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Police Patrolling

Volume 504: debated on Wednesday 27 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what his policy is on single patrols; and if he will make a statement; (312924)

(2) whether he has made a recent assessment of the level of risk to the safety of police officers of undertaking single patrols; and if he will make a statement.

In the Home Office’s recent policing White Paper, “Protecting the Public: Supporting the Police to Succeed”, we reiterate our support for police forces to develop patrolling strategies which maximise visibility and public engagement, and which increase efficient and effective deployment.

The advantages of single patrols go well beyond increased cost-effectiveness. Research has demonstrated the effectiveness of single patrols at engaging communities, particularly at the level of neighbourhood foot patrol.

Greater community engagement and increased visibility are both crucial to increasing public confidence in the police. Figures released from the British Crime Survey on 21 January 2010 showed a 4 per cent. year-on-year increase in public confidence in the police and partners working together to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour (in the 12 months to September 2009).

The decision to employ single patrols is an operational policing issue, made by the police force in question.