Sergeant Andy Street
As a neighbourhood policing sergeant, a major part of my role is community engagement and public consultation. It is important for us to let people know what is happening and to find out from local people what concerns them and whether they believe we are doing a good job. We are always trying to be innovative in the ways in which we engage with the community and the current favourite is the use of social media.
We regularly put out messages on e-cops, Facebook and Twitter. If you don’t already receive these messages you can subscribe to e-cops via our website www.cambs.police.uk or find our Policing Huntingdonshire page on Facebook. There is no doubt that we get our messages across to large numbers of people by these means but I have to say that I’m still a fan of the good old fashioned way of going out and talking to people.
I love the occasions when I can put on my big hat, go out on foot patrol and get talking to people. Unfortunately, resource levels and competing demands mean that we cannot carry out foot patrols as often as we used to but I always try to encourage it among officers as and when they can. Community policing is about getting to know people and finding out what concerns them. Our main policing priority is to protect the vulnerable and those that fall victim of crime. The best way to do this is to listen to people to find out what’s going on and who is at risk.
Another good way to engage with the public is by holding public meetings. I recently held a police/community forum meeting at Ramsey Forty Foot which was well attended. The main topic of conversation was speeding and road safety. There were residents from Ramsey and several of the surrounding villages complaining about people regularly driving dangerously at excess speeds through their neighbourhoods. Such was the strength of feeling that I made a commitment that officers on the local policing team would spend a set amount of time each week carrying out speed enforcement sessions in the Ramsey sector. Last week I did a session in Forty Foot and a session in Wood Lane and earlier this week an officer from the team did a session in Mereside and a session in St. Marys. As a result several drivers have been reported for exceeding the speed limit. These sessions will be continuing for the foreseeable future. I have also been in contact with the safety camera unit who have given their assurance that they will be carrying out sessions in the district as well.
Road safety is something I have always been very keen on promoting. Over the years I have attended a great many road accidents which have resulted in death or horrific injuries which might not have happened if people had just taken a little more care in their driving. If you are driving through a village at 40mph would you really be able to stop if a child runs out in front of you?
I admit that speed enforcement may be seen by some as a heavy handed approach but the fact is there are a large number of drivers who choose to ignore speed limits. To drive a car is a big responsibility and requires a great deal of care and thought. Some drivers selfishly think that the only important thing is to get to where they are going as quickly as possible and have no thought for anyone else. It often amazes me that I catch anyone when I do speed enforcement. The law requires me to stand in full view of the traffic, wearing a fluorescent jacket. Yet I still catch people doing well over the speed limit and even accelerating as they approach me. Sometimes it is clear that drivers are not taking any notice of their surroundings.
So expect to see us out and about. We are not trying to be underhand or to catch anyone out. We are working for our communities and doing our best to try to save lives.