Posted on 10th January 2020

Homelessness, anti-social behaviour and police visibility were the key issues raised by Chester residents as they met with Cheshire’s police and crime commissioner and chief constable to discuss policing issues in their area.

It was the latest in a series of public engagement events where local residents across Cheshire have been invited to put their questions about local policing to PCC David Keane and CC Darren Martland.

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A number of residents and local community representatives attended the Join the Conversation event at Lache Community Centre last night (Thursday 9 January).

The PCC and the chief assured those in attendance that Cheshire police is carrying out a number of proactive initiatives to address the issues raised.

Among them is to look at the root cause of addiction and homelessness, with police working with partners to develop a problem solving approach, putting in place preventative measures to support vulnerable residents. The commissioner told residents that homelessness is a wider societal issue and is not something the police can tackle alone.

Residents also raised concerns about the level of police visibility in the city centre. The chief constable and commissioner said one of their main priorities is to ensure people feel safe and that they are committed to ensuring there is a visible policing presence in all Cheshire communities but that current resources present challenges. However, PCC David Keane confirmed that he has fought to keep a police base in Chester Town Hall and CC Martland added that he’ll work with the local inspector in Chester to explore how police officers can have an increased visible presence in the city.

One resident also posed an interesting question about police officers using hybrid vehicles. The chief constable confirmed that police in Cheshire are currently testing electric vehicles to ensure they’re fit for purpose and if testing is successful, they will consider using hybrid cars when responding to some 999 calls in order to reduce travel costs and invest more money into frontline neighbourhood policing.

PCC David Keane said: “It was great to see so many local residents with a real passion and dedication to making their communities safer give up their free time to attend this event.

“It was interesting to hear on a local level what the key policing issues are for people in Chester and discuss how we make improvements to make their communities safer.

“With police resources more stretched than ever, it’s important that we talk to local people about their priorities for policing to ensure we are delivering the best possible service.

“I look forward to meeting more residents at future events planned across the county in the coming weeks.”

CC Darren Martland added: “We are committed to delivering a neighbourhood policing service and putting the priorities of local communities at the forefront of everything we do.

“Our officers and PCSOs forge strong relationships with our communities to ensure crime and anti-social behaviour is dealt with as quickly and as effectively as possible.

“We appreciate the feedback from local residents in the area and I would like to reassurance residents that the problems raised at the events are being dealt with proactively by the local
policing team.”

The Join the Conversation road show events have also visited Ellesmere Port, Northwich, Widnes and Macclesfield with events scheduled in Warrington and Crewe in the next few weeks. The final event will be held in Runcorn next month on a date to be confirmed. Please check the Cheshire PCC website for further details. 

If you would like to submit a question for the PCC or chief constable ahead of the meetings, please email it to pcc@cheshire.pnn.police.uk

All of the commissioner and chief constable’s responses to the questions raised at the meetings or via email will be published on the commissioner’s website in February once the series of events have concluded.