Richmondshire “standout area” for community policing, survey finds

Richmond Neighbourhood Police team with MOD Police Dog Handler and Police Dog Oscar

Policing in Richmondshire is a standout area for good practice with the community less worried about crime and more confident of the  police’s response, according to a new survey.

North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan has published the findings of her neighbourhood policing survey.

The results show a mixed picture across the county, with some areas performing better than others.

The survey was completed by over 1,400 residents last year across North Yorkshire and York, including 94 in Richmondshire.

People were asked to give their views on the quality of policing in their area, what had changed and whether community safety has improved.

The survey found that Richmondshire residents were generally more satisfied with their local police service and were less worried about crime than those living elsewhere in the county.

It also found that fewer residents of the district, along with areas including Ryedale and villages around Harrogate, had suffered from crime and anti-social behaviour.

More Richmondshire residents were also satisfied with police visibility than anywhere else in the county.

The report stated: “Richmondshire is an area where we might expect higher rates of satisfaction with the police because
of lower crime and disorder rates however this survey has also
highlighted a high level of confidence in the police in Richmondshire when it comes to rural crimes (agricultural, theft, wildlife crime, fuel theft etc) and we would therefore hold this up as a good example of police activity having a positive impact on residents.”

The results for the county also showed:

  • Overall, residents feel less safe than they did a year ago
  • 40% of people feel crime and anti-social behaviour is getting worse in their area
  • Policing comes at the bottom of the list when residents are asked to rate local public services
  • Less than one third of people are satisfied with the level of police presence in their area
  • Scarborough and Richmondshire are standout areas for good practice and community confidence
  • There is support for partners to take more action over mental health related issues
  • Communities feel they should be given a greater say on resolving anti-social behaviour issues in their area.

Commenting on the report, Julia Mulligan said: “The results are worrying but not a surprise, as it has been clear to me for some time now that the public are concerned about the erosion of local policing services. I undertook this survey to get a better understanding of the issues, and to ensure North Yorkshire Police can see that these are very real concerns.

“While the majority of people are satisfied, it’s evident that a significant proportion are not. What is more, we get regular feedback from officers telling us that they too would like to offer a better service, but feel more people on the ground would help them and the communities they serve.

“I believe the results reflect the gradual shift in policing resources nationwide, not just here in North Yorkshire, from traditional, local policing to more serious and complex matters, such as child abuse, sexual assault, cyber and online crime, serious and organised crime. While it is right that North Yorkshire Police has the resources in place to tackle the most serious crimes, I do feel this has been to the detriment of local policing.

“However, the balance is hard to achieve. Policing demand is going up, as is the complexity of crime. Those officers dealing with serious crimes are also feeling the pressure, especially as the additional workload comes at a time when resources are very tight.”

The results of the survey will help inform the Commissioner’s decision on the precept which will be discussed on 5 February at the Police, Fire and Crime Panel.

This year, the government gave Police and Crime Commissioners greater flexibility to increase the amount people pay.

In advance of the panel’s meeting, Julia Mulligan added: “The decision this year is a tough one, which I am weighing up very carefully.”