Back in 2004 at the conclusion of the National Reassurance Policing Programme (NRPP), when designing the set up of the National Neighbourhood Policing Programme, a colleague and I visited and interviewed the 8 participating Chief Constables to get their views on what we’d achieved. The then Chief Constable of Lancashire, Sir Paul Stephenson, provided us with 3 principles that he considered important to how we worked:
- Access – to people that cared
- Influence – over what is done
- Answers – about what has happened
Using what we had learned from Dr Martin Innes research on Signal Crimes, we knew that some issues mattered more to people than others. We also knew from the 16 trail sites that sustainable solutions to problems came from the police, partners and public working together. The principles were updated to:
- Access – ease of contact to locally accountable policing teams
- Influence – community say over policing priorities
- Interventions – joint action on the issues that matter most
- Answers – feedback on what worked
These became the building blocks for Neighbourhood Policing, which has transformed how policing has been conducted in the UK over the last 6 years. They have certainly guided my professional practice.
Just over a year ago I invited Nick Keane, who I had worked with on NRPP, to present to neighbourhood policing teams across Surrey on the importance of digital engagement and social media. That got me thinking about how we could apply these principles within social networks.
This brief was given to Multizone www.multizone.co.uk who helped develop the idea into an easy to use Twitter based application, and the result is the Surrey Police mobile phone app, which has been rolled out to the Runnymede Safer Neighbourhood Team today. The project has been adopted as a Home Office trailblazer, as part of the next stage of Crime Mapper.
We are now testing the app amongst the team and when ready we will launch publicly on Apple App Store and Android Market. When that happens people in Runnymede will be able to get the services of their Safer Neighbourhood team, from the comfort of their sofa, as a distraction to the daily commute, or a debating point in the pub.
You’ll be able to find out about your local officers, what they’e been working on, vote on what matters most to you in your area, and get engaged (and hopefully active) in the policing of your community.
When that happens, we’ll have put policing in your pocket, and that’s why today is an exciting day for me.