POLICING in Wigan is undergoing a major overhaul in a bid to catch more crooks and speed up the wheels of justice.
As of this week officers are changing the way they work across the borough to provide a more localised service to the community.
This involves 37 officers being taken from other duties to join existing neighbourhood policing teams to help investigate crimes.
The change forms part of Greater Manchester Police’s new policing model, which will enable dedicated teams to respond more quickly to emergencies and spend more time patrolling the streets. The force says it will also free up more officers to deal with problems at a community level.
To accelerate the process of bringing offenders to justice, individual crimes will be dealt with by teams rather than just one officer, and a new customer service desk has been set up to give victims regular updates on the progress of their case.
Chief Supt Shaun Donnellan, Wigan’s divisional commander, said: “The new policing model has already delivered impressive results in other parts of Greater Manchester, and I am confident it will do the same in Wigan.
“Although we are not getting extra police officers, more of our current officers will now be working to find long-term solutions to neighbourhood issues, and that can only be a good thing for communities.”
Coun Kevin Anderson, Wigan Council’s champion for safer neighbourhoods, added: “This new way of working will allow officers to police communities even more effectively.
“Wigan Council will continue to work very closely with the police at a neighbourhood level to ensure that this more localised approach is successful throughout the borough.”
The neighbourhood teams are being bolstered by uniformed rather than CID officers who have been taken from a variety of different roles.
For example, some formerly worked as evidence review officers and others were members of the public service team.
Asked how the changes might improve crime prevention and detection, Mr Donnellan gave the following examples:
l The way that crime is investigated will improve by adopting a more co-ordinated/joined up approach to the way intelligence is gathered and handled/used;
l Crimes will now be dealt with by teams rather than just one officer, thereby reducing the amount of time it takes to bring people to justice;
l The introduction of a dedicated customer service desk will allow officers to provide more frequent updates to victims about their case;
l The introduction of prisoner processing units will allow front-line officers to return to operational duty much quicker after bringing offenders into the station;
l One of the main aims of the new policing model is to deal with today’s business today wherever possible, and to cut down on any delays in our service to the public.