Great news. It seems that new Met Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson has come round to the idea that the police should patrol on their own more often. Quite right too. I welcomed Sir Paul’s appointment at the end of January this year and at the time I called for more single-handed patrolling, see previous posting.
This morning on the Today programme the Police Federation spokesman Peter Smyth was typically wary. He should not be. The public have to walk alone so the idea that trained coppers wearing stab-proof vest, carrying pepper spray and telescopic batons with a radio to call for back-up can’t walk alone is simply unsupportable.
I raised this issue with Boris Johnson when I met him at the House of Commons at the start of his mayoral campaign.
It seems to me that two policemen patrolling together will spend most of their time chatting and miss a lot. Anyone who has travelled on their own will tell you that you meet loads more people on your own than you do as a couple. Two policemen, one each side of a busy road, will provide two sets of eyes and many more positive interactions with the public than two on the same side of the road. It is not hard. Next time you see a couple of coppers walking down the road why don’t you suggest they each walk down one side?