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Last Updated:  Thursday, 27 February, 2003, 16:11 GMT
Met 'wrong' to remove beat bobbies
Sir John Stevens
The Met is following a US initiative
Police "got it wrong" 10 years ago when bobbies were taken off the beat, according to two of Britain's most senior officers.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens, and his deputy, Ian Blair, said reassuring the public was now "an end in itself" as they announced a radical reshaping of the force.

Sir John said: "I think we distanced ourselves from the public 10 years ago.

"The argument that a uniform does not have an effect is actually not right."

In the next few years the force will increase from 28,000 officers to 35,000 - a move which will help bring the Met "closer to the community".

Special teams made up of at least five police officers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) will be attached to local wards so communities get to know them.

'Sticking plaster service'

Research carried out a decade ago said officers on the beat rarely came across crime and this led to the service being reduced.

The current decision follows New York's 'broken windows' approach which focused on improving neighbourhoods.

Sir John said: "People want to see street patrols, lots of them, real community-based policing where they know their police officers and local needs are addressed."

He went on to say the perception that the police were simply a 999 service capable only of "delivering a sticking plaster service" needed to be shaken off.

By the end of this financial year there will be more than 30,000 officers in London and an additional 1,000 PCSOs.

Sir John added: "I don't want to see communities where people only feel safe behind walls."

Durham asks for 100 more bobbies
21 Feb 03 |  England
'Community cops' on the beat
05 Feb 03 |  England

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