Three-Year Yard Drive Aims to Put 6,000 Extra Police on Beat; REFORMS TO BRING A RECORD 35,000 OFFICERS AND RESTORE FAITH

By Dougherty, Hugh | The Evening Standard (London, England), July 8, 2003 | Go to article overview

Three-Year Yard Drive Aims to Put 6,000 Extra Police on Beat; REFORMS TO BRING A RECORD 35,000 OFFICERS AND RESTORE FAITH


Dougherty, Hugh, The Evening Standard (London, England)


Byline: HUGH DOUGHERTY

SCOTLAND YARD Commissioner Sir John Stevens today unveiled a threeyear plan to revolutionise policing in London - culminating in a record total of 35,000 police officers.

More than 6,000 extra police will be put on the beat, with every council ward guaranteed its own team of dedicated officers.

And there will be a massive new effort to regain the trust of victims and witnesses in a programme designed to bring thousands more criminals to justice.

The reforms were revealed by Sir John at a major conference on criminal justice in London, supported by the Evening Standard.

Urban Justice - Delivering A Safer London, brought together 400 of the leading figures in criminal justice in London, including police, crown prosecutors, Home Office officials and probation and prison chiefs.

Speaking to the Evening Standard before the conference, Sir John revealed London is on course to have a record number of officers by 2006 - with thousands of extra police on special local beats.

"We are going to have 35,000 police officers," he said. "We can develop a different service and we can do that as we reach our way up to 35,000."

The 6,500 extra police will be used to produce what Sir John said would be a "step change" in how the police operate, with every one of London's 687 council wards given a dedicated team of uniformed beat officers.

"They have to be dedicated to their area," he said. "The most successful beat officers I have worked with are those who have been based in that area for a year or two."

A pilot scheme where parts of Bexley in south-east London have been given teams dedicated to wards has seen the level of public confidence in policing soar to record levels.

The new system would guarantee a constant police presence in areas which now only have sporadic coverage - and none of the almost 7,000 officers on ward beat duties would be relocated to other duties such as counter-terrorism or major events.

Sir John admitted previous initiatives to deliver dedicated beat patrols had been hamstrung by the need to meet other priorities. …

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