Growth in frontline policing numbers will help protect communities

Derbyshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Hardyal Dhindsa.
Derbyshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Hardyal Dhindsa.

Every PCC and chief constable strives to protect their communities with the very best resources, technology and personnel. The years of austerity have crippled our ability to do this but there is finally light at the end of the tunnel with provision being made to grow our frontline again and increase the safety of local people.

My current budget will put 120 people back into frontline policing in 2019-20 – 58 police officers and 62 members of staff whose work will help to keep more officers out in our communities, tackling local problems and reassuring residents.

People rightly want to see more police officers on their streets. We’ve listened and over the next 12 months we will significantly boost numbers across our Safer Neighbourhood Teams to increase visibility in our communities while also bolstering our road safety and rural crime teams, increasing our investigative capacity and enhancing our support for vulnerable people.

The growth in our workforce will be possible due to increased revenue from Council Tax, a move local people supported in my recent survey, and a contribution from reserves. In December, the Government made it clear it expects Police and Crime Commissioners to increase the amount of Council Tax paid towards policing by £24 for a Band D property in 2019-20 and while I’m disappointed so much of the burden of maintaining our viability falls to local people, it is nevertheless the only option to put more officers on our streets and protect you.

I’m not pretending this investment will undo the damage of years of underfunding and cuts amounting to some £40m since 2010. Previous budget cuts mean we currently have more than 400 fewer police officers and almost 250 fewer police staff than we did nine years ago. Policing is under strain and public safety remains my top priority. I will continue to apply pressure until the Government takes greater responsibility for our position and provides Derbyshire with the settlement it rightly deserves in the long-term. I also need our partners in local government to play their part too, cuts to their services often end up costing policing more as we have to pick up the pieces when local services are withdrawn.