Major changes in the Cheshire Police service in what has been termed as a 'Root and Branch' reform, will be introduced on July 6th. The reorganisation is being introduced to save £34 million over four years. It will see Police officers briefed outside their beat areas and the number of policing units halved..Under the current arrangement, there are 19 Neighbourhood Policing Units across the county.They will be replaced by just eight Local Policing Units,Chester, Ellesmere Port, Northwich, Crewe, Macclesfield, Runcorn, Warrington and Widnes.Police Officers and PCSO's will have to travel to their patches following daily briefings at a central deployment base in one of the eight locations.For example Nantwich Police will have to travel to Crewe and Congleton Police will have to travel all the way to Macclesfield and then back again at the end of the shift.
Police officers will spending far too much time travelling between Police stations instead of catching criminals and stopping speeding motorists in residential areas.Cheshire Police should come into the 21st century and do the briefing via the internet, which would mean that officers would not have to make long trips before they started their beat duties and at the end of their shift.
There are only two Policing Units in Cheshire East to cover 370,000 residents and 450 square miles. There are three in Cheshire West, which is smaller in area and has a smaller population.Under the current arrangement, there are 19 Neighbourhood Policing Units across the county.The number of Policing Units is being cut by a massive 58%.
Nineteen neighbourhood units are being reduced to just eight local policing units which means that there is going to be less of a focus on the already under-policed smaller communities of Cheshire, such as Nantwich, Alsager,Sandbach,Congleton,Middlewich,Holmes Chapel, Alderley Edge,Bollington,Knutsford,Wilmslow and Poynton and the vast rural areas.
I am amazed that local communities,Parish and Town Councils and residents have not been consulted about what is clearly a cost-cutting exercise which could have a very detrimental impact on the policing in Cheshire.In Poynton for example it has been estimated that PCSO's will lose a massive 25% of their time on the beat because of these changes.I am surprised that Cheshire East Council have not raised any concerns about this reduction in the Police Service for their residents.Much concern was expressed at the recent Cheshire Crime Panel about the impact of the reforms and the lack of consultation.
Cllr Brian Silvester