On Tuesday 13th October 2009 police and the council in Kingstanding will get together with residents in Kingstanding to see how they can improve on what is called “Neighbourhood Tasking”. It is how they are contributing to Local Democracy Week.
That may sound like a turn off – a tasking group!
In truth it is little more complicated than sitting down with the police and working out what are the most important things they should be doing where you live.
Neighbourhood Tasking happens in all parts of Birmingham and comes in different forms.
Most common is a routine meeting of residents, local politicians and council officers. In Moseley one of the ways police use to invite you to the meeting is this Facebook page. More examples would be the dates for meetings in Lozells or the Birmingham City Centre Neighbourhood Forum encouraging involvement by saying
These Neighbourhood Tasking Meetings are a great way to get to know your local officers and let them know about any concerns, or thank them for particularly good work.
Please go to the Central Birmingham Police Broad Street and Entertainment Area web pages to learn more, including feedback from past meetings and current policing priorities for each area.
Others do it a little differently.
Last year the tasking group in Perry Barr walked a local park together. See this blog post for pictures and more details.
Yesterday a committee called the Perry Barr neighbourhood tasking group took a walk-about in Turnberry Park accompanied by Jon and Ray. The group brings together the police, councillors, council officers from various departments and community representatives. We also had with us some of the youth workers who operate from the Trehurst Centre and Pete Short the local parks manager. So, as you can see, it was quite a large group.
Tasking groups offer the chance to talk about really practical details. Vale Mail reported this exchange from one on Castle Vale:
The mobile phone carried by Vale’s local beat bobby to allow residents to get in touch with the police more easily is no longer in action, Sergeant Sarah Tambling told the Castle Vale Neighbourhood Tasking Group yesterday. She told the Tasking Group that people had been abusing the system of calling police via the mobile phone, and that it was unlikely to be returned to use. She was replying to concerns that the local mobile phone was never switched on, and that messages were not returned.
Bournville Vilage blog reported on one recent meetings which followed gun shots being fired in the neighbourhood:
About 40 residents were in attendance, many of whom came form the Woodlands Park Road area to ask the local authority about the recent crime.
If you want to find out how to get involved in your the “tasking” group in your neighbourhood a good place to start is the West Midlands Police website – which allows you to search for you neighbourhood police through this page.