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Police launch 'dial a bobby' scheme


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Locals can chat with an officer whose contact details will made available online and via leaflets.

Police launch 'dial a bobby' scheme

A force has publicised the mobile number of every neighbourhood police officer for members of the public to air their concerns.

Approximately 400 officers across West Mercia’s Safer Neighbourhood Teams have received new mobiles to make them more accessible to their communities.

Cards will be posted with a list of the officers in their area along with their individual contact details – which are also available on the force’s website – encouraging the public to report issues such as anti-social behaviour, community road concerns and local intelligence.

When asked about inevitable prank calls, Chief Superintendent Kevin Purcell, policing lead for Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, explained nuisance calls to the force are “very low” and will simply be dealt with by call screening.

Between 2000 and 2016 the force received 169 hoax calls.

Chief Superintendent Kevin Purcell, policing lead for Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, added: "West Mercia Police does all it can to protect its communities from harm every day.

"Our local Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNT) play a pivotal role in this by engaging with their local communities, finding out the issues affecting them and taking steps to make them feel as safe as they can.

"Communication is a key element of everyone's role in the force and as part of this, we have made the mobile numbers of our neighbourhood policing officers available.

"We want our SNTs to be available for their communities and this involves members of the public being able to get in touch with them. We would hope they see this as a benefit and an extra way of engaging with their SNTs on the issues that matter to them the most.

“The service is not for emergency calls or reporting any incidents where life is at risk or a crime is taking place or to ask an officer to attend in person.

"Our focus is on becoming as efficient and effective as we can possibly be right now and in the future, and I have no doubt opening up lines of communication between the SNT will help us to achieve this.”

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Why not get more cops out on the beat speaking to people handing their contact cards and numbers out themselves?


"Our focus is on becoming as efficient and effective as we can possibly be right now and in the future."

Really? So when will you be adopting a BTP model for your PCSO staff, actually empowering them to do the job they are specifically employed to do rather than just shuffling matters on or calling for a PC to come along and sort out the most basic of jobs? That would mean an additional 506 officers with powers to report, question, detain, obtain statements etc.

We go on about 'innovation' and 'being effective' but the reality is It's all bluster.

Edited by Radman
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This is going to be an absolute nightmare.

I expect It will become unworkable. Human nature is that people will stop using established crime/incident reporting protocols and will attempt to use the Bobby mobile numbers as a personal 999 line. 

Countless times in BTP when my job mobile was plastered on a poster in rail stations, offices etc I would receive phone calls for live incidents which is neither appropriate or safe. 

Only recently where I am I had to have a colleague go and speak with a previous victim of crime who was calling and texting me daily about non-crime issues with her son. This was after my number was passed by the control room after I attended a log and dealt with it at scene.

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@MerseyLLB you raise a very good point. We are issued work phones too and our numbers get given out or are left with victims/witnesses. I always make crystal clear though that anything unrelated to the particular crime/issue I am dealing with must be reported through 101/999.

Nevertheless about 4/5 months ago I found a load of missed calls and texts from someone trying to report a live DV/stalking type job. Thank god nothing major came from it but it did make my heart go when I saw the missed calls. I had not dealt with that victim for a few months since a minor non DV crime had been finalised.

This will also fall flat where the cops are busy/on a course/sick/annual leave etc and the calls will just go unanswered. If I’m busy I don’t answer my job phone unless I have an update for the person, I will sometimes answer texts if I can and it’s appropriate.

This is another hair brained sound bite scheme to paper over the cracks of not enough community policing, stations being closed and long waits for the 101 service due to cuts in control rooms.

Edited by Hyphen
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I can see what's going to happen now. Each of those Bobbies will be swamped with pointless and irrelevant you-know-what. Repeat callers, the lonely, the infatuated. Those with an axe to grind, those demanding an instant service. Those wanting to know when the bins will be collected next, those hearing a noise at three in the morning wanting to report it. And when back on duty there will be a backlog of hundreds of texts and voicemails to get through before the officer can get anything done at all.

It's a stupid idea foisted on officers by those who it's unlikely to affect all. Still, however rubbish the idea, the person will be able to evidence what they've done to earn the pips or first crown.

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@David  You could be right there and it needs carefully monitoring and thinking through .

 Although not like with like and a bit off topic I recall very well when Michael Howard instigated the parish constables scheme for specials about twenty five years ago,. We had two parish constables in my district who were prepared to give it a go.

One was very good at it and the other one was shall we say not quite  so good, he was a bit of a loose cannon if I’m truthful. The good one worked very many hours at it for quite a long time but it became a poisoned challis to her eventually. She was inundated with people ringing her up and knocking on her door at home at all hours of the day and night, over very little apparently. She told me eventually enough was enough and could stand it no longer.  She  resigned the role because of it and just went back to being a normal special with the usual duties.

As time has moved on a bit since then it might be the case now that instead of the door/telephone bell ringing at all hours they might and probably will get e mails and texts from troubled members of the public looking for a quick fix. I will be interested to see if modern technology now can make  the idea work.  Rich..


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