Published on 4th March 2020

Police visibility, Coronavirus and police officer recruitment were the key issues raised by Runcorn residents as they met with Cheshire’s police and crime commissioner and chief constable to discuss policing issues in their area.

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

Over the last few months the commissioner and chief constable has visited the eight local policing areas in Cheshire to talk to local people about policing, as part of their commitment to bring real neighbourhood policing back to the county.

A number of residents and local community representatives attended the Join the Conversation event at Brookvale Community Centre on Northwich Road last night (Tuesday 3 March).

Runcorn Join the Conversation event.jpg

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.

The commissioner outlined his plans to put more police officers and PCSOs into the heart of local communities to tackle emerging issues before they become more serious.

He said this includes plans to put more police bases in shopping centres, providing accessible access for local residents. These plans will be part of a ten-year Estates Strategy that the Commissioner will be working with the community to develop.

He also assured residents that Cheshire Constabulary has firm plans in place to backfill any PCSO posts vacated as a result of them joining Cheshire Constabulary as police officers as it recruits extra officers. He also told residents that he is supportive of career development for all PCSOs and police officers.

In response to concerns raised by residents about the police’s response to CO-VID 19 (Coronavirus), the Chief Constable assured local residents that the force is following national guidance on the issue and it has contingency plans in place in the event of an outbreak of the disease in Cheshire.

Also on the agenda was the issue of bullying and, in particular, the effect cyber-bullying is having on people in our communities.

The commissioner provided an update on the work of Cheshire’s Anti-Bullying Commission, which he established to look into bullying in Cheshire.

He said the commission has been working extremely hard to capture the views of those with lived-experiences of bullying and that it will soon report its findings and recommendations in order to eradicate bullying in our society.

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 Runcorn 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.”

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.”

All of the commissioner and chief constable’s responses to the questions raised at the eight meetings will soon be available on the commissioner’s website.