A SENIOR police chief has committed Cheshire Constabulary to meeting a National Policing Pledge which aims to make the service more responsive to the community it serves.

Deputy chief constable Graeme Gerrard made his comments following the unveiling of the pledge which outlines 10 minimum standards by which all forces have agreed to work.

The pledge includes a police commitment to setting priorities with local communities and updating them on progress at least once a month.

It also requires officers to respond to calls concerning agreed priorities within an hour and neighbourhood policing teams to spend at least 80% of their time “visibly” working for the community.

Mr Gerrard says Cheshire Police Authority had already invested a lot of money in community policing with an emphasis on local beat officers, which fits in with the latest initiative.

He said: “We believe that our commitment to neighbourhood policing and the direction we have adopted for the delivery of local policing services is in line with the standards laid out by the Government’s Policing Pledge.

“We have altered the way we deliver policing services providing neighbourhood policing units to tailor local policing services to the needs of our communities.

“During the last year we have made significant changes to the way in which we keep people informed. We have introduced service desks with dedicated staff whose primary role is to contact and update victims concerning their reported crime and to keep in contact with them at regular intervals throughout the course of any investigation.”

He said members of the public can now log on to the force website at www.cheshire.police.uk to access maps that provide localised information concerning crime, together with explanations and guidance from local policing teams on how to interpret the data.

Mr Gerrard added: “The publication of the Policing Pledge is an indication that the Government is adopting a common sense approach to policing which we here in Cheshire welcome.

“This approach signals a move away from the emphasis on targets that were not always appropriate, allowing us to concentrate on delivering a service where officers use their discretion to deliver the best possible outcome for victims. It will also allow us to take into account the wider needs of the community when dealing with issues such as anti-social behaviour.”