This week saw the launch of the council’s first set of budget proposals for the next financial year and the plans feature some of our community safety ideas going forward, writes Rob Hill, assistant director for community safety at Peterborough City Council.
Like many local authorities up and down the county, Peterborough City Council faces a number of challenges due to a stark reduction in government funding over recent years.
This of course filters down to our team and means we will face some tough decisions but rest assured however that we will always aim to deliver the best possible services to our residents.
If you haven’t had a chance to read through the budget yet I recommend that you do so and also have your say as part of the budget consultation by taking part in our online survey at www.peterborough.gov.uk/budget, or completing a hard copy public consultation form which are available at the Town Hall and Bayard Place receptions and at all libraries in the city.
I thought I’d use this month’s to column to highlight some of the community safety proposals which are featured in the budget and outline how we plan to move forward.
You’ve probably seen our road safety team and school crossing patrollers out and about and this is a service that we are looking to share with Cambridgeshire County Council.
This will result in management savings and will reduce costs by sharing staff, equipment and expertise.
I want to empathise that should this go ahead, it will not result in a reduction in the number of officers working in communities and on the city’s streets.
Our Parking Enforcement service is currently carried out by highly-skilled Prevention and Enforcement Service officers who do this among other jobs.
Requests for more enforcement in key areas, including outside schools, have increased significantly, so we are going to review the way in which this service is delivered in order to better meet demand.
Our Environmental Enforcement department covers a wide area, including Public Space Protection Orders, littering, fly-tipping, graffiti and abandoned vehicles.
Their role is basically to use the council’s legal powers to keep the city’s streets and public areas clean and safe.
Some functions, like the enforcement of our Public Space Protection Areas, is being carried out on the council’s behalf by a private sector company, Kingdom Environmental Services.
They’ve done this as part of a pilot scheme and so far it’s working well, especially in the city centre, where the work to tackle pavement cycling in Bridge Street continues to make a positive difference.
We now want to take data from this pilot to set up a longer term contract, either with a private enforcement company or through a Local Authority Trading Company, to continue to keep our city clean and safe and ensure that affected by these issues receive a top service.
The additional revenue this would create will be reinvested into other community safety services, reducing the council’s core costs in these areas.
You may be aware that the council is responsible for delivering a public CCTV service to help keep residents and visitors to the city safe.
Many other councils provide a similar service and we are looking to go into partnership with a neighbouring authority.
By creating a single service across authorities we could share management, equipment, premises and other costs without affecting the delivery of the service.
Please take the time to have a look through the budget document and have your say, it is vital that we take as many opinions as possible into consideration before making any decisions.