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Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness has brought forward the annual £200,000 community fund as a new project designed to help local charity organisations continue their vital work.

Across the region hundreds of organisations are facing an unprecedented challenge in how they support families and help prevent crime following the outbreak of the Coronavirus.

With immediate effect from today (Monday 30 March), the Commissioner’s office will take applications for grants of up to £5k to help sustain the delivery of crucial community projects that have been impacted by the current global health crisis.

The Coronavirus Response Fund will initially prioritise applications from organisations supporting the most vulnerable within our communities, including those at risk of domestic abuse. The fund will also look at ways to support young people at risk of abuse, neglect or the impacts of poverty now the stability and support of schools has been taken away.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: “Things are really tough right now for so many. Over the past few days I’ve been in touch with many organisations that we work with and it’s been absolutely clear that they need more support and, and fast. These organisations are all playing an important part in the region’s response to the current crisis in some way.

“Whether they need to increase capacity, or reach out to people offering support in innovative new ways, what is clear is that a lot of important work won’t wait.

Kim added: “This virus, sadly, is going to have lasting implications for many charities. Across our region, as in the rest of the country, our economy is taking a hit and that’s impacting on things such as counselling and youth intervention services.

“I’d like to get some financial help out there as soon as possible, ideally to projects and services that are already set up in order to help make a difference at speed.

“But we have to be realistic; the fund I am announcing today is only a drop in the ocean compared to what our multi-million pound charity and voluntary sector need. That’s why I am urging the Chancellor to set out urgent further help for these organisations.

“We do not want to recover from this outbreak only to see the quiet support network that keeps us safe has disappeared.”

The closing date for applications is April 9th and the Commissioner will open a second round of funding later in the year.

Further details about the fund, how projects can be important in supporting the work of Northumbria Police and how to apply are available on the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner’s Website or email [email protected]

www.northumbria-pcc.gov.uk/police-crime-plan/commissioning-services-grants/coronavirus-response-fund-launched/

 

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A new cohort of police recruits have been sworn-in as officers – and told their communities “need them now more than ever”.

The 79 recruits joined the ranks at Northumbria Police on Monday, ahead of an intensive training period to prepare them to patrol local streets.

They have joined as part of the Force’s ongoing recruitment campaign to increase the number of officers across the area.

Due to the on-going issues arising from Coronavirus (Covid-19), the Force has implemented active measures to allow the much-needed recruitment and training to go-ahead, to create an increase in officer numbers as soon as possible.

In the coming weeks they will take part in a training programme that has been developed to take advantage of improvements in digital and virtual learning and will make them ready and available to take-up a number of potential roles to help support frontline officers during these unprecedented times.

Once restrictions around Covid-19 are lifted, they will then be able to complete the remaining aspects of their training to become fully-fledged officers.

Welcoming the new recruits, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness said: “Of course, it’s a strange time to be welcoming new recruits but we need police officers now more than ever – I cannot stress this enough.

“I want to reassure the public that we’re still helping the vulnerable and doing everything we can to keep our communities safe during these unsettling times.

“I want to thank every single officer – new, old, support staff too, on behalf of the public – all selfless people working incredibly hard in such challenging times – thank you.”

Speaking of the recruitment drive, the Commissioner continued: “This recruitment campaign is about bringing real change for the people of Northumbria.

“Last year, I made a commitment to funding hundreds of officers and we now have people from all walks of life in training to be where local people want them – out on our streets.”

Chief Constable Winton Keenen said the new recruits will play a “vital role” in protecting vulnerable people in Northumbria.

He said: “These are undoubtedly challenging times for us all and highlight why it is important we push ahead with our recruitment drive to increase the number of officers available to protect our communities.

“These new offices are needed now more than ever, to support the vital service we provide to the communities we are proud and privileged to serve.”

Chief Constable Keenen added: “Our recruitment campaigns are very much aimed at getting the best people into the organisation and increasing our representation of the communities we serve.

“We want to recruit exceptional people from all communities, who will bring a range of experiences and who are determined to make a real difference.”

The training programme is normally classroom based but will instead be delivered via online virtual classrooms and interactive content.

These new officers have joined the Force as part of the ongoing recruitment programme launched before the outbreak of Covid-19 and that initiative will continue as normal.

If you want to follow in the footsteps of these new recruits, we’ll soon be announcing details of virtual recruitment events for police officers.

Keep an eye on our Northumbria Police LinkedIn page for more information.

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Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness has today issued a statement, alongside Chief Constable Winton Keenen.

She said: “Across our region, along with the rest of the UK, we are being asked to adjust to a new, temporary, way of life that is designed to keep us and the people we love safe in a time of danger.

“As we learn more about the full impact of how these new restrictions are implemented and policed, one thing will remain true – if we support each other we will get through this.

