New district police chief Scott Bisset says he is determined to “re-build” visible neighbourhood policing alongside protecting the most vulnerable members of communities.
Chief Superintendent Bisset outlined his priorities for the next year after a month in his new role.
After joining the force as a police constable in Keighley 21 years ago, he moved from head of the programme of change at West Yorkshire Police headquarters to succeed the recently retired Simon Atkin.
Chief Supt Bisset said: “The face of policing is changing and has changed. That is evident when you look at the work we focus on and where we deploy our resources. It is very much about protecting the vulnerable, safeguarding, domestic abuse, CSE and all the headline-grabbers over the last few years.
“It’s not just talk, it is evident in the amount of resources that have gone to those areas, and it’s the right thing to do.
“That has come at a cost, and that cost has been around dedicated neighbourhood policing. That is going to be the real challenge.
“All local communities will tell you that it’s the neighbourhood policing bit that people see, and the challenge for us is to do the best with the resources we’ve got to reassure people that it still exists, to see that we are there in times of need.”
Bradford district’s new commander said that after a period of “extremely minimal” recruitment over the last five years, the force was now taking on and training new officers to serve on the frontline.
“We are looking to rebuild very visible neighbourhood policing, PCSOs and all that goes with it,” he said.
“We are re-investing in the frontline, organisationally that is where the money is going.
“I see the potential to re-build neighbourhood policing, probably different to what it was before, but certainly to strengthen it from where it has been over the past couple of years.
“It will be different, but I want communities to have the confidence that we will act. People do want the police to be visible. I have been out on the streets speaking to people and they will tell you ‘we do like seeing you’.
“I think we have strong community cohesion and communities do work well together. We have really strong relationships with the majority of communities. With our investment in neighbourhood policing we will absolutely do our utmost, but there will be a role for the community as well, local people having the confidence to take on issues with our support.”
Chief Supt Bisset praised the success of Operation Steerside, which has seen more than 6,000 illegal and dangerous motorists snared since it began in February.
“Operation Steerside has been great,” he said.
“Really importantly for me, it has been about getting the public firmly behind it. We have been guilty in the past of doing a lot of good work and not telling people about it.
“It is such a community concern and it’s a really important operation in keeping people safe. We’re not looking to take resources back from that.
“It is very much a community-based operation and what we are seeing is really good information coming in from the public now, and I would encourage more of that. We are really only as good as the relationships we have with our communities.”