Hard budget choice

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Nobody wants to experience anti-social behaviour - whether in Mansfield and Ashfield’s towns or outlying villages.

What we do want is more visible and accessible policing to prevent and reduce it – and that is what I have determined to achieve.

Our neighbourhood police are often the officers on the frontline when it comes to tackling anti-social behaviour.

Their strength lies in being part of your community, knowing your locality well and knowing the people who live there.

But they also need the reassuringly visible strength that comes with numbers.

Wherever I go, whatever locality I am in, people tell me that they want to see more bobbies on the beat, and to have a police force they can trust to be available when needed.

That is why, despite the tough economic times we live in, I am doing all I can to carry on increasing our uniformed presence on the streets.

The work of our neighbourhood police is, of course, far from limited to dealing with anti-social behaviour, but they know that it remains a high priority among residents.

My aim is to reduce this cause of nuisance and distress by 50 per cent.

This includes working with our partners to prevent alcohol misuse and its effects on, for example, the night-time economy and the legitimate enjoyment of law-abiding people.

Already we have more bobbies on our streets and there will be more to come.

By being canny with our budgets our force has been able to start my promised recruitment of 150 officers and 100 PCSOs.

Many of them are now in place, and have been joined by as many cadets, volunteers and Specials who help to bring communities together to tackle crime and reduce the number of victims.

The protection of our communities is always at the heart of my plans, and to achieve that as best I can requires using our budgets wisely.

This careful scrutiny of what we spend has included a reduction in police buildings – a pending shift that was not undertaken lightly.

Change is not always comfortable, but spending less on buildings frees up more money to spend on officer recruitment to help keep our communities safer.

Another change in policing is the increasing use of mobile technology.

With so much information now at their fingertips, there is far less need for officers to return to their stations during their shifts.

Investing in new technology allows them to spend more time in their patrol areas and be able to respond more quickly to need.

So, where wise spending allows us to recruit more officers, create more visible policing and speed up response times, my view is that we need to grasp the nettle and keep up with the times.

For me, that means ensuring our police have the tools they need to enable people to have a better quality of life, free from the fear of crime.