As the Northern Ireland Policing Board starts a campaign to appoint 237 independent members to the new Policing and Community Safety Partnerships (PCSPs) across the 26 council areas I urge people in the community to step forward and apply for this unique but important role.
If you have resolved to get more involved in your community this year and do something that can make a tangible difference, then applying to become an independent member of your local PCSP presents a perfect opportunity to do that.
PCSPs are new statutory bodies being established under the Justice Act. Bringing together within a single partnership the functions and responsibilities currently undertaken by District Policing Partnerships (DPPs) and Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs) the PCSPs will be focused on the policing and community safety issues that matter most in each area.
There will be 26 PCSPs - one for each of the council areas in Northern Ireland. Belfast will have one overarching PCSP and four District Policing and Community Safety Partnerships (DPCSPs), one for each of the area commands of Belfast
Over the last 10 years people have played an important part in making policing change happen.
That contribution remains just as important in the future if we are to deliver a safer society. The new PCSPs will build on the work already taken forward by DPPs and CSPs and both the Board and the Department of Justice (DOJ) are working to make sure these partnerships deliver for communities.
Independent PCSP members will have an important role in maintaining public confidence in policing and ensuring that the voices of local people are heard on the issues that matter most.
Working alongside political members (councillors) who will be appointed by the councils, they will also work with the statutory and voluntary sector and people in the area to identify and develop local solutions to policing and community safety issues. Issues like antisocial behaviour, crimes such as burglary and dealing with issues that help ensure the vulnerable feel safer.
PCSPs will be responsible for consulting and engaging with the local community on the issues of concern in relation to policing and community safety.
The Policing Committee will have a responsibility to provide views to the relevant police commander and the Policing Board.
PCSPs will identify and prioritise the particular issues of concern in the local area and prepare plans for how these can be tackled. They will monitor the performance of the police and work to gain the co-operation of the public with the police in preventing crime; and help deliver a reduction in crime and enhance community safety in their area, directly through their own interventions, through the work of their delivery groups or through support for the work of others.
We are looking for people who can represent their community and convey opinion on the policing and community safety issues and concerns affecting their community.
That understanding and experience could be gained through employment or through participation in the community or voluntary sector.
So if you are up for a new challenge and want to help improve the safety of your community find out more about the PCSPs and how to apply to become an independent member from the Board's website at www.nipolicingboard.org.uk/pcsprecruitment; by phone: 028 9040 8566; by email: pcsprecruitment@ nipolicingboard.org.uk; or writing to: PCSP Recruitment, Northern Ireland Policing Board, Waterside Tower, 31 Clarendon Road, Clarendon Dock, Belfast, BT1 3BG.