POLICE chief Olivia Pinkney has asked the ‘great city of Portsmouth’ to help her tackle extremism.
Hampshire police’s new chief constable said fighting extremism ‘will be at the heart’ of her discussions with Portsmouth’s most senior police officer, Supt Will Schofield.
Extremist issues in Portsmouth range from young Muslim men becoming radicalised and heading to Syria to take part in the civil war, to incidents such as far-right sympathisers placing a severed pig’s head on the gates of the Islamic Madani Academy in Lake Road – something Mrs Pinkney described as ‘horrible’.
Speaking to The News about extremism she said: ‘Supt Schofield and I will be talking about a number of things and that will be at the heart of things. It’s concerning and I’m of course aware of what happened with those specific horrible incidents in Portsmouth.’
She added police have a role to both prevent and investigate offending.
Mrs Pinkey added: ‘Us having really great and trusted relationships with all communities in Portsmouth matters, and we have a commitment to local policing, neighbourhood policing.
‘I expect us to have great relationships that we continually work at so people trust us and get ahead of problems to help that great city live peacefully.’
Mrs Pinkney was speaking to The News after she welcomed new recruits at Netley Training Headquarters.
And she vowed there will always be places in Portsmouth for the public to meet with police face-to-face as she said city neighbourhood police moving into the civic offices was the best use of cash. It comes following an outpouring of concern from residents in the city as to where a new police hub will be built.
Police and crime commissioner Simon Hayes has since decided to build it in the city. Fratton and Portsmouth Central stations will close when the police investigation centre is constructed.
Mrs Pinkney said: ‘It’s important the public can have somewhere they can go, that might be in the middle of Portsmouth – a shared premises – that’s absolutely fine. That’s the best use of public money. There will always be places where the public can go to the police if they really want to go in person.
‘What we need to do is be available in other ways as well, that has to be online, needs to be on the phone, however people want to access, it’s making sure we’ve got all that offer lined up.’
Mrs Pinkney said Hampshire is a ‘high-performing’ force and praised the officers and staff.
She said they must balance their work of preventing offending and enforcement as the demand on police changes.
‘We all deserve to live in a society that is free and communities that are safe, anyone who preys on others who abuses that vulnerability of others, who creates harm, that is behaviour that is not acceptable within our communities and something that the constabulary takes very seriously,’ she said.
‘Our job is to protect the vulnerable, our job is to stop offending, and to thereby protect communities.’