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Community policing has become a key element of the policing model in England and Wales. Labour rolled out a neighbourhood policing model throughout England and Wales, involving small teams of uniformed officers, police civilians and volunteers working with local communities.

The Coalition Government made sweeping reforms, most notably through the introduction of directly elected Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs).

Ring-fenced funding (including for PCSOs) was abolished within the first two years of the Coalition Government. According to the National Audit Office (NAO), Central Government funding to police forces reduced by 25% in real terms between 2010/11 and 2015/16. Budget cuts varied between forces due to additional revenue from local taxation (the ‘police precept’), averaging at 18% reductions across England and Wales.

Whilst continuing to support the principle of neighbourhood policing, Government ministers have argued that deployment of the workforce to meet local need is a matter for Chief Constables and PCCs.

In its 2017 annual review of police effectiveness, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC)[1] noted that all forces allocate at least some resources to crime prevention through neighbourhood or local policing teams, and that in some the investment is considerable. However HMIC did raise concerns that neighbourhood police officers are being diverted too frequently to other policing duties, at the cost of their work within local communities.

[1]     HMIC has since been renamed Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services

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