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Officer slams police chiefs over targets

PUBLISHED: 15:23 20 August 2009 | UPDATED: 16:23 07 September 2010

Sanchez Manning A POLICE sergeant has accused the Met's top brass of preventing community officers from doing their jobs by forcing them to chase government targets, the Wood&Vale can reveal. The officer, who would not reveal his identity for fear he coul

Sanchez Manning

A POLICE sergeant has accused the Met's top brass of preventing community officers from doing their jobs by forcing them to chase government targets, the Wood&Vale can reveal.

The officer, who would not reveal his identity for fear he could lose his job, formerly headed a Safer Neighbourhoods Team (SNT) in north Westminster.

In a candid interview, he claims that senior managers are putting pressure on SNTs to meet Home Office targets rather than focusing on local issues.

He also said that constant changes in the senior management team have driven down morale among many Safer Neighbourhoods officers.

Speaking to the Wood&Vale this week, he said: "Safer Neighbourhoods Teams are great but it would be nice if they were allowed to get on with their jobs rather than being diverted to other things.

"They're achieving results but this is making them the go-to people when other results are required.

"The pressures are coming from the Home Office because they set the targets. But these targets are fairly generic such as knife crime, burglaries and robberies.

"The community concerns tend to be things like anti-social behaviour, people cycling on footpaths and noise nuisance.

"But these are not the type of things that tend to show up in statistics."

The sergeant added that constant changes at the top have not helped matters.

Earlier this year, borough commander Steve Allen left after two years in the post and less than six months later, the Detective Superintendent for north Westminster, Peter Newman, is retiring after a 18-month stint.

The sergeant's claims have been strongly rebutted by senior police.

Detective Superintendent for Westminster, Andy Rowell, says he regularly goes out on the beat with officers on high visibility patrols and denied the problems raised by the anonymous officer.

"Westminster is a complex borough with many competing demands for police," he said.

"The Safer Neighbourhoods Teams deliver excellent service to their wards in support of the priorities set by the neighbourhood ward panels made up of members of the public and community groups.

"Offences of robbery and burglary are among the most serious crimes, and it is vital that we engage with our community to support the drive against them. This is not about chasing targets."

But a community campaigner from Paddington, who works closely with the police, has backed the criticisms.

Linda King Taylor, who leads the Westminster north police partnership, said: "We never even managed to meet one inspector who left after about four weeks.

"Dedicated police teams working for their neighbourhoods were promised to communities but you can't even keep up with the changes in officers on the website, they are so often.

"The community has been disappointed - the senior management turn up at the council meetings and the attitude is we've done our bit.

"But they should be getting out on the street and meeting the people who are paying their wages.


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