Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Manx Constabulary to invest in more dedicated neighbourhood policing

Gary Roberts
Image caption Gary Roberts said there are now about 50 fewer police officers in the island than there were in 2008

Dedicated neighbourhood teams will help fix the "cracks" in community policing on the Isle of Man, Chief Constable Gary Roberts has said.

An extra £2.5m of funding for police was recently announced in the budget.

The number of Manx Constabulary officers has fallen from 248 in 2008 to less than 200 currently. Outside Douglas numbers have almost halved.

Mr Roberts said bringing the number back up to about 220 would be "about the right level" for the island.

"As an organisation we've become adept at doing more with less," he said. "But cracks started to appear a little while ago in terms of things like neighbourhood policing.

"How we work with the community, and how visible we are, and how we do very low level stuff that ultimately brings crime prevention to the fore, have had difficulties over years."

'Increase visibility'

Dedicated neighbourhood policing teams will work within the island's towns to identify both potential offenders and victims.

"The benefit of proper community policing is this - officers know the people in the community [and] the people in the community know them," Mr Roberts added.

While the 2018 Isle of Man Social Attitudes Survey showed the majority of people felt the island was a safe place to live, 75% said they "never see police in their local area".

The extra money will "in part increase visibility", Mr Roberts said.

Announcing the extra funding during his budget speech in February, Treasury Minister Alfred Cannan MHK said the money would "help keep our Island safe now and in the future".

A detailed plan for the future of neighbourhood policing will be revealed later this spring.

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