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