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Call for pledge on police dialogue with the public
CONFUSED politicians say they want more assurances about police dialogue with the public – after an apparent U-turn over meetings being scrapped in one area of Worcester.
People attending the PACT (Police and Communities Together) sessions in St John’s last week were told it would be the last forum held in the area.
Now, councillors have written to West Mercia Police’s chief constable David Shaw asking for a pledge that the meetings are not being phased out across the county.
However, force bosses have denied that the PACT sessions in St John’s will be coming to an end.
“We had a meeting last week and were told that it would be the last one – it was the final PACT in the area,” he said.
“I’ve been concerned as it gives us the chance to sit around the table on a regular basis.
“I just hope we get some reassurance over it.”
The meetings provide a chance for police to meet people living in the area, shopkeepers, councillors and other community leaders to share information.
They have been credited with reducing anti-social behaviour, tackling problems before they spiral out of control and being a forum to hold PCs to account.
Coun Peter McDonald, Labour group leader at Worcestershire County Council, said: “These meetings bring the police into the community. Without them, many local residents would not even know who their local bobby is.
“It develops trust and understanding between residents and the police.
“Without PACT meetings the police would have little idea of the problems and troubles being experienced by residents.
“In many cases PACT meetings have nipped in the bud activities that would have led to serious criminal acts.”
The force has clarified the situation, saying “all sessions will continue” and that meetings in St John’s will not be scrapped.
A force spokesman said: “West Mercia Police remain committed to local engagement with the public it serves.
“We continue to listen and respond to the community through a number of different ways, including the long- established PACT forums.
“As we move forward with our new local policing model, together with the police and crime commissioner, we will be looking to build upon our engagement approaches and explore how we can reach out to as many people within our communities as currently possible.”
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