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Police support

We all know that Brexit is and will have a significant upon the UK: whether that impact is positive or negative is a matter of huge debate from both sides. One thing that is promised though, is the money we are paying for EU membership will be spent on our services such as the NHS, police, schools etc, writes Paula Mathers, Assistant Director at Coverguard, the SIA approved contractor.

Let’s look at the current situation with policing: we all support our police force – they’re there to support us as individuals in our time of need. They’re there to help security companies and to provide support where we need it. But who is supporting the police? Being based in Milton Keynes, we have a significantly large population; we aren’t a small village, we’re an ever-expanding town which, in 2013 was estimated as being home to 255,700 residents.

This is set to grow to 500,000 over the next 30 years. This actually makes me want to move to the middle of a rural village in Wales where there are no people, just peace and quiet! With this amount of people, you would expect the police force to be booming – surely we need a significant number of police to be able to cope with the demands of a town this large. You would be unpleasantly surprised to see that actually, Milton Keynes has only six police officers on shift at any one time.

Between January and September there were 17,702 recorded crimes in Milton Keynes. Is there any wonder then that small crimes – burglaries where the items are only of low value are not recorded as crimes? You will find that you will be given a call reference number, but not a crime reference number.

As a private security company, we often rely on the police for assistance. Earlier this year Coverguard Security called 999 and asked for police assistance at a burglary in progress – an alarm had activated at one of our key-holding clients and whilst checking the CCTV en route we discovered that our client was being burgled. We were told that the station had been informed and police were on their way to assist. We arrived, dealt with the issue and waited a further two hours. No one came.

Last week we received a call out from one of the monitoring stations for a doctor’s surgery we provide key holding and alarm response services for. Usually, those calls go like this:

“Hi, this is the monitoring station, we have a confirmed intruder activation at X premise, police are en route.”

This time the call went like this:

“Hi, this is the monitoring station, we have a confirmed intruder activation at X premise. We called 999 but no one answered. You’re on your own …”

This client is paying for police response on their alarm system, but the police are so overstretched that this 999 call went unanswered.

Because of the way society is changing, the police are expected to deal with issues caused by mental health problems. They’re having to disregard small crimes because of the lack of support elsewhere. As a result of this, the lack of money within the country to pay for these services and funding being prioritised elsewhere, 999 calls aren’t being answered. Crimes aren’t being recorded as such, and crime rates are on the increase. This is great for the private security industry, as we pick up the slack where the police can’t, but there has to be a point when we all say that enough is enough. Look at your end of year tax report and see where your tax and National Insurance are being spent. Look at what is at the top and where policing and protecting our country fall. Fingers crossed that once Brexit has been finalised and things settle, the membership money we were paying to the EU is diverted to services such as the police force. Maybe then the thin blue line will stop being so thinly stretched. Maybe then we’ll have a thin blue band around our country once again.

Picture by Mark Rowe; central Milton Keynes.


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