Chief Constable Simon Cole discusses the launch of a new community initiative.
Working with our communities has always been a top priority for me as Chief Constable. It matters hugely.
That is why I am delighted that we have launched a new initiative that sees neighbourhood officers partnering with communities to walk the beat.
The project, called Neighbourhood Active, is initially being trialled in the St Matthews and St Peters areas of the city and Lutterworth in the county. Its aim is to strengthen community links and empower local residents.
Working with the police, Neighbourhood Active members take part in regular walks to speak to residents and businesses, pick up concerns and help solve problems.
Patrolling in pairs, they are equipped with a ‘Neighbourhood Active’ high visibility jacket and, through their phones, stay in contact with their local beat team. They log and map any concerns, and use community apps like ‘Fix My Street’ and ‘Love Leicester’ to report other issues.
Inspector Yakub Ismail, our commander in East Leicester, told me community members had received comprehensive training covering what they may encounter while on patrol. He said he was excited about how these community members would serve their community, spot areas that need special attention, and work with our police teams.
The pilot in St Matthews and St Peters has reached out to local mums, in particular, for support.
Over 20 mums are joining officers on patrol to speak with young people in the area. They discuss issues of concern, give advice on how to get involved in community activities, and help solve problems where they find them.
Rukhsana Hussain is a community co-ordinator for Neighbourhood Active. At a launch in August, she made the excellent point that everybody can contribute to a safer community and it was about working together through discussion and engagement.
Our Police and Crime Commissioner, Rupert Matthews, supports the project and has said it is exactly the kind of scheme needed to bring communities together and empower local people.
I agree. If you see our Neighbourhood Active members out and about, please stop and speak with them about any local concerns you may have. You may have ideas for your own Neighbourhood Active scheme?
Neighbourhood Active is another good way for Leicestershire Police to work with and protect our communities.