Neighbourhood policing in the Lower Valley is being given the biggest shake-up in over half a decade to make communities safer.
Seventeen new Neighbourhood Policing Teams (NPTs) have been created in Calderdale, replacing the previous four – Lower Valley, Upper Valley, Halifax North and East, and Halifax Central.
For the Lower Valley – now coming under the “clusters” of Valley North East and Valley South East – there will be NPTs in the Brighouse, Hipperholme and Lightcliffe, Northowram and Shelf, Rastrick and Elland wards.
Valley North East and Valley South East will be led by Inspector David Shaw, along with the former Upper Valley clusters (now Valley West, Valley North and Valley South).
Insp Shaw said the changes would make individual officers more accountable.
“I’m more than happy with the new structure,” he said.
“For the individual wards there’s more accountability for the officers than ever before.
“I think it’s better that we have gone back to that local familiar face in the area. It’s like the old community beat officers.”
The new structure, which has now come into force, is said to “protect front line officers”.
Each cluster will be overseen by a named sergeant, who will engage with residents. Every NPT, which will work closely with partner organisations including Calderdale Council and Pennine Housing, will have one named police officer and at least one named PCSO.
The NPTs will share a building (or co-locate) with partner organisations.
Starting in June, Valley North East will be based at Brighouse Police Station and share with police, Pennine Housing - who will address localised issues - and Calderdale Council’s neighbourhood co-ordinator and warden.
Valley South East, based in the ASB Office in Elland, will co-locate with police, Pennine Housing and Calderdale Council’s neighbourhood co-ordinator and warden.
Insp Shaw said: “I took this job on 12 months ago and one of the things that was stressed to me was how good the partners are.
“I think this is about enhancing services we already deliver.
“My local message is the valley is a nice area to live and by my teams working with the partners we make it an even better place to live.”
Calderdale District Commander, Chief Superintendant Angela Williams, said she was delighted with the new structure and said the force was looking to invest in Brighouse Police Station to “get it up to scratch”.
“It’s going to be about being more local,” she said.
“It’s more locally-based really. The number of PCs and PCSOs are remaining the same, even though we’re reducing the sergeants by three and the inspectors by two.
“We’re saving the officers on the ground. And we’re not shutting any police stations.”
West Yorkshire Chief Constable Mark Gilmore said the new ward-based partnership areas would “build on the existing relationships the NPTs already have with partners to help deal with the unique demands of their local communities”.
“This further development of neighbourhood policing is part of the ongoing, major transformation of West Yorkshire Police to ensure we are best placed to meet the future needs of our communities,” he said.
West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson said: “Neighbourhood Policing Teams continue to be the bedrock of policing in our communities and, together with the Chief Constable, I have made sure that the numbers of bobbies on the beat remain the same and I have also protected the PCSO numbers with partners across West Yorkshire for the next two years.”