Cllr Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth’s Labour Leader, went out on patrol with the police team covering his ward on Saturday (21 January).
Earlier this month Cllr Morgan confirmed that crime and safety would be a key priority for him this year after residents and community groups have raised their concerns about local issues in the city.
The night shift started with Sergeant Richard Holland in charge of the police team covering the Charles Dickens beat. This included a briefing on recent initiatives by the police and information on how the safer neighbourhood team engage the community, local groups and businesses.
Then it was out and about on patrol in one of the busiest areas to police in the whole of Hampshire. The team’s patch includes Portsea, Landport, the city council and parts of Fratton, Buckland and Somerstown. With a high student population in the ward, a range of housing estates, Commercial Road shopping area and the night time economy of Guildhall Walk, there is lots for the police to be doing as they are dispersed around the beat.
Cllr Morgan went out in a police car and on foot with a police officer meeting up with the team of PCSOs and other police officers at sites across the beat area. This included home visits, trips along Guildhall Walk and Commercial Road and stopping by to talk with local people.
The night patrol includes visiting vulnerable people in their own home, talking to people who are sleeping rough on our streets, and helping out when there’s incidents in Guildhall Walk.
During the cold night, someone is arrested by the team for being in possession of drugs, a house party told to keep the noise down and someone caught stealing a bike. The police officer also helps report a paint can spillage on the highway.
Cllr Morgan said:
“I was particularly keen to learn more about Operation Build aiming to tackle issues around drug dealing in our city. This initiative is a partnership which concentrates on protecting vulnerable people and addresses from drug-dealers visiting the city and associated violence.
I was impressed with the results being achieved from this approach and was grateful to see officers work on this initiative first hand. The police are tough on offenders as I saw from the arrest tonight”.
Local people have been encouraged by Cllr Morgan to help set policing priorities for the area by filling in an online survey.
The Charles Dickens Safer Neighbourhood Team are currently asking residents to have their say. The survey can be completed by visiting: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/dickenscharles
“It is important everyone has their say on local policing priorities for our area. By doing so, the police can target their resources on the concerns that matter to us”.
After a long night shift finishing back at 2am at the Central Police Station on Winston Churchill Avenue in freezing temperatures, Cllr Morgan was impressed with the police’s work.
“The police do a tremendous job keeping our communities safe, day in, day out. I respect the tough job they do. But they can only do their job with the help and confidence of residents. It was great to see officers interact with members of the public bringing reassurance to local people.
With limited resources they are making a difference in our great city and supporting the most vulnerable. Tonight was a great way to recognise and thank the team for everything they do. I hope to join them out on patrol again soon”.