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5 February 2013, 15:34
The top features of the police and crime plan for Northamptonshire have been published today by Police and Crime Commissioner Adam Simmonds.
Top of the PCC's list are reducing violent crime, a focus on eradicating drugs and serious acquisitive crime, tackling anti-social behaviour, more police visibility, safer roads and a better deal for victims of crime.
Police and crime commissioners are required by law to produce such a plan, to cover a five year period. The plan is set out below in full.
In a full statement, Mr Simmonds says:
The Home Secretary has set out that the number one priority for policing is reducing crime. Crime in Northamptonshire is too high. Further large cuts in national funding mean we must think and deliver in radically different ways.
At this time it is vital that taxpayers get good value for money. I do not want to put people already on a tight budget under any more pressure than is necessary.
* Putting victims first
The needs of victims must be placed centre-stage. People choose to be an offender. No-one chooses to be a victim.
The plan sets out a new agenda for victims: improved support services for victims; preventing victimisation by achieving big reductions in violence and acquisitive crime; increasing the visibility of the police across all of our neighbourhoods. First and foremost, our county will be a place where the victim always comes first.
A Victim’s Commission will start work in the Spring of 2013. This will inform clear thinking on how this vision will become a reality.
Its findings will cover the future of services to victims, ways to champion restorative justice approaches, measures to drive improved victim satisfaction and setting a direction for creating a truly victim-centred criminal justice system.
The victim’s voice will be heard loud and clear by me and by all those who work across the criminal justice system and will not be drowned out by the voices of professionals and other interest groups.
The ambition to make Northamptonshire the safest county will be driven through a new three-point delivery programme set out in the Police and Crime Plan:
* There will be a huge change in activity in respect of drugs.
Drugs markets will be actively dismantled, with strong intelligence, proactive enforcement and a focus on reducing demand led by a new Office for Drug Eradication.
There will be a drive to increase the use of the Proceeds of Crime Act to ensure that crime never pays.
Those who behave in an anti-social manner, particularly the drunken and violent behaviour that blights our town centres, can expect their pictures to be in local newspapers, to be banned from town and to be prosecuted.
All agencies across the criminal justice system need to shake out of a 9-5 weekday working culture, to deliver fast and sure justice and pro-actively engage with offenders in the community at times when they are most at risk of offending.
* ‘Getting upstream’ to prevent crime
Prevention is better than cure. Most crimes can be prevented through effective problem-oriented policing approaches and evidence-based working.
It is time for all agencies and local communities to pull together to achieve this. Police will work smarter, clearly defining crime problems, analysing their causes and taking evidence-based actions to prevent further offending.
There is a need to strengthen the intelligence approach of the police and also to build strong problem solving analytical support across all partner agencies.
As the commissioning model is developed across policing services, the emphasis will be on my building, together with the Chief Constable the first fully evidence-based policing service in the country.
There must be a simpler and more direct model of increased investment in evidence-based crime prevention activity, and less investment in the infrastructures of partnership working.
Effective prevention goes much wider than just the police; all agencies and communities have something to contribute. We must strengthen approaches to offender management and ensure all agencies are fully aligned in the response to supervising and challenging offenders and supporting them to change.
We must shift attitudes and culture against violence, drugs and alcohol misuse across our local communities – so we can effect major change in the levels of crime and disorder in our local neighbourhoods.
* Greater police visibility and increased numbers
The number of police officers will be maintained at 1,220 full-time equivalents, the strength of officers who were in post when I came into office (this is in contrast to forecast falls in numbers in most other forces in the country).
In line with the public’s clear priorities for more visible policing, I will support the Chief Constable to increase the proportion of officers who are front-line constables by keeping back-office and more senior roles as lean as possible. We will minimise bureaucracy so as to maximise the time front-line officers spend visible in communities.
To substantially reinforce the already strengthened regular police officer front-line there will be a recruitment of a new large-scale (ultimately 200 strong) reservist force of police officers, paid to work around 20 days a year. This would be a first in mainland UK.
As well as a massive expansion and re-launch of the Special Constabulary and development of volunteer warden roles, I will recruit 1,000 volunteers to fight crime and create a visible presence in all our local neighbourhoods.
Community confidence in a visible and effective police presence in all local communities is critical, with the powers at their disposal to reduce crime and fear of crime and to respond to community need.
In contrast to planned Police Authority reductions and the picture elsewhere in the country, there will be no reduction in the number of PCSOs funded directly by the Commission (a number of PCSO posts are directly funded by local authorities, parish councils and other partners, and their investment decisions are not under the direct control of the Police and Crime Commissioner).
I will expand the Police Cadets to have a presence in every major town in the county and will play a more visible role in crime prevention. A major focus on rural policing will increase the visibility of the police across more rural areas of our county.
* Making our roads safer
I want to see a marked reduction in the numbers injured and killed on the county’s roads. Every road death is a tragedy, and although thankfully the long-term trend of numbers is reducing, ultimately one death or serious injury on our roads remains one too many.
I want to see a crackdown on speeding, especially in rural areas of our county. I want to see a major expansion of Community Speedwatch with members of the public contributing to speeding enforcement.
We need to change behaviours on our roads. This is not just an issue for more police enforcement, we all need to work together to reduce risks and make our roads safer for all.
When a serious injury or death occurs on our roads, I want to see a major improvement in how we support victims and families over the long-term.
* Engagement and participation
It is important that the voice of victims and of communities is heard as they have never been heard before across policing and criminal justice.
Overall, there will be a programme of consulting and engaging across victims, police service users and wider communities to increase how their needs are understood and acted upon in improving policing and criminal justice services.
There will be a big expansion in the role played by faith-based and community activities, particularly in supporting victims and preventing crime. This will be supported through the creation of an Office for Faith Based and Community Initiatives.
Local people and victims of crime will be consulted on the creation of a ‘blue light guarantee’, a set of commitments that the public and victims can expect from the police.
Victims and communities will also be actively engaged in shaping new and better ways of making lives safer, such as on the roads and protecting vulnerable people from harm.
There will be a massive programme of youth engagement. I will establish a commission to look positively and constructively at young people’s lives, the contribution they can make to our society and how we can better galvanise the skill, ideas and commitment of young people to create a safer county.
* Business transformation
It is important at a time of scarce resources for the police that these are focused more strongly than ever on building a more effective front-line.
The police force will be refocused on policing, with back-office functions delivered in more efficient and effective ways, including further development of shared service approaches such as the current Multi Force Shared Service programme, potential engagement with the Local Government Shared Service, and assessing opportunities for further work with forces across the East Midlands.
The police estate will be modernised and made more efficient to fit the police service of the future, including working towards the closure of the current force headquarters site.
Other police resources such as transport and information technology will be managed differently, possibly through an expansion of shared service models.
Mobile technology will support opportunities for police officers to work differently.
Beyond the police, efforts will be made to coordinate new ways of working across the criminal justice system, delivering a more efficient and speedier criminal justice system.
* An Invitation
The Police and Crime Plan is an invitation to get involved in the safest place campaign: to victims, communities, faith-based and community initiatives, public sector and business partners. Creating the safest county is not just a job for the police, it is important that all communities get involved to make a difference. The detailed programme of how all of this work will be achieved over the next five years will be published in due course at www.northantspcc.org.uk