PCC reaffirms commitment to police on streets

Dame Vera Baird QC
Dame Vera Baird QC

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Dame Vera Baird today reaffirmed her commitment to neighbourhood policing.

Earlier this week, Norfolk Police revealed plans to scrap all Community Support Officers (CSOs) in light of funding cuts and changing crime trends.

Northumbria Police has received the biggest cut in government grant out of all police forces in England and Wales since 2010, a reduction of £123million from its revenue budget.

But today, Dame Vera said she is fully committed to working with the Chief Constable to maintain the number of CSOs in the force.

She said neighbourhood policing remains a priority and careful managing of the budget means the force can maintain a visible presence on the streets.

“Crime trends have changed, but CSOs have an important role to play in combating complex crimes such as child sexual exploitation, modern day slavery and cyber-crime,” she said.

Dame Vera added: “Our force has been one of the worst hit by cuts to the police budget, but we have been managing our budget very carefully to maintain a visible policing presence on our streets. For example, we have invested heavily in technology to ensure officers aren’t stuck behind desks, but are out on the streets keeping our communities safe.

“We also changed our neighbourhood model and merged some sectors to take out levels of management and protect the number of officers on the ground.

“I am committed to working with the Chief Constable to manage our budget so we can protect front-line policing, but the thin blue line is already stretched to the limit. The Home Secretary needs to ensure a proper funding formula that is fair to Northumbria so we can continue providing a professional service to our local communities.”