Announcement by Chief Constable boosts local policing
The following message about local policing has been received from Essex Police’s Chief Constable, Stephen Kavanagh:
Together with the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Chief Officer team I have decided to align 500 more officers to local policing. I believe the public of Essex want policing delivered locally. For me, it is about locally based, locally accountable, locally led officers, police community support officers (PCSOs) and staff delivering across a range of response, investigation and engagement responsibilities.
The changes are due to come into effect on Monday, September 1, 2014.
As Chief Constable, I have to think carefully about how resources are balanced across the county. I also have to ensure that, operating within a reduced budget, we continue to deliver effective policing to all our communities.
An experienced team within the force has been carefully examining our demand. To give you a sense of the scale, so far six million lines of data, spanning four years, have been reviewed. This work is supported by feedback from communities across Essex, frontline and senior officers, comparisons with other forces and professional judgement on the best way forward.
The conclusion I have reached, with Chief Officers, is the need to adjust the current deployment of resources, reducing the number of officers in some specialist functions such as firearms, roads policing and public order and placing more in local policing.
Having discussed this with Nick Alston, the Police and Crime Commissioner, I now want to share my plans with you.
To invest 500 officers in local policing I will align about 400 centrally controlled response officers to the local policing teams and make carefully considered reductions to our firearms, roads policing and public order capabilities.
The force retains the right level of resourcing in these important specialist areas. I am committed to policing our road network and the essential task of working with partner agencies and drivers to improve safety. We also maintain the capability to rapidly respond to incidents involving firearms as well as continuing to meet our public order commitments both in Essex and across the region.
These changes support my commitment, shared with the PCC, to ensure Essex has a strong and effective local policing model. Essex Police will continue to have named officers as key points of contact for local communities. They will be supported by locally-based PCSOs, each with designated beats to patrol.
Local policing teams will continue to be led by a district commander. The new officers will provide a round the clock response to local crime and anti-social behaviour. Officers will be part of and accountable to local communities.
The district commanders will each have a local policing hub, led by an inspector, to co-ordinate the work of neighbourhood officers, PCSOs, the special constabulary and other local policing staff with community safety partners.
I recognise the value of effective local policing and community engagement and through the summer will be consulting with local communities. This will explore the right structure and frequency for local police, partner and community meetings as I want to ensure they are working as well as they can. It is clear that the existing structure works well in some areas, and less well in other parts of the county.
My plans make clear the commitment to keep local people informed and involved in a way that is sustainable for the future.
In support of the improvements to the local policing model I am delighted to announced that tomorrow, Tuesday, May 20, at 10am I will be launching a recruitment drive to bring new constables into this fantastic organisation. Welcoming new recruits is vital to a strong and vibrant force and continues to be affordable.
The force also continues to develop ambitious plans in other areas. These include:
- Introducing dedicated domestic abuse teams in each of our local policing areas. This will ensure skilled officers are able to work closely with partner agencies to tackle the critically important issues surrounding domestic abuse in our county.
- Transforming the way the public can access policing services recognising the importance of face to face contact as well as web-based, self-help services such as on-line crime reporting.
- Making ever better use of technology, enabling officers to spend more time on visible patrol, or with the public, and less time at the station or dealing with administrative matters.
- Investing in a policing estate fit for future decades.
I believe these changes are a positive move. They will help us continue to reduce crime, bring offenders to justice, improve public satisfaction and work as part of the communities we serve.