It’s been almost a year now since I was elected as Northumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner and time has certainly flown.
During my first 12 months, a great deal has been achieved but there is still more to do.
One of the biggest successes over the last year has been 0ur safeguarding of vulnerable people as part of the night-time economy training for all Security Industry Authority door staff.
I devised this scheme not long after taking office.
Initially, it was set up in the pubs and clubs of Newcastle before being rolled out across the force and the rest of the country. It means nobody who is vulnerable will now be refused admission or ejected from premises which has SIA staff.
Instead, they will be safeguarded until help can be sought, whether from police, another agency or through reuniting with friends.
The scheme works in Morpeth, Berwick, Alnwick – anywhere there is a night-time economy where there might be vulnerable people.
When we asked local residents what they wanted, the police and crime priorities to be, one of the message you sent to me loud and clear was to tackle violence against women and girls.
I recently attended the Enough event at the Josephine Butler Campus of the Northumberland Church of England Academy at Ashington, organised by Northumberland County Council – this conference focused on tackling domestic abuse in the rural and urban parts of the county.
There’s no doubt Northumberland is one of the most spectacular parts of the country – whether it be a visit to Bamburgh, visiting Alnwick or my visit to Berwick on Friday. I know the communities well, we have worked hard to address anti-social behaviour, which has been tackled head-on and now many of you feel even safer. But because of its remoteness, Northumberland can attract opportunist thieves, whether it’s a thief taking an unattended purse or the theft of a quadbike from a farmer’s field.
These are issues that affect you and are ones that I want to see Northumbria Police tackle. Reducing crime in the county is a key focus.
I have said before during my regular visits to Northumberland that the voice of the rural community must be heard and I want residents to know I’m listening to their concerns.
Rural crime cost £760,000 in Northumberland and County Durham alone, with quad bikes, tools and machinery topping the list of items criminals steal.
I’m committed that Northumbria Police engages with local residents. Around 2,000 people have signed up to Farmwatch – you’re telling me loud and clear you want to work in partnership.
It is schemes like this that provide extra eyes and ears for the police.
By working together, we can make a difference. I want to see all types of crime reported, I want you to have confidence in the fact that if you have concerns, Northumbria Police will take it seriously.
After the robbery of a store in Hadston last weekend, suspects were arrested very quickly – by working in partnership, we are making Northumberland a safer place to live and work.