Posted on 23rd February 2012
Derbyshire Police Authority has formally approved a plan which sets out how the force aims to make the county safer over the next four years and in so doing set the foundations for the police budget for 2012-13.
The Policing Strategy 2012/16 reflects key policing risks and the top concerns and priorities raised by the public during consultation and spells out how the force intends to address them.
Derbyshire is officially the safest county in the East Midlands region and indeed, one of the safest in the country, well on track for the ninth consecutive year of crime reduction. There are now 37,000 fewer victims of crime in the county than there were in 2002/3 while burglary has more than halved, vehicle crime is down two-thirds and criminal damage is down by more than a quarter.
Throughout the past 12 months, the Police Authority has engaged with the public during various Have Your Say consultation events to find out which areas of crime are of most concern to them. Almost 7,000 responses were obtained overall and the Policing Strategy sets out the top priorities as: drug dealing/supplying, protecting vulnerable people, groups of nuisance youths, drug taking, burglary, alcohol-related violence, knife and gun crime, dangerous driving and traffic issues, people drunk or rowdy in public and domestic violence.
In addition, the Plan sets out five core aims which will influence and guide every decision made by the force and help it to provide top quality services. These are: protecting the vulnerable, attacking criminality, providing reassurance, preventing and reducing crime and delivering value for money. The Police Authority supports the 15 Constabulary Commitments, which cover ‘Working for Communities’, ‘Getting it right first time’ and ‘Supporting Local Priorities’.
Philip Hickson, chairman of Derbyshire Police Authority, said: “This Plan really challenges us to keep up the good work and ensures those issues which matter most to our communities are given the prominence they deserve. Public safety lies at the heart of this document and as such the Authority will regularly monitor performance to ensure the force is meeting its pledges and that local people know what is happening in their area to address the issues raised.
“While we do not underestimate the impact the funding shortfall continues to have on our budget and resources we find ourselves in a much stronger position to protect our performance. Foresight and prudent planning has seen us already deliver much of the deficit we face which means we are now able to draw from our healthy reserves to help deliver the ambitions in the Plan, including the recruitment of more officers to strengthen our police presence and boost confidence in policing.
“As well as listening to the priorities of our residents, we are also determined to make sure the services we provide continue to offer value for money. This Strategy outlines the measures we are taking to reduce our spending including the further collaborative work we have planned with other forces which will allow us to save money and enhance our capacity to deal any future threat. However, there is no room for complacency and we will continue to evaluate every part of our operation to see where we can become more efficient and provide more for less.”
The Police Authority has already secured £15m of the £19m it needs to plug the funding gap that resulted from a 20% reduction in its Government grant until 2015. Much of the savings have been possible through the collaborative opportunities identified through the East Midlands Police Collaboration Programme (EMPCP), which is currently managing 35 projects. All the projects aim to save money, increase capacity and capability, maintain or improve customer service standards, use officer and staff time in the best way possible, deliver the best service with the resources available, improve performance or make better use of technology.
The Police Authority decided to accept the Government’s council tax freeze grant and not to increase the policing element of council tax which will stay at £163.74 per year for a Band D property. For a property in Band A this is less than £2.10 a week. Through careful planning and efficiency savings, the Authority is now in a position to start recruiting police officers (PCSOs) and staff once again from as early as April. This will protect neighbourhood policing in the future and provide a strong foundation for the new Police and Crime Commissioner.
Media Enquiries: Sallie Blair, 01283 821012 / 07702 541401