Back on the beat – Neighbourhood officer numbers set to double in Northamptonshire
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The number of neighbourhood police officers focusing on local policing in communities in Northamptonshire, is set to double in a major investment of resources in visible, effective local crimefighting.
The increase will take the number of dedicated neighbourhood policing constables across rural and urban parts of the county, from 50 to 100 over the next 18 months, with the ambition for a further 60 by 2023.
The additional constables will join the officers and PCSOs that currently make up the neighbourhood teams already in place across Northamptonshire.
The investment marks a new focus that will put neighbourhood policing at the heart of the fight against crime, tackling problems that matter to local people at the first opportunity and being visible and accessible to local communities.
Neighbourhood policing has always been a priority for Northamptonshire Police, but this renewed focus has now been made possible thanks to additional investment in funding from local council taxpayers, and the Government’s uplift funding for recruitment.
The Force now has 1367 police officers, compared to 1170 four years ago, with plans to recruit a further 130 officers in the next two years. This means the Force now has more officers and can increase the local neighbourhood teams without taking resources from emergency response or other specialist crime areas.
The increase in neighbourhood officers will include the latest intake of new recruits who, for the first time, will join a neighbourhood policing team straight from their initial training and spend the first part of their career as dedicated neighbourhood policing constables.
The new officers started their basic 17-week training in January and will join their local policing team in May, when they will complete the next stage of their development working alongside an experienced neighbourhood officer.
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold said: “As the voice of the public in policing and crime, I know how powerful and effective visible, local policing can be. Across the county, people tell me that they want to see this focus on the crime that really matters to them in their community. That’s why I am so proud to be able to be part of this new focus on local, neighbourhood policing to fight crime.
“This has been made possible thanks to the investment that local people have made through their council tax in support of Northamptonshire Police, and I am confident that people across the county will see an increased engagement with their local policing teams and be able to identify the officers who are able to deal with the issues that matter to them in their area. This local focus will strengthen the Force’s work with partners to tackle specific issues on a local level and reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.”
Nick Adderley, Northamptonshire Police Chief Constable, said: “In doubling the number of our neighbourhood beat officers over the next 18 months, with more officers coming later in 2023, the vision of a better connected, accessible, visible and contactable police service starts to become a reality.
“This is the future of Northamptonshire Police; a force that understands, listens, anticipates, problem solves and reacts to issues at the earliest opportunity, a force which bears down heavily on those who commit crime and anti-social behaviour yet one which works with communities and individuals to divert them away from such activity where possible.
“I believe that by putting bobbies back on the beat we will provide the right connection and service, a service that the public deserves and quite rightly expects.”
As well as increasing the number of neighbourhood officers, the Force is also investing more than £100,000 in two new mobile police stations. These bespoke vehicles, which are due to be launched in April, will enable neighbourhood policing teams to provide greater support and a more visible and accessible policing service to the county’s more remote and rural communities.
Neighbourhood team areas will continue to be aligned to local authority boundaries, in line with the new Unitary Authority model that comes into place in April 2021. This will ensure closer, more effective collaboration with partner organisations, to focus on fighting crime, protecting the vulnerable and tackling the issues that most affect the local community.