No obligation for police officers to attend meetings, but town council feel attendance would 'build communications' with community
The neighbourhood police team for Yateley has failed to turn up for a single full town council meeting during the past year.
Councillors at Yateley Town Council want to see a representative from the force return to the council’s monthly meeting to ‘build communications’ with the community.
However, town clerk Lawrence Smith informed his colleagues during a full Yateley Town Council meeting on October 14 that it had, in fact, been 12 months since a member of the police team had attended.
The police team has no obligation to attend such meetings but councillors believe their presence is important to help build links with residents.
Adrian Collett, town councillor and a former member of the Hampshire Police Authority, said he hoped to see officers at future meetings but understood there were constraints.
Cllr Collett, who is also a district and county councillor, told members: “It is disappointing they have not been to one in a year.
“The neighbourhood team can inform us what has been going on in the area and members of the council can ask them questions about issues and build a liaison.
“The police team can build communications between the local council and between the community.”
Cllr Collett understood that there had been a number of recent staff changes for Yateley’s safer neighbourhood team including PS Hannah Luchesa, who joined the team last October.
“During my days on the police authority, even though we were saving money, we would not cut the frontline. This included everybody on the safer neighbourhood teams,” Cllr Collett added.
“Obviously officers get sick and people go on leave but I do not think it could be budget cuts. I think it is more to do with various priorities.”
Cllr Andy Whitaker, former chairman of Yateley Town Council, said the safer neighbourhood team did, however, regularly turn up for meetings of the town’s police and liaison group.
He said: “It is not like they are not coming at all. They are coming to liaison meetings.
“Perhaps we should set up a committee at the liaison group so we can address and feed back police matters.”
The safer neighbourhood team used to present monthly reports to councillors and members of the public during meetings of full council.
The Hampshire police force is committed to reducing crime and antisocial behaviour, working with partners through community safety partnership activity and engagement with residents through the safer neighbourhoods team.
The team holds a monthly beat surgery where members of the public are invited to go along to discuss any community concerns.
Inspector Chris White, who is responsible for policing within the Hart area, said: “Communication and sharing of information with our partners, including parish councils, is important to us as part of the fight against crime and antisocial behaviour.
“We will endeavour to attend council meetings whenever possible but we do also maintain regular contact with members outside of these meetings.”