Commissioner's newsletter

February 2019

Well, hasn't February flown by!

I'm sure many of you will already know, earlier this month I took my budget proposals to the Police and Crime Panel. Part of this included plans to raise council tax by £24 per year to pay for more police officers.

The Police and Crime Panel approved the plans which will raise an additional £15.2 million to invest in our front line.

The Chief Constable has indicated that the uplift would allow him to create an additional neighbourhood officer for each of the 27 sectors in the force area, increase detectives by 30 to address serious offending and increase the number of officers in frontline response teams.

I want to thank the 4,617 people who took part in my poll. 54% of you said you would be willing to pay more to invest in our police force, which although positive, is significantly lower than last year's poll where 71% of those who took part voted in favour.

Whilst this year I have recommended an increase in the precept, it is clear that our community will not tolerate year on year hikes. I will be using this evidence to lobby Government and campaign for fairer funding for our force.

Asking the public to pay more is not a decision I take lightly and is not something I want to do again.

Read below for more information and a breakdown of the survey results.

Alison Hernandez

Police and Crime Panel backs Commissioner's budget proposals

A total of 4,617 people took part in a poll from Devon and Cornwall’s Police and Crime Commissioner. It indicated there was support, with 54% voting in favour, for the additional investment if it was devoted to front-line officers.

On Friday 8th February, the Police and Crime Panel voted to approve the Commissioner’s budget plans precept would raise an additional £15.2m for Devon and Cornwall Police (when surpluses and tax base increases are taken into account).

The Chief Constable has indicated that the uplift would allow him to create an additional beat officer for each of the 27 sectors in the force area, increase detectives by 30 to address serious offending and increase the number of officers in frontline response teams.

The renewed recruitment drive would bring force strength to 3,100 by the end of 2020, the highest level since 2012 and 186 officers higher than when Alison became Police and Crime Commissioner in 2016.

A rise of 41p a week for a band C property (most households in the force area are band C or below) would allow the force to recruit 85 officers by the end of 2020, taking the force strength to 3,100 officers – the highest level since police and crime commissioners were introduced in 2012.

In total around 660 officers will have been recruited over four years to make up for those leaving the force.

This year’s budget will see the police precept for households in Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly increase by 41p a week for a band C property with the total cost per household rising from £167.36 to 188.69.

The percentage of those supportive of the measure (54%) was significantly lower than the 71% of those who supported a similar proposal last year.

As a result Alison Hernandez said that she would continue to lobby Central Government for fairer funding for the Devon and Cornwall force particularly in the run up to the Compressive Spending Review later this year.

Currently Devon and Cornwall Police receive 26 pence per head of population compared to a national average of 33 pence.

At the meeting on Friday, members of the Police and Crime Panel also agreed to write to Government about the issue.

Speaking on Friday Alison said: “I am pleased that the police and crime panel has listened to the people of Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, understood the challenges facing police and backed this budget. We are fortunate to live in one of the safest parts of the country and I want to keep it that way. It’s clear to me and the communities I speak to that part of the solution to that is recruiting more officers.

“Devon and Cornwall Police are dealing with an increase in recorded crime of 10%* and calls for assistance from police officers is rising.

“In addition there are a range of new threats from which we are not immune. Excellent work takes place every day of the week in counter terrorism – for example, there are currently 39 cases in in Devon and Cornwall where a potential threat has been identified and is being mitigated.

Survey results by council tax band

More information is available on our website.

Latest News

Cornwall gets eight new tri-service safety officers

Eight new tri-service safety officers have taken up their roles and will be out working in communities across Cornwall soon.

The eight will bring the total number of tri-service officers to 10 and will be based in St Just, Hayle, St. Ives, Fowey and Polruan, Perranporth, St. Dennis, Looe, Lostwithiel.

Tri-service safety officers primarily focus on engagement, early intervention, prevention and reducing demand for police, fire and ambulance services as well as responding to critical incidents on behalf of the fire and ambulance service.

The role is jointly funded by all three emergencies services - Devon & Cornwall Police, South Western Ambulance Service (NHS) Foundation Trust and Cornwall Fire, Rescue & Community Safety Service.

Find out more >

Important milestone reached in project to build new police station for Exeter

Exeter’s new £29m police station reached its milestone this week when Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer and Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez bolted the last piece of steelwork into the fast-growing structure.

When completed the new building will provide a base for up to 450 officers whose duties range from community policing to major crime investigation. A state-of-the-art custody suite will provide 40 police cells and there will be a new and improved public front desk.

Read more >

Bodmin dedicated police headquarters for Cornwall

The police and crime commissioner for Devon and Cornwall has said that understanding local communities is the key to keeping them safe as a dedicated headquarters for Cornwall is unveiled.

Around 50 former police officers, members of the public and politicians will watch the Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall unveil a plaque at the headquarters in Bodmin.

The unveiling comes ahead of a £13m investment in the police estate across Cornwall funded by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.

The investment will significantly improve facilities for staff and members of the public and a substantial new custody facility will be created.

Alison said: “I’m proud to represent and promote the communities of Cornwall and I’m always struck by the pride of residents and businesses, with their sense of place and identity."

Full story >

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