The Prime Minister and Home Secretary met with Chief Constables at Downing Street today to mark a "new era" of neighbourhood-based policing, established in response to the public's call for a service that is visible, accountable and responds to their needs.I mention this because on Monday I got in the car with the other half and we drive along our road, there was a group of about ten teenagers - school holidays and all - one of the girls was in a fight with another girl. Her head was being held whilst the other girl repeatedly knee'd her in the head.
The meeting marked the first anniversary of Neighbourhood Policing Teams being rolled out to every city, town and village in the country. Dedicated Neighbourhood Policing teams, of which there are now 3,600, continue to make a real difference to communities up and down the country.
Initially I thought, she's do well in the Police force, and then I thought, actually this is a bit much. As we turned around in nearby road - because we needed to go back up the street - the girl being knee'd in the head was nearly run over by us and she desperately tried to get away, then the kicking started again.
I told the other stuff to stop as, and this is where it gets good, Leighton Buzzard Police station was within walking up the road. I decided, rather than confront a marauding gang of feral youth who were clearly up for a fight - I'm not totally mental - I would go up tot he Police station and get them involved.
I went to the Police Station and there was a big sign on the door saying "Closed". Another person was talking on the intercom explaining he was on bail and had to check in with a police officer. They told him there was no officer there and he would have to go 8 miles down the road to Dunstable.
So, in response to that press release praising the policing utopia in which live I say this. Neighbourhood policing my arse!