KIM MCGUINNESS: Why I have promised to recruit 60 new detectives
Boosting officer numbers and protecting neighbourhood policing – they were at the top of your wish list when I recently asked you to respond to surveys, online discussions, and by phone, to tell me what good policing looks like to you and your local communities.
So I want to take this opportunity to thank the people of Sunderland who had their say as all your valuable feedback has helped shape my new Police and Crime Plan, committing Northumbria Police to preventing and fighting crime.
Based on your feedback, the plan also includes a commitment to tackling serious and organised crime, and I have made a promise to recruit 60 new detectives as part of this. The plan also outlines a commitment to working with the likes of Sunderland City Council, housing providers and others to build on ASB task forces used during the Covid pandemic; targeted efforts to keep young people out of gangs as part of a Violence Reduction Unit, and a promise to publish upfront regular crime data showing you how their force is responding to your needs. There is a lot to it, and a lot to do, but fighting crime and preventing crime in our region is a big job. Northumbria Police has a responsibility to keep you and your family safe and I know this responsibility is taken very seriously.
It really is a crucial time for policing. We are all learning to live with and recover from a pandemic which has placed immense strain on people including our hardworking police officers, staff and volunteers. It’s vital we don’t stop fighting crime because of Covid and we won’t.
This is a plan setting out what people like you want from the police and it’s now over to the force to deliver on these priorities. Following the recent public consultation on the police precept, the force’s share of local council tax bills, the precept will rise by 4.99%, which equates to 57 pence a month for a Band D property for residents in the North East. This will help ensure the force has the resources it needs, from putting officers on the streets to disrupting serious and organised crime at every level. You have my word - I’ll do everything I can.
The very sad truth, however, is that times of hardship, recession and uncertainty can lead some into crime. For this reason we need to be doing all we can to prevent it from happening and my Violence Reduction Unit will continue playing a key role supporting our police with this work. I’m determined to keep ahead of the game when it comes to preventing crime.
Putting this plan into action will mean recruiting more police officers and supporting youth services to help your neighbourhood and keep our streets safe. You’ve made it clear that building our force back up is what you want to see. After a decade of cuts people want to have a strong police force fit for the future, serving communities and supporting victims well. In recent month’s we’ve already seen Northumbria Police run its biggest ever recruitment drive. From April 2020 to March 2021 the force will take on a record total of 459 new officers – these new recruits will primarily replace retiring officers and increase existing officer numbers as well. On top of this, we are looking to recruit 60 detectives to join the ranks, yet another boost to come for our police force.
So that’s the plan. It’s what we are setting out to achieve and I really believe that by delivering on these priorities, together we are improving lives for local people.
The Police and Crime plan is available at www.northumbria-pcc.gov.uk