- The South Area meeting at the Cherry Hinton Village Centre last night set five policing priorities for the coming four months:
- Anti-social behaviour in Cherry Hinton
- Mini-moto misuse in Cherry Hinton
- Dangerous driving and parking outside schools in Queen Edith’s
- SpeedParking at Homerton Childrens Centreing in Church End, Cherry Hinton
- Domestic burglaries
The police recommended carrying on with the school parking and asked to add another, domestic burglaries. They asked to discharge the three Cherry Hinton objectives.
I spoke in support of the parking outside schools objective. Despite the police reporting ‘no problems’, parents I have talked to from all four of the schools covered (Morley, Queen Edith’s, Homerton Children’s Centre and the Perse Pelican) report chaotic scenes, with people driving down the pavements, doing three-point turns in the road, as well as irritation practices such as blocking people’s drives.
If you witness any dangerous parking or driving outside the schools, contact the local police team on 101. You can download all their contact details here.
You can read the police report on their activities, and their recommendations for priorities here. The first four of these priorities are carried over from the previous policing period, and the first two are priorities for the third time running. Police asked for the anti-social behaviour and mini-moto monitoring priorities to be discharged, as there have only been 8 complaints from the public about anti-social behaviour and one mini-moto offence. Less defensively, police also asked for the Church End speeding priority to be withdrawn, because the road isn’t suitable for handheld speed detector devices and they don’t want to deploy police officers on this job, only PCSOs. That’s what I call a cop-out.
Herein lies a problem. The police plead shortage of manpower, yet it looks as though five priorities is too many. Parking outside schools, for example, only had 14 hours devoted to it in four months – that’s approximately 10 minutes per school per week – and only a tenth of the time spent in Cherry Hinton. Councillors are reluctant to vote against any police priority in case the existing problem comes back and they get blamed.
A more sophisticated system is clearly needed, possibly a points scoring system and measurable targets, so that there is a clear indication of which issues get the most attention. Otherwise the list of priorities will grow and grow, and become meaningless.
For an alternative account of this meeting, plus thoughts on priorities, see the website of Richard Taylor, a regular attender of and commentator on council meetings: http://www.rtaylor.co.uk/policing-south-cambridge-july-2012.html