“That means backing our police as they seek to protect us – for example, where possible, contacting the Force for non-urgent enquiries online instead of calling 101. But absolutely in an emergency always dial 999. It means staying home to give our NHS the best possible chance at keeping us safe.

“Covid-19 presents an unprecedented challenge to our way of living, but here in Northumbria, we have deep-rooted values of caring for one another which makes our people and our place special and that will see us through.

“I’m sure we will hear more shortly about what the new restrictions will mean in detail, but for now it is imperative that we follow the available Government guidance.

“The Chief Constable and I will continue to work together to make sure our police force has what it needs to do its job and to ensure your local priorities are met as much as possible during these challenging times. Please stay home, stay safe, protect our NHS and support our police force.”

Chief Constable, Winton Keenen, revealed how our Force will continue to engage with you during these “unprecedented times”.

He said: “As we already knew them to be, these truly are unprecedented times and that has been further reinforced by the announcement from the Prime Minister yesterday evening.

“We really are, all of us, dealing with a national health emergency and this has led to plans being worked-up to give police new powers to ensure we all comply with the strict stay-at-home restrictions that have now been put in place.

“I know many people will have questions about when and how the police will use the new powers, if the need arises.

“From the outset I want to make it clear that the officers who would be required to deal with failures in compliance with any new legislation are those same officers we all see, day-in, day-out, protecting and serving our communities; whom now, more than ever, are working tirelessly to maintain our core-policing services.

“While the finer details of the legislation are being finalised and we await guidance, I am optimistic everyone across our region recognises the need to act sensibly and responsibly in a unified approach to prevent spreading the virus and the terrible consequences it can have.

“Policing in this country is founded on a mutual respect, with high levels of public and community engagement; this being particularly so here in Northumbria. The reality is, we resolve issues every single day, by talking to people and reasoning with them and I assure you that approach will continue.

“However, if it becomes the case that people are putting others at risk because of their own activities then we will, where necessary and appropriate, make use of whatever legislation is available to stop this from happening – indeed, I believe this is what you should expect of us.

“Information about the restrictions now in-place can be found on the Government’s website and we are expecting further details in the coming days.

“I find myself increasingly making reference to the fantastic community spirit we have across our region and this will undoubtedly play a big part in getting us through these difficult times – the truth is, we need to come together now more than ever, so please work with us so we can all keep our loved-ones safe.”

*Please note this is a stock image taken prior to the social distancing guidelines*

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STATEMENT FROM NORTHUMBRIA POLICE AND CRIME COMMISSIONER

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness has today echoed the reassurances given by Northumbria Police Chief Constable Winton Keenen, as the region faces up to the challenges presented by COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

Commissioner McGuinness said:

“Although this a health-led emergency, the police have a vital role to play, just as we all do in trying to come together and fight this.

“Right now the challenges we as a region and a country face feel huge. But, I want to reassure you that we are doing all we can to rise to this challenge.

“Like the rest of our emergency services, Northumbria Police is staffed by a truly dedicated workforce that is committed to helping others. As ever, our officers are here to protect us, prevent crime and safeguard vulnerable people.

“I’m in contact with the Chief Constable every day, the force is regularly assessing the situation and ensuring robust plans are in place.

“Northumbria Police has well-established, effective and extensive command and control structures in-place and I have been briefed on how those have evolved to match the current challenge. Business Continuity Plans are in-place and the police will continue to work with others across the Local Resilience Forum, because we know we are at our most effective when working together.

“Police officers and staff will continue to respond to incidents and the force will be public about how and when any significant changes are needed in their day to day work.

“I recently agreed a force budget that provided extra investment in our police, and I’ll be discussing with the chief the best ways to make use of those funds during this outbreak. My job is to make sure the force has the resources it needs to deliver on your priorities, and myself and my office are committed to continuing that work.”

The Police Commissioner has begun discussions with charity and support groups that play a role in helping the vulnerable to see what extra support can be offered to them at this time.

Kim said: “I know that the services many of our charity and community organisations provide will need to make changes and I want to thank them also for everything they are doing to ensure those in need get help and support at a time they probably need it the most.

“As a region, we have a wonderful collective spirit that comes together when times are hard and I have no doubt, it’s this wonderful spirit that will see us through.”

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Police Commissioner Kim McGuinness has announced a multi-million pound investment package in Northumbria Police as part of her “force fit for the future” plans.

The Police and Crime Commissioner has backed the Chief Constable with a raft of investment measures that will see more police on the streets, new equipment for officers and the expansion of cyber-crime teams.

The latest spending plans are set out in the Commissioner’s new Medium term Financial Strategy and include funds to ensure more officers are available for the chief constable.

The Commissioner is allocating around £4.7m to hire additional officers to take the force above the national recruitment targets, ensuring a faster replacement of the 1,100 officers lost to the force as a result of ten years of austerity. This is on top of the £5m earmarked by Government for new Northumbria Police officers.

The Commissioner’s crime fighting investment will mean the force has additional resources to prevent violent crime, take on organised crime and tackle ‘County line’ drugs gangs, while making sure anti-social behaviour is tackled head-on in communities.

Alongside the frontline increase comes a major new IT system update. The new technology is seen as essential if the force is to remain up to date and able to respond fast to emerging incidents. Around £3m will be used for more skills training and specialists staff alongside the complete overhaul of the force’s outdated IT system.

The latest force budget also includes a £600,000 increase in the cyber-crime and fraud section.

This additional investment package comes on top of the day to day budget funds available to meet policing requirements

As part of those existing financial plans, the PCC will also be agreeing a £16m investment package in vehicles and equipment, including body armour, body-worn video and Tasers.

Kim said: “I am committed to giving the police the tools to fight crime, while making sure we are working to prevent crime.

“These financial plans are the biggest investment in our force in a decade. We’ll have more specialists and more police on our streets with the equipment they need to keep us, and themselves, safe.

“I am investing in the frontline above and beyond what the Government is offering, and giving the force the resources it needs to tackle emerging crime trends.”

The financial plans are part of the Medium Term Financial Strategy published by the Police and Crime Commissioner this week. This covers the spending assumptions for the next four years. Key new investments for this year include:

·         Increasing the number of officers over and above national targets, as outlined above, investing a total of £4.7m directly into police officer resources, during 2020/21. This will provide additional resources to prevent violent crime, take on organised crime and tackle ‘County line’ issues, while making sure anti-social behaviour is tackled head-on in communities. £4.7m
·         Significant investment in ICT capabilities and capacity, to provide the necessary resources to gain maximum benefits available from the associated capital investment in new ICT systems and technologies; ensuring the Force is more fit–for-purpose and better positioned to keep people safe and fight crime, by providing new skills and specialists to keep communities safe. £3.4m
·         Increasing investigative capability and capacity. £0.7m
·         Investment in Digital Forensics to effectively manage the increasing demands arising from investigations involving electronic devices and material held in digital format. £0.6m
·         Protecting and providing appropriate services to the most vulnerable members of our communities. £ 0.4m

 

These items are in addition to the regular force budget items which pay for day to day policing.

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‘I want there to be hate crime champions everywhere’ – that’s the message from Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, as Northumbria Police’s hate awareness training continues throughout Northumbria.

The initiative is a direct response to concerns of under-reporting and is designed to highlight that hate crime is totally unacceptable in our region and together we can put a stop to it.

The nationally acclaimed hate awareness packages explore the impact of hate on victims and the wider community, the barriers to reporting and the best ways to seek help.

At the end of the training session is an appeal for volunteers to take their commitment a step further and become hate crime champions. The role is designed to provide a visible presence, educating those around them within organisations or local communities.

As well as helping to fund the scheme, the Commissioner last week welcomed a training session to her office, where she promised that Northumbria Police will continue its pro-active approach to tackling hate.

Kim McGuinness said: “We all need to do everything we can to tackle hate. Wherever you were born, whoever you worship, whoever you love – we all belong In Northumbria. I am proud to be Police and Crime Commissioner of such a welcoming region but there are always people who spoil things, who incite hatred and that’s completely unacceptable.”

She added: “I want victims to feel listened to, and to know that there are people around them who have got their back, who will call out hateful behaviours and help people get the right support to overcome their experience. It’s especially important that we try and reach out to those who are perhaps uncomfortable contacting the police. Our champions are there to make getting help easier – it’s such an important role and I’m thankful to everyone who takes it on. I want there to be hate crime champions everywhere.”

Superintendent Karl Wilson, Northumbria Police’s lead for hate crime, said: “It is absolutely unacceptable to abuse someone because of who they are and we will continue to stand together to stop this sort of prejudice.

“I’m extremely proud of the work our officers and Community Engagement Team have done developing this package as well as the ongoing progress of the hate crime champions and their impact on victims and communities. Our champions are a vital part of the work we do to tackle hate crime, they offer guidance to those in need and ensure victims receive specialist support.

“I want to thank everyone involved for their continued effort and support – nobody should be targeted for who they are and we’re here to help.”

Kim McGuinness has part funded the awareness training along with funding from the Home Office. The package is endorsed by qualification provider NCFE.

If you have been a victim of hate crime and would like support to help you recover from your experience please contact Victims First Northumbria on 0800 011 3116.

Any individuals, groups or businesses interested in becoming a ‘Hate Crime Champion’ can contact [email protected].

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