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Introduce a neighbourhood engagement contract

It is essential that police forces engage effectively with local communities to keep the public safe.

Good engagement helps the Force understand community needs, keep the public better informed about what officers and staff are doing and provides an opportunity to pass on advice about how communities can help prevent crime.

Successful engagement helps maintain the public’s trust and confidence and, in the words of the Chief Constable, ‘it is only with this relationship and knowledge of our communities’ that the Force will be able to deliver a quality service.

Members of the public who would like better engagement from local police officers regularly contact the PCC. This has become especially apparent following the government spending cuts, as well as the increased demand on Dorset Police.

So that a set of consistent standards could be applied across the county, the Chief Constable and PCC agreed to introduce a neighbourhood engagement contract.

The neighbourhood engagement contract outlines 10 minimum standards that the Chief Constable expects of each Neighbourhood Policing Team – these include face-to-face meetings, updating content on the Force website and social media presence.

The teams are required to produce a neighbourhood engagement plan and provide evidence that they are meeting the standards. These plans, and the supporting evidence, are scrutinised by a panel from the OPCC, which assesses the team’s performance against the 10 standards. A community panel is also in place so the teams can understand the views of the people they serve.

Plans have been assessed for the first time this year and the PCC is pleased to note the neighbourhood policing teams have supplied a great deal of compelling evidence in support of the process.

The assessment panel has highlighted improvements that can be made regarding publicising meetings and events more prominently and using the Dorset Alert platform. Examples of best practice have been shared with the Force and senior officers have committed to making these improvements as soon as possible.

To ensure complete transparency, each team has published their completed plant. These will be the subject of ongoing monitoring, development and scrutiny by the OPCC.

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