As part of the roll out of neighbourhood policing to all areas of the country, the Home Office has worked with an Association of Chief Police Officers Neighbourhood Policing Team to establish 43 Basic Command Units dedicated to visible, accessible and responsive policing - one for each force in England and Wales.
The Home Office also today announced the findings of a research report into National Reassurance Policing Pilots and published a literature review of community engagement in policing.
The NRPP pilots sought to involve local communities in identifying and tackling priority crime and disorder. The evaluation shows that the programme has a positive impact on crime, perceptions of crime and anti-social behaviour. In addition, feelings of safety and confidence in the police have improved. The literature review endorsed these findings and suggested that community engagement in policing improves the relationship between the public and police.
Mr Burnham said:
'Neighbourhood policing is much more than high visibility reassurance policing. It is about using local knowledge and intelligence from local people to target crime hotspots and the disorder issues causing most concern to local communities. Home Office research shows that only by working hand in hand with local communities can we ensure that the police do not just provide a service to the community, but are a respected and integral part of it.
'The Government and the police service are absolutely committed to delivering effective neighbourhood policing. By 2008 each neighbourhood will have a dedicated neighbourhood policing team. The size of the neighbourhood which is served by this team will vary from area to area: a 'neighbourhood' to an inner-city resident will be very different from what it means to someone living in a predominantly rural area. Typically though, we would expect it to cover one or two council wards. What is really important is that every resident will know the name of their local officer, see them on the street and will be able to contact them.'
Matt Baggott, ACPO lead on Neighbourhood Policing and Chief Constable of Leicestershire Constabulary, said:
'ACPO is fully committed to neighbourhood policing and to providing a sustainable and active presence within communities. The evidence and progress debate is compelling and encouraging, and we are working hard to ensure that all citizens have a dedicated policing team by 2008. We are already ahead of schedule, and recognise that neighbourhood policing is the foundation upon which we must build for the future.'
The Home Office neighbourhood policing booklet 'Neighbourhood Policing - your Police; your community; our commitment' was published 8 March 2005 and is available on the Home Office police reform website.
The evaluation report on National Reassurance Policing Pilots is available here.
The report on Community Engagement in Policing is available here.