THE CHIEF Inspector now managing neighbourhood policing in East Hampshire says reassuringly the area is “a really safe and beautiful place.”
Chief Inspector (CI) Clare Jenkins took over from CI Beth Pirie in September, and says in her first six months in the job she has gained a real insight to crime and disorder issues in the district.
CI Jenkins, whose previous role was running the Gosport Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “Our policing district covers that same area as East Hampshire District Council, and is in the main is rural.
“Rural crime is new challenge for me, and I have been out meeting people who live and work rurally, which has been interesting and informative.
“As well as meeting individual people, we are looking to organise bigger meetings.
“There has been one so far attended by about 40 people, including landowners, and representatives of organisations such as the National Farmers Union.
“One of the things the team is focusing on is machinery theft, either farming machinery or builders plant, such as diggers.
“They are very expensive to replace, and their loss prevents people from getting on with their work, which is an added cost.
“We are also working hard with people at places like Queen Elizabeth Country Park about preventing theft from vehicles at rural beauty spots.”
In the Petersfield area, or Butser Division, there is a dozen strong team of Police officers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSO’s), led Sergeant Phil Shore.
CI Jenkins said: “They deal with everything, from antisocial behaviour and domestic violence through to more serious crimes where they are often the first on the scene as the 999 response teams are based in Alton and Waterlooville.
“Although they can get here very quickly, in most cases the first officers there are from the local neighbourhood team.”
And the three PCSO’s funded by East Hampshire District Council add an extra dimension to the team, says CI Jenkins, who has worked her way up from Constable to CI during her two decades plus with Hampshire Police.
She added: “They link with local councillers and attend monthly local council meetings, and then respond to issues raised at those meetings.
“In some respects they are virtually directly tasked by the public to do what the wants administered by EHDC.
“And I would like to reassure residents this is a very safe and beautiful place to live and work with a very low rate of crime."
She will also oversee the team’s imminent move into it’s new base in the EHDC office building at Penns Place.
Officers have been temporarily working out of Waterlooville Police Station after Petersfield police station in St Peter’s Road was sold last September.