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Northumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness is proposing a small precept rise after residents said they would be happy to support additional investment in their police force.

In a survey asking for views on how to fund local policing, the majority of people taking part said they would support a rise in the police precept of at least 1.99%. The policing precept is the amount you contribute to local policing through your council tax bill.

Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness is now proposing to introduce a 1.99% increase, equal to 22 pence more a month for a Band D property.

The precept increase would generate just over £1m extra per year for the police, and comes alongside a better than expected police funding settlement which will see the police commissioner investing more in frontline policing.

Ahead of its latest budget settlement Northumbria Police had seen its funding reduced by the Government every year since 2011, despite demand on policing increasing by a third in the last decade.

The force lost more than 1,100 officers as a result, a situation Kim McGuinness said she wants to reverse while at the same time ensuring households do not bear the brunt of any funding increase.

Kim McGuinness said: “The Government has finally handed police forces additional funds but at the same time ministers told us that we should increase police precepts by up to £10 a household.

“There is always a balance to be struck between investing in the police and acknowledging the financial pressures facing residents, but the £10 a year hike seemed too great a rise for our area.

“Instead, I think a 22 pence a month increase is fairer for households while ensuring the force is well-staffed and able to respond to emerging crime trends.”

When calculating the overall settlement for policing the Government has assumed that each Policer and Crime Commissioner would raise the precept by the maximum amount of £10.00 for a Band D property.  This Government-expected precept rise would have meant households in Northumbria experiencing a 7.44% increase in the precept for 2020/21.

Ms McGuinness added: “Local residents know I firmly believe that it should be the Government and the Government alone that pays to deliver policing – not the local tax payer. It’s not an easy decision to make but I’m pleased our consultation has shown that it’s one that residents are in favour of.

“Last week’s boost to national funding is long overdue but there’s no quick win for turning around the impact of a decade of cuts. Policing has more complex and challenging demands than ever before and responding to these well comes with a higher price tag.”

Public consultation on the precept took place throughout January with online and telephone surveys.

The proposed 1.99% precept rise will be discussed at the February 4th Police and Crime Panel.

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An advice surgery giving Hexham the people of Hexham the chance to speak to Northumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, is taking place this month (February) – so they can raise concerns about policing or community safety issues.

Local residents will have the opportunity to speak with Kim on a one-to-one basis so they are able to discuss matters of concern privately, and in confidence.

Kim said: “In my role it’s so important that I’m accessible to local residents.  I want to meet with people, listen to them, and learn more about what Northumbria Police is doing well at and what needs improving – so we can do something about it.”

The surgery that covers Hexham and surrounding areas will be held at the Ethelreda Room , Hexham Abbey on Tuesday 18 February, between 10:30am until midday. To book an appointment, residents are asked to phone the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, in advance, on 0191 221 9800.

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VICTIMS’ services will be the focus of a new review as Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness sets out her commitment to helping people effected by crime.

The police commissioner is carrying out an independent review of services funded through her office in order to ensure there continues to be a voice for victims and that services for them are strengthened.

Victims services often play a vital role helping families and individuals cope and recover from sometimes very distressing experiences.

As part of the review the Commissioner’s office will look at how it funds a range of services, including Victims First Northumbria, the independent charity that supports many of Northumbria’s victims.

Alongside this, the Commissioner has urged members of the public to get in touch and have their say on what works well in support services and what can be improved, either via her office or Northumbria Police’s quarterly victim satisfaction survey.

Kim said: “My top two priorities as Police Commissioner are to help our force prevent crimes and ensure that when a crime does happen, the victim is central to all we do.  When you’re a victim of a crime you want the criminal brought to justice, but sometimes you also want extra support as you go through that process, and the aim of this reviewing is making sure those support services are meeting your needs.”

The review of victims’ services will look at opportunities to widen the reach of available services as well as looking at new ways of providing essential support services.

Kim said: “I was elected on a promise of making sure the public are at the centre of policing, and as part of that commitment I want to focus now on victim support services and it is vital that we put the victim’s experience central to this.

“When you’re a victim of a crime it is important that you know both that the police are there for you and that there is free, confidential support and advice for anyone affected by crime living in the Tyne and Wear or Northumberland area.

“There is already a great team working at Victims First Northumbria providing this help, and now I want to build on that offer with a full review of victims services.”

A review of commissioned services will be completed by summer 2020.

To have your say on support for victims, or to volunteer to be part of a victims’ focus group,  email [email protected]

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Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, has welcomed an ‘overwhelming’ response to the force’s latest recruitment drive in a bid to get more police officers on our streets.

More than 3,000 people registered interest in becoming a Northumbria police officer, following last October’s Home Office announcement to increase police numbers by 20,000 nationwide – which includes 185 currently being recruited in Northumbria.

Commissioner McGuinness aims to secure additional funding to recruit new police officers above and beyond the money the Government is providing, which she said is a small step towards repairing the damage caused from years of austerity. The force has lost more than 1,100 police officers over the past 10 years.

In a paper presented to the force’s Northumbria Police and Crime Panel on Tuesday (14, January), she said: “In the first three months of the recruitment campaign Northumbria saw more than 3,000 people register their interest, with more than 1,000 of these going on to submit applications.

“I’m pleased to say the force has begun its biggest recruitment campaign since at least 2010. Austerity has seen the force lose more than 1,100 officers, as well as civilian staff that play their role in fighting crime.

“Repairing this damage will not be easy, and again, we will not see results overnight, but I’m heartened by the interest so far.”

Applications have been received from a diverse range of backgrounds including ethnic minorities and rural communities. More than a third of applications were from women.

The force is currently in the process of training 78 new officers and a further 80 are due to start this March, the Commissioner has confirmed.

She added: “I am of course pleased that we are finally starting to see increases in the number of police officers on our streets.

“But after a decade of austerity it is clear that replacing our 1,100 lost police officers will take time.  That’s why the Government needs to give us a solid financial footing and set out the full spending plan that will return all those lost posts.

“Simply handing out funding in dribs and drabs gives us no assurance we will get these new posts.”

 

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Households across the Northumbria area are being asked their views on how to fund austerity-hit police budgets.

Police Commissioner Kim McGuinness has launched a public consultation on the police precept, the force’s share of local council tax bills, asking people how much they are prepared to pay to support the police.

In order to hear the views of the public on the police precept, the Commissioner is launching a short survey.

The consultation comes as police forces across the country await a Government funding-settlement delayed by several weeks as a result of the recent General Election.

The consultation will ask households their views on a range of increases to the precept. The lowest potential rise, the equivalent of a 22 pence a month increase for a Band D property, would meet basic costs but provide the force no additional funds to tackle emerging crime trends.

Options up to a 78 pence per month rise in the precept would allow the force to increase resources and invest in crime prevention.

Announcing the consultation, Kim McGuinness said: “As police commissioner my job is to ensure your police force has what it needs to protect you and serve our communities. A key part of that role is to set the police precept, which is the amount you pay for policing in your council tax.

“Northumbria Police has had its funding reduced by the Government every year since 2011. This has led to budget cuts for the police and a greater reliance upon the police precept share of your overall council tax bill to fund services.

“Both myself and Northumbria Police Chief Constable Winton Keenen have made neighbourhood policing and frontline resources a priority, but the ongoing financial uncertainty has made it more difficult to keep communities safe.

“I believe the Government should be doing more to fund police forces, but I know that difficult decisions may have to be taken locally to ensure Northumbria Police have the resources they need to keep us all safe.”

To have your say go to:

www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/PolicePrecept2020/

or email:  [email protected]

The consultation ends on January 22nd 2020.

 

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LEADING youth development charity NE Youth is celebrating its 85th anniversary in 2020 with new high-profile ambassadors and a range of activities centred around the theme of ‘Healthy and Happy’ as it embarks on a quest to raise £85,000.

Police and crime commissioner for Northumbria Kim McGuinness is NE Youth’s latest new ambassador along with ex Sunderland FC star Gary Bennett.

Fully supported by NE Youth’s President, His Grace the Duke of Northumberland, NE Youth has set a target to raise £85,000 to invest in Micro Grants, Social Action Projects and staff and volunteer training to support its work with young people across the region.

It aims to achieve this with a range of Healthy and Happy themed charity challenges throughout 2020, including networking events, clay pigeon shoot, boxing dinner, Hadrian’s Wall walk, Great North Run and Swim, cocktail making fundraiser and the Kielder Run Bike Run challenge.

Kim was joined by Jon Niblo, CEO of NE Youth at Newcastle Quayside this week (18 December) with sparkly 10ft tall ‘85’ numbers designed by young people, that will tour around the North East at each of the charitable activities next year.

Jon Niblo said: “Over the last eight and half decades NE Youth has helped over 1 million young people. Healthy and Happy is our chosen campaign programme for 2020 as we celebrate our 85th anniversary! We hope that the range of activities we have scheduled throughout the year will help us to support even more young people.

“It’s a great honor to have Kim and Gary as our 85th anniversary ambassadors, Kim is the ‘people’s commissioner’ and is known and respected by many and Gary is footballing legend admired by many young people – a great role model and inspiration. We are truly excited to roll out our celebrations next year and look forward to having Kim and Gary help us shine a light on our charity.”

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness said: “I’ve seen first-hand some of the incredible work NE Youth does to help improve the lives of young people throughout our region. They are dedicated to inspiring young minds to learn and develop, away from the chaos and problems of everyday life. I’m a firm believer that providing our young people with the right opportunities, as early as possible, can help steer them onto a path away from crime, and ultimately lead them onto a brighter future. I’m committed to championing this cause and the great work of NE Youth and am proud to be their ambassador for 2020.”

NE Youth is one of the North East’s leading youth development charity’s supporting young people in the region. Its vision is to make sure all young people have the opportunities they deserve, and to get involved in their communities, enjoy their lives and achieve their potential.

NE Youth deliver this by providing a high-quality youth offer across the region through direct youth work services and by working with and supporting member network organisations working with young people.

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PHOTO: (Left to right) police and crime commissioner for Northumbria Kim McGuinness and CEO of NE Youth Jon Niblo.

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