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Please may I call upon you, as my local Member of Parliament, to lobby the Home Secretary in support of Derbyshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa’s plea for a fairer funding settlement for Derbyshire Constabulary.
These are extremely challenging times for modern policing and while appreciating that today’s criminality is increasingly committed on-line, this does not detract from the need for a robust neighbourhood policing model, something I believe to be under threat without appropriate funding.
The current neighbourhood policing model gives the public confidence that there is someone ‘on-the-ground’ in the communities where deeply concerning criminality such as domestic abuse, human trafficking, modern day slavery, extremism, FGM and forced marriage, is more likely to fester. It is clear that the model is already under threat.
Crime is changing, not reducing. We need confidence that our local force has the capacity to continue to tackle serious violence, acquisitive and drug related crime and the ever-present scourge of anti-social behaviour. And, of course, there is the need to appropriately react to incidents of missing persons, to protect vulnerable people, to tackle hate crime. The list is long and it all takes people. A computer is not a substitute.
The local population has risen by 25% in the last decade while police officer numbers have fallen by 378 since 2010/11. Similarly, the number of PCSOs has reduced by 18 (to just 165). These facts speak for themselves. In a world where terrorism is a constant threat they do not inspire trust, reassurance or confidence.
Derbyshire has an enviable reputation as a safe county, with a high-performing police force. We live in a climate of rising costs and reducing numbers on top of £37m efficiency savings, making that comforting position likely to become a nostalgic memory.
I trust that you will argue the case for an increased slice of the national funding pot on behalf of the people whom you represent, the people who seek community safety, law and order.