A joint letter signed by Derbyshire’s Chief Constable, Peter Goodman, and Police and Crime Commissioner, Hardyal Dhindsa, has called on the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd to end the damaging cuts to the Derbyshire Police Force. After detailing the problems that have built up over the last few years, they conclude by appealing to Rudd:
“It is against this backdrop that we say that enough is enough. Policing in Derbyshire has been cut to levels which are dangerous for our public and destabilising for our staff. We recognise the financial stability of the country and the many challenges that we face, but believe now is the time to make a stance on behalf of the people of Derbyshire.”
In agreement with the position of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, they called for:
“Real terms protection is needed to stabilise police forces and make sure that the whole of the policing and security system has the resources to work effectively”
Since 2006, the population of Derbyshire has increased by 5%, together with a 16% reduction (400) in Police Officers – resources are now spread more thinly.
Nationally the amount of citizens per officer has risen from 381 in 2006 to 467 in 2016 – Derbyshire has one officer per 625 citizens – significantly worse than the national average.
There has been a 14% reduction in the number of Police Community Support Officers (PCSO) down to 165.
The Leaders highlight that this reduction is most concerning in that:
“Local policing which we strongly believe is the bedrock of policing is one of the areas which have undoubtedly suffered with many teams throughout the country losing officers and PCSOs. The effect of this is huge, they are the life blood of community policing and the eyes and ears of neighbourhoods. They undoubtedly play a huge part in preventing some terrorist activity, serious and organised crime and volume crime”
This is in the context of :
- a 5.7% increase in crime since 2006,
- more than double the number of reported rapes and sexual offences since 2006
- 14% increase in mental health incidents from 2013/14 to 2015/16
- a 17% increase in the number off 999(emergency) calls in the last year
- increasing complexity of crimes – digital / modern slavery / new crime types / internet grooming
In conclusion they stated:
“We are a progressive force and will always push the boundaries to ensure we offer the best service we can. To aid this, last year we changed our policing model that redistributed officers to help even up the workloads.
We are creating a more agile and adaptable workforce to address increases and changing crime types. It is essential that our officers are equipped with the technology to provide the best information to make the right decisions. We have invested heavily in technology to equip our officers.
We are currently rated as Good, with Outstanding in some areas, by HMIC (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary) and we plan to continue to be, but the added complexities of crime, alongside the cuts that have been made to policing, again make this harder and harder to maintain.”
One of the most poignant phrases in the letter implied that, with the increase in complex, and new crime types, and reduction in numbers, there would be a consequence, and that this would be felt by those who have an expectation that they will always see the “bobby on the beat”, and that every incident, no matter how small, will be fully investigated….they said:
“In order to satisfy the new needs some of the old have to give”