'Double the number of police' - chiefs say officer numbers in Northumberland increase as new operating model rolled out

Policing numbers in Northumberland have been boosted thanks to a new operating model.

Tuesday, 5th November 2019, 12:30 pm
Updated Monday, 2nd December 2019, 11:12 am
Northumberland residents can expect to see more police officers on patrol in towns and villages.

The new model came into force on in November and will increase resources across the northern area command, which covers the area between the Tyne and Tweed.

Insp John Swan, who has responsibility for the three neighbourhood teams covering Alnwick, Berwick and Morpeth, has welcomed the new model.

“It’s been established that Northumberland, because of the geography of the area, needs a different policing model,” he explained at a meeting of North Sunderland Parish Council on Monday night.

Insp John Swan

“There are lots of different issues in rural areas that you don’t have in urban areas.”

He revealed that 22 per cent of policing demand in northern area command relates to rural areas but they have now been allocated 40 per cent of the area command’s resources.

“That in itself shows there is a big commitment to policing in rural areas,” he said. “Rural crime is one of our priorities and we want rural communities to have confidence in what we do.

“There’s been a massive uplift in 24/7 resources. We’ve basically got double the amount of cops we had before.”

The neighbourhood team in Berwick will have a sergeant, seven police constables and five police and community support officers (PCSOs).

Alnwick and Morpeth will each have a sergeant, five police constables and five PCSOs.

Insp Swan explained that a hybrid model had previously been in operation whereby officers would handle neighbourhood issues and high priority incidents.

The new model will see neighbourhood officers dealing with neighbourhood issues most of the time.

It is hoped this will result in a more visible police presence in communities across the county, greater engagement with the public and an improved flow of information to the police.

“It’s a return to what we had a few years ago,” said Insp Swan. “Everyone knows the cuts we’ve had as a force have been massive.

“Those Grade 1 and 2 (high priority) incidents will now be handled by an investigations team. As a result, I hope we will be able to provide that level of engagement and visibility that we have not been able to do in recent years.”