The Crime Prevention Website

I was at the annual Xmas lunch with some of my old crime prevention colleagues from Camden Police yesterday, reminiscing about the good old days as you do.  Amongst our number was a female police officer who, according to those present, was probably the very last Crime Prevention Officer (CPO) to work in the Metropolitan Police (first established in 1964).  I say “was”, because today was her last day and now she’s a police pensioner.

Those of you who have been involved in Neighbourhood Watch for a long time will remember the talks given by the CPO, the home security surveys that they carried out and the many initiatives they would have set up, such as subsidised lock fitting for the elderly (Beesafe), alleyway gating schemes and security improvements to your block of flats.  In recent years they would have been problem solving and would have worked tirelessly with partners in the council and sometimes business to deliver solutions to all sorts of problems such as anti-social behaviour, burglary and personal security.  The list of projects they would have been working on was simply endless.

Internally, the CPO would often be consulted about long term crime problems to help out the ‘uniform’. Detectives would regularly pop their head around the CPO’s office door and ask them to visit a victim of crime in the full knowledge that the person would not only get a sympathetic hearing, but would get some positive help too. That’s what the CPO was.  The CPO was the ‘victim support’ of the police, the caring ‘service’ of the police ‘force’ and often the person who was last resort.

Well, it seems that the Borough post of CPO in the Met has finally ‘gawn’ and gone without anybody outside the police really noticing, which is a bit sad. The CPO’s duties have, of course, been passed onto the Safer Neighbourhood Teams, along with just about everything else!

So when you’ve been the victim of a burglary and the Police Community Support Officer turns up to ask you how you are and tries to offer you some crime prevention advice, do understand that they are probably not expert and they’re not the well trained and experienced CPO.  But they will be trying their very best to help you in your need.

The demise of the CPO role in the Met ain’t just about budgets; it’s about a change in policing philosophy towards one of enforcement and apprehension of offenders when crime has been committed.  And with massively reducing budgets that’s about as much as the Met can do. 

Crime prevention is down to you.

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For a potted history of Crime Prevention in the police please follow this link:

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