Sir George Young spent six hours with Andover police, seeing how they patrol the town and the surrounding villages on a hot summer’s evening.
“I was most impressed by their detailed local knowledge of the town – in particular the “hot spots” where trouble might occur.”
While Sir George was with the police, there was a reported armed robbery from an Off Licence in Andover. “There was a quick mobilization and deployment to track down the suspect and follow up the clues. Again, the detailed knowledge of the paths and underpasses from the Town Centre to the outlying areas of the town was very impressive.”
Sir George also accompanied one of the quick response cars to a suspected landmine uncovered on a building site. “It turned out to be a false alarm – but I am glad the police proved this and not me!.”
Sir George discussed some of the problems that confronted the police in Hampshire. “One of those I spoke to was thinking of pulling out of the police pension scheme, because it was difficult to make ends meet. Housing costs in Hampshire put enormous pressure on the Budget. One or two were thinking of moving to other parts of the country were housing costs are lower.”
“The police I was with were very courteous to the public, defusing difficult situations – giving advice and warnings where appropriate. It was interesting to see what they were looking out for as they drove around – people not wearing seatbelts, people they wanted to interview or arrest, gates that were open when they ought to be closed.”
Sir George will pursue with the Home Secretary the question of housing allowances; and he is also concerned at the mounting volume of paperwork the police have to deal with.