Officers recruited by police charity play “vital role” in tackling crime

Officers who join the police service via a British charity are playing a vital role in tackling crime and anti-social behaviour in Essex.

Communities where officers via Police Now have been posted to over the past 22-months have seen 689 fewer incidents of anti-social behaviour compared to the same period from October 2016. This is equivalent to a 10 per cent drop.

Officers on Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme – which is supporting the recruitment of police officers across England and Wales – have been working alongside their colleagues within their local neighbourhood teams.

Communities have also seen 176 fewer incidents of shoplifting – a fall of 13 per cent. There were 121 fewer incidents of burglary – a fall of eight per cent – and 110 fewer incidents of theft, equivalent to a six per cent fall.

Police Now’s mission is to transform communities, reduce crime and increase the public’s confidence in policing, by recruiting and developing outstanding and diverse individuals to be leaders in society and on the policing front line.

Rosanna Walker, temporary police sergeant for Essex Police and Police Now participant, helped bring to justice a knifeman who tried to force a woman with a child into a car at a supermarket. He was convicted and sentenced to four years imprisonment.

She also worked with Colchester Institute and knife crime charities to educate around 3,000 secondary school pupils on the dangers of knife crime. Young people not in schools were engaged with at youth clubs and through social media. Two enforcement days using a knife arch – a walk-through metal detector – drove home the message. Nine in ten young people learned something new about knife crime and felt more confident in reporting it.

Sergeant Walker initiated a project with the University of Essex which has led to academic experts using state-of-the-art technology to compare and analyse data on unemployment, deprivation and knife crime.

This is expected to improve understanding of a complex issue and help protect young people in Essex.

Sergeant Walker said: “I am certain that a force that better reflects the community it serves is best placed to bring down anti-social behaviour.

“We want every person we deal with to feel comfortable speaking to us. As an officer who understands the community, you are best placed to solve problems.”

Police Now is aiming to transform communities by recruiting, developing and inspiring diverse leaders in policing.

Officers on Police Now’s programmes are said to develop skills in leadership and problem-solving, and share a commitment to public service, fighting crime and inspiring social change alongside their colleagues.

Police Now has recruited a total of 1,830 officers across 33 forces in the UK, including Essex Police. Chief Constable BJ Harrington has invested in his communities by partnering with Police Now for the past four years, with 87 police constables joining the force via this route.

Police Now consistently recruits more officers who are women or from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds compared to any other entry route into policing.

Of those starting on Police Now’s programmes in Essex in 2020, a quarter (25 per cent) of the Police Now recruits identified as coming from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background and a third (33 per cent) identified as women.

Co-founder of Police Now and former Detective Chief Inspector David Spencer said: “We’re incredibly proud of the positive impact our participants continue to have within their local communities, and their commitment to driving positive change with their colleagues so that everyone in our society, including the most vulnerable, have a chance to thrive”.

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter

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