Page last updated at 08:02 GMT, Sunday, 9 August 2009 09:02 UK

People given web policing choices

North Wales Police Authority Policy Officer Rhian Rees Roberts and Ian Davies, the Force’s Citizen Focus Programme Manager
The scheme can be accessed from the force break-out website

People in north Wales are being given an interactive way of saying how they want their community policed.

The Balance your Bobbies scheme will allow people to choose which issues, like anti social behaviour and car crime, they want efforts focused on.

The scheme, the first of its kind in the UK, is the joint idea of North Wales Police and the police authority.

It was unveiled at the National Eisteddfod in Bala, Gwynedd and is expected to go live in the autumn.

Residents will be able to sign up for the online scheme via the force's website, Y Glas, which will also be able to be accessed from both the North Wales Police and the North Wales Police Authority websites.

But nobody will be able to allocate more than 100% of the available resources and the system will reject attempts to do so.

This is a UK first and, we believe, a revolutionary idea
Rhian Roberts, North Wales Police Authority

Ian Davies, the force's citizen focus programme manager, said: "It's a brand new way of the public being able to engage with North Wales Police and help us balance the resources of police in their area.

"It invites people to input the postcode of their home and it uses that to effectively allow them one vote a month.

"At the end of the month, the local inspector will get a report revealing how many people voted, what the local average is and how statistically significant it is.

"There is a finite amount of resource available in every area and we're very interested in the opinions of the local community as to how they think that should be distributed.

"Priorities could vary from community to community and specific problems could rear their head at different times.

Engage with people

"The priorities could be anything from graffiti, alcohol related antisocial behaviour, to speeding drivers, and may include higher profile crimes such as drug dealing or violence."

Rhian Rees Roberts, a policy officer with the police authority, said: "This is a UK first and, we believe, a revolutionary idea."

She said an annual policing plan and a three-year strategic plan is drafted jointly with the force.

"In order to do that we need to be aware what local people believe that the policing priorities should be and the Balance your Bobbies scheme is a further opportunity to engage with local people," she added.

"We already hold public meetings and conduct regular opinion surveys but this is an additional interactive way of consulting local people.

"It's far easier to try and interact with people in their own homes and we're aware that a very high majority now in north Wales use the internet daily and therefore we believe that we should be consulting the people interactively."

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