Ask any Nottinghamshire resident what makes their community feel safer and the answer will be the same – more police officers, writes Paddy Tipping.
People need to feel safe, regardless of whether their risk of crime is high or low, and that reassurance comes from seeing police officers walking the streets night and day.
The years of austerity have tied the police’s hands.
But they’re beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel with vital income for growth.
The Government has heeded police officers’ warnings and its decision to lift the ceiling on the precept, allowing for a £24 rise in the amount of council tax people pay towards policing for the average household, will make a real difference to the service the police are able to provide.
Nottinghamshire can look forward to 40 extra police officers in 2019-20 – on top of those recruited already during the past 18 months, which have taken numbers beyond 2,000.
As well as boosting visibility in its communities, Nottinghamshire Police also be taking robust action on knife crime, robbery and burglary, creating a new force-wide robbery team which will work to proactively disrupt street robberies.
This specialist team will be a first for Nottinghamshire, specially targeting those who carry knives to carry out their crimes.
It’s an area of growing concern, not least because of the devastating impact it leaves on its victims.
This new hard-line approach will see plain-clothed police targeting known offenders to disrupt their activities and prevent more victims.
It’s very important to me that people to trust our service and that means having uniformed (and non-uniformed) officers available and ready to tackle the issues that threaten their safety and confidence.
It’s also about positioning these resources in the best place to protect people.
Last year, Nottinghamshire Police launched two proactive burglary teams which have produced significant reductions.
It’s a model I know is working which is why I’m keen to exploit it further.
We also recently moved police response officers into the Ashfield Integrated Services hub in Kirkby-in-Ashfield to improve response times and position resources to where they are most needed.
The team is already making significant arrests for drug supply, robbery and burglary.
There are many other areas of progress in the pipeline.
In 2019-20, Notinghamshire Police will continue to work with clinical commissioning groups on mental health, developing a pilot to understand the needs of survivors of non-domestic stalking.
The force will also be commissioning a new substance misuse support service in the city and county following an independent review.
There’s more to do but with growing tools to do it, I’m confident 2019-20 will be another successful year.