As I say, I was not there. But I have been around Thames Valley Police for a very long time and did my first bit of work with them back at the end of the 80's. I have watched what has happened and been a part of its various developments too. I also know Peter Neyroud, the former Chief Constable of Thames Valley, very well. As many people will know, Peter is backing Tim Starkey to become PCC.
Peter is a man of huge integrity and long experience in policing matters. He emailed me this afternoon with these words:
FACT: I introduced Neighbourhood Policing into Thames Valley, with the full support of the Police Authority. Mr Stansfield was never a member of the Police Authority when I was Chief.
FACT: I was one of the original Chief Constables - including Dennis O'Connor, Matt Baggott and Paul Stephenson (then in Lancs) - who agreed to run the National Reassurance pilot. I ran it in Burghfield and Greenham in Newbury to test rural and county town environments. The pilots were evaluated by Rachel Tuffin and her team and the programme led directly to bid in the CSR in 2005 for neighbourhood policing teams
FACT: Neighbourhood policing was supported and funded by a LABOUR government, with very strong personal support from David Blunkett and Tony Blair. I was personally present at many of the meetings at which decisions were taken.
FACT: the Tories ran a consistent knocking campaign against Neighbourhood Policing until it became clear that NP and the PCSO's, who were introduced to support them, was a winning idea with voters...
FACT: As the CEO of National Policing Improvement Agency, under a Labour Government, I oversaw the programme to ensure that NP was introduced in every ward in the country.
FACT: the greatest threat to the sustainability of the NP approach is the Tory funding cuts beyond the 12% that Labour - supported by the HMIC and relying on figures that I developed in NPIA - argued was sustainable.
(You can read a good report on the whole Finchampstead event by Matthew Dent here.)