Paul Winter guest column: Nottinghamshire Police are doing a good job

Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping visits Sutton in Ashfield.  Pictured centre with PC Phil Broughton and PCSO Chris Smith.
Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping visits Sutton in Ashfield. Pictured centre with PC Phil Broughton and PCSO Chris Smith.

Recently we recovered a haul of shotgun equipment which had been stolen and, after a media appeal, using our Facebook and Twitter accounts, the rightful owner was found.

The 32-year-old victim’s friend in Bradford saw our appeal and recognised the equipment’s distinctive bag – alerting the owner to get in touch with us.

As a result we were not only able to reunite him with his equipment but his testimony helped us to lock up a prolific offender.

What was interesting was that in his thankyou to us, the victim told us that the experience had changed his perception of the police for the better.

Our satisfaction figures for officers working from Mansfield and Ashfield show that 93 per cent of victims were either satisfied or completely satisfied with the way the officer dealt with them.

Like most forces, we have responded to Government cuts by getting on with it, despite the difficult times we face.

People can have confidence in the police so we have to ask the question as to why do negative things seem to be easier to share with others and overtake the headlines?

I’d say that most of the positive feedback we get is sent in to us via personal messages which we thoroughly appreciate.

We publish these on our websites and via social media. The flip side of this, particularly in the age of social media, is that negativity towards the police whether that’s through a personal experience or a generally held opinion by someone, seems easier to publish or talk about.

‘Police do good job’ doesn’t seem to sell on the news agenda but the fact is that predominantly, we are doing a good job – not just Nottinghamshire but Forces up and down the country. But how do you get that broadcasted or reported?

Every day police officers, PCSOs and staff do fantastic work, not just catching criminals but finding missing people and safeguarding children and the vulnerable. All this work goes unreported – perhaps because it is what everyone expects of a professional police service. Therefore, the exceptions – where we occasionally make mistakes - are the newsworthy items.

We try to publicise that good work wherever we can but human nature and the news agenda means that people will tell 100 others when something isn’t right but not so many when it’s good.

There are things now that go under the radar because we do it so well. For example, the policing of football matches seldom gets reported because it’s done very effectively whereas 20-years-ago it was an issue.

In other areas, we have seen increased reporting of things like domestic abuse. I know that sometimes people think police spin these figures to suit an agenda but I can say that it can genuinely be seen as a positive when these figures go up because it tells us that we are succeeding in prosecutions, which gives people the confidence to come forward.

Policing has shown consistently that it can learn, develop, respond to changing communities and different political, social and economic agendas. I think this is something we and the public can be proud of. We know we don’t always do everything right but we get vast majority of things right. When we don’t we will admit that we’ve got it wrong and do everything we can to learn from our mistakes.