FOUR deputy inspector generals from the Indian police force visited Brighouse to see first hand British policing methods.
The officers were particularly interested to see how the Lower Valley Neighbourhood Policing Team engaged with residents, councillors and other partner agencies such as the fire service, Calderdale Council and Pennine Housing.
They spoke to each of the parties during a visit to Bailiff Bridge Community Centre.
Inspector Mohammed Nawaz, who heads the team, said it had been a very interactive session. “They are surprised with how we engage with our communities and deal with issues like anti-social behaviour. It has given them a chance to view how seriously we deal with what impacts on our communities.”
Abhinav Kumar, one of the officers who visited the centre, said he liked how well local policing was intregated with the other agencies and with the community. “It has defintely been a learning experience for us and we will probably go back and introduce a better structure with the community along the lines of the police here. I think the fact that the residents and local councillors had a very positive view of how they were engaging with the police there is lessons to be learnt.
“Anti-social behaviour is the biggest concern of the community. I feel that perhaps that expectation of the local community via the police is perhaps too high and might be a bit unrealistic. There is a lot to do with stuff the police really can’t control such as the availability of alcohol and social acceptance about drinking. If families and other agencies are not going to take a leadership role in that area it is difficult to control anti-social behaviour.”
Mr Kumar was told that it was important to work as a unit to combat crime and that the media also played a strong role in getting the message across. He asked about the recent London riots and how young people appeared to have a negative experience of the police and see them as hate figures.
They spoke about the youth forums including all the high schools and the partners and communities together meeting.
Mr Kumar told residents: “A lot of your crime and anti-social behaviour appears to be tied to drinking abuse of alcohol.”
He said that in India there were regulations about drinking which meant it was frowned upon and that off-licences were told to close at 9pm. “Maybe communities should demand some restrictions on the sale of alcohol.”
He added that the main problem in India is the public harrassment of women who have decided to go out to work. He explained how the area was split into two parts, the more conservative areas who felt women shouldn’t work and modernised areas who are more acceptable to change.