HC Deb 18 December 2001 vol 377 c281W
Malcolm Bruce

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to her answer to the hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Drew), 27 November 2001,Official Report, columns 859–60W, on the Rural White Paper, what examples of good practice in rural policing the Government recommend should be followed. [20035]

Mr. Denham

[holding answer 3 December 2001]: I have been asked to reply.

The operational deployment of officers is a matter for individual chief officers of police, but we do know that police forces are tackling rural crime in innovative ways. The additional £30 million per year for rural police forces is to assist them in this, to enable them to increase both the visibility of the police in rural communities and the public's access to them.

In addition, we set out our proposals for increasing the police presence in the community, including through development of the extended police in the White Paper "Policing a new century", published on 5 December. We believe these proposals will be of particular importance to rural communities.

Examples of existing good practice include: mobile police stations, established within specific communities, such as a local village, shopping centre or housing estate; establishment of a permanent local 'blue light' police presence—whether by reopening small police stations on a part-time basis, or by sharing accommodation with other emergency services, or community centres, libraries, village halls or schools; the use of rural community beat officers to patrol clusters of villages or neighbourhoods to build strong relationships with the local community; dedicated parish or neighbourhood special constables; and intelligence-led patrols; focusing on local crime hot-spots, to provide a visible presence to deter criminals and troublemakers.