood PCs and PCSOs used to routinely assist with call demand. This not only lessens visibility within communities but also has the knock on effect of limiting time for engagement, problem solving and prevention, and early intervention.”
Under the new model, 120 extra neighbourhood posts will be created across the force and a minimum of three teams will be formed in each NPT area to ensure early and late shift cover in communities daily.
In Leeds district, there will be six larger neighbourhood policing areas instead of the current 11. Each will consist of an inspector overseeing a minimum of three sergeant-led teams of PCs, PCSOs, Special Constables and volunteers.
Wakefield will have three areas, with six in Bradford, four in Kirklees and two in Calderdale.
The report said it would allow frontline officers to focus on their work in communities.
However, it notes that potential risks include a reduction in call handling performance in some areas, staff resistance to change, the effect of change on morale and the impact on other force programmes for change.
Expanding neighbourhood teams could also leave separate patrol teams with too many student officers, the report said.
But it also sets out the measures which will be taken to mitigate against any potential risks.
The proposed date for implementation of the new model is March 26 next year.