PCC Hardyal Dhindsa and Chief Constable Peter Goodman have unveiled ambitious plans to boost police visibility thanks to a budget designed with significant growth in mind.
The proposed budget for policing and community safety in Derbyshire 2019/20 will be discussed in detail at the PCC’s Strategic Performance Assurance Board on 21 January. However, a report published this week highlights plans to:
Recruit 120 additional officers and staff
Increase police visibility
Improve Road Safety
Provide greater support to vulnerable people, including those in mental health crisis
Enhance investigative policing
In developing this ambitious budget, the Commissioner has worked with the Chief Constable to produce a plan to increase police visibility and focus on areas highlighted to him by the public as a matter of concern.
The growth in workforce numbers will be afforded by the planned increase in Council Tax proposed by the Government and a contribution from reserves. Back in December 2018 the Government made it quite clear that in 2019/20 it expects Police and Crime Commissioners to increase the amount of council tax paid towards policing by £24 for a Band D property in the coming year.
The Commissioner has been calling for additional resources for policing, saying that the situation was putting public safety at risk, since his election in 2016. While disappointed that the financial burden is being placed on local taxpayers instead of a fairer grant from Central Government, he said today that his first responsibility is to protect public safety.
Therefore, he is a proposing a revenue budget for 2019/20 of £181.016M – an increase of £11.846M over last year’s figure of £169.170M.
The budget for policing Derbyshire has seen real term cuts amounting to £40m since 2010 which has resulted in over 400 fewer police officers and a similar reduction in police staff than there were nine years ago.
Hardyal Dhindsa said: “People tell me that they want to see more police officers. This budget will do that. It will allow us to increase our workforce by 120: 58 additional police officers and 62 extra members of staff whose work will help to keep more officers out in communities. It will increase police visibility, it will boost police capacity to focus on areas that recently have suffered from lack of resources caused by imposed austerity measures and it will strengthen our ability to keep people safe.
“The Government clearly accepts that it has cut police funding too much, for too long. Police forces are under immense strain and public safety has to be our first priority. It is disappointing that the Government’s figures are based on local people paying more, but there is little option but to go along with their plans. If we didn’t the public would be less safe, there would be fewer police officers, there would be more victims and less support for vulnerable people.
“But as necessary and appreciated as this increase is, we shouldn’t forget that previous budget cuts mean that we currently have over 400 fewer police officers and nearly 250 fewer police staff than we had in 2010. We still have a long way to go before we get back to the levels that the Chief Constable and I would feel comfortable with. That is why I won’t rest until the Government finally gives Derbyshire the fairer, long-term settlement that it needs.”
Chief Constable Peter Goodman said: “Policing nationally and locally has been an increasing strain for the last 10 years as budgets have diminished significantly, at the same time as levels of demands have increased and threats that we face have diversified and grown.
“Whilst Derbyshire has remained a high performing force throughout this period there is no doubt that cracks have opened and the impact on the health and well-being of officers and staff is being felt.
“Whilst this will not solve all the issues it means we can put 120 people back into front-line policing, which the people of Derbyshire deserve.”
Derbyshire Police Federation Chair, Tony Wetton, praised the plans, saying: “This budget will see some much-needed additional officers strengthening our neighbourhood policing establishment. That’s what people want to see, police officers on the beat in our communities.
“But while this is a welcome boost, it will not make up for the years of austerity measures that have seen police numbers fall to their lowest for 30 years and the loss over 400 officers in Derbyshire alone. Policing in Derbyshire desperately needs a significant increase in funding from central Government and we hope the Comprehensive Spending Review later this year gives policing the priority it deserves.”
Unison Secretary Marie Davey added: “This budget clearly recognises the valuable role that Police Staff play in policing and community safety and we welcome the planned increase in staff numbers. We appreciate that the Police and Crime Commissioner is hugely disappointed that he has been forced to find this extra funding from local taxpayers, but the reality is that the Government has left him with little option if he is to ensure the force has the resources it needs to keep Derbyshire safe.”
The Commissioner’s survey, running since 20 November 2018, shows that the majority of respondents are willing to pay more towards policing. Of 1660 responses 71.3% said they were willing to pay £12 or more.
Additional Officers and Staff
The budget enables an increase in Derbyshire’s police officer establishment of 58 and a further 62 police staff during 2019/20 to boost capacity, particularly in safer neighbourhood teams and roads policing.
42 new posts into the Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNT) with a further eight Officers transferred to SNTs from Response
22 new Detective Staff Investigators who will support neighbourhood safeguarding units and focus on the Police and Crime Commissioner’s priorities of public protection and tackling domestic abuse. This will secure a resilient and vital resource in the Force to help prevent and detect crime.
28 new Police Constables in local policing units in the North and South of the County to rebalance the capacity following cuts to police officer numbers in previous years.
Five new Police Constables in the Countywide Rural Crime Team allowing the Safer Neighbourhood Teams to focus on their local communities and providing a dedicated team to tackle rural crime across the County.
Seven new Police Constables and one new Sergeant for Roads Policing to help address the unacceptable number of road deaths in Derbyshire this year with over 50 people losing their life. This investment will allow the Force to cover times of peak demand and build a more resilient and effective roads policing presence.
Seven new members of staff to develop and support the analytical capability of the Force to provide risk and community-focussed intelligence to enable front-line resources to be targeted at the areas of greatest risk and threat.
Investment in work to prevent crime, including issues such Domestic Abuse, and additional Mental Health support plus one new Sergeant. The aim is to protect the most vulnerable in Derbyshire, working closely with partner organisations, in particular the Fire and Rescue and Ambulance Services.
Investment in new technology including Tasers, Drones and Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) capability to support and protect the front-line to include four new Police Constables and one ANPR member of staff.
A further two temporary criminal justice members of staff to boost the criminal justice capacity.
A copy of the report can be found HERE
Media Enquiries: Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401
Posted on Monday 14th January 2019