This summer, Members of Parliament from across England, Wales and Scotland were invited by their local police forces to give a day to policing during August - last year over 150 MPs took part!
MPs have been involved in a range of activities, from spending time with their neighbourhood policing team, to seeing how day-to-day business is prioritised through daily management meetings, attending response calls and discussing policing challenges with frontline officers.
On Monday 19th August 2019, Ruth Jones, Member of Parliament for Newport West joined officers in the Pillgwenlly area. Mrs Jones spent the morning in the force control room and then joined officers from the East Area Support Unit. The Newport MP discussed the multi-competent role the specialist unit has within the force and in particular their role in policing the roads of Gwent. PCs Dan Fletcher and Joe Williams also took Mrs Jones on foot patrol through Pillgwenlly.
Mrs Jones said; "I spent a brilliant and informative day with Gwent Police where I joined the team in the call centre receiving the 101 and 999 calls, I then spent time learning about the diversity and challenges of road policing, and then out on foot patrol in Pillgwenlly."
Local Inspector for Gwent Police's Newport West area, Jitka Tomkova-Griffiths, said; "Mrs Jones spent part of the day in the control room, then with officers here in Newport. Afterwards I had a really a really good debrief with Ruth and talked about policing Newport West, the challenges and some of the positive results we have had lately. I believe she found the day interesting and insightful and we look forward to future visits."
On Wednesday 21st August 2019 Member of Parliament for Torfaen, Nick Thomas-Symonds, took to the streets with the Cwmbran Neighbourhood Policing Team to experience policing first-hand and take part in the 'Give a Day to Policing' initiative.
The scheme aims to give MPs the opportunity to see aspects of policing during the summer parliamentary recess. Mr Thomas-Symonds was able to spend time with the neighbourhood policing team, see how day-to-day business is prioritised and discuss the policing challenges officers face. Local Inspectors across Gwent sent an invitation to encourage all MPs to take part in the scheme.
Local Inspector for the Torfaen Area, Phil O'Connell met with the Mr Thomas-Symonds before he spent the day with Cwmbran Ward Manager PC Jason Ghalamkary. Inspector O'Connell said; "It is a pleasure to host Mr Thomas-Symonds in Cwmbran today; we both act in the interest of our communities we serve and share many of the same goals and priorities. It is beneficial for MPs to experience policing for themselves and it is vital that we work together."
Mr Thomas-Symonds said; "As member of parliament for Torfaen and as shadow Home Office minister I think that seeing what is actually happening on the front line and hearing from the officers, allows me to make more informed and better contributions to the public debate."
Mr Thomas-Symonds spent the day with PC Ghalamkary. They assisted with a tenancy eviction, patrolled the local town centre discussing anti-social behaviour and ways in which officers work to solve any issues. They also visited the CCTV control room within Cwmbran Shopping.
Talking about the experience, Mr Thomas -Symonds said; "I've seen what officers are doing on the frontline. We've visited the town and seen how CCTV can make a big difference to investigations. We've also looked more generally at issues on the edges of the town centre, whether that's in terms of anti-social behaviour or drug issues; all the things affecting people's lives today.
"What has really helped me today, is seeing not just the challenge that is out there, but the real professionalism and passion of our police officers on the frontline who are doing all they can to tackle those challenges."
Jayne Bryant, Assembly Member for Newport West, joined officers in Pillgwenlly on Tuesday 27th August 2019. Ms Bryant enjoyed the first part of her day talking to officers and staff in Pill Police station, before heading out on patrol in the area to experience policing on the streets. CSO Caroline Doidge an PC Jessica Lloyd took the assembly member around the Pill area, discussing the ways in which officers work to address any issues.
She said; "There’s nothing better than spending time with people who are on the frontline to understand the challenges and progress being made. Really appreciate Inspector Tomkova-Griffiths and Gwent Police officers for taking the time to meet me and inviting me to join them on patrol in Newport."
National Police Chiefs’ Council Chair, Martin Hewitt said: “The relationship between local politicians and the police is vitally important in ensuring that we are able to effectively tackle some of the biggest issues facing our communities. We’re asking MPs to give a day to policing this summer. They’ll spend time with their local force, frontline officers and support staff, seeing the variety of work and challenges they face on a daily basis.
“We hope that this day will help MPs to better understand the challenges we face in tackling complex issues such as violent crime and how important joint working across agencies is to effectively tackle them.
“Thanks to those who have already signed up for this year, and those who gave their time last year. We look forward to welcoming more MPs this year and hearing their experiences of the day.”
Policing Minister Kit Malthouse said: “Recruiting 20,000 more police officers across the country is going to be a huge and critical task. Beyond the numbers it’s also important for MPs to understand what officers, staff and volunteers do on a daily basis.
“The best way to do that is to visit your local force and I would encourage all my parliamentary colleagues to join me in doing so, to really see the challenges faced on the front line.”
Opportunities like this are not just for MPs. Gwent Police operates a "ride-along scheme" that allows the public to experience first-hand what local officers are dealing with on a daily basis. People may be interested in finding out what happens when officers respond to calls, how they proactively patrol areas on the beat or how the Force Communications Suite allocates calls from members of the public. This scheme enables them to join officers and staff and observe their work. For more information about the Gwent Police Ride-Along Scheme visit: https://www.gwent.police.uk/en/about-us/your-right-to-information/stop-search/ride-along-scheme/
See what they have been up to… Police forces and MPs have been sharing their experiences on social media using the #GiveADayToPolicing hashtag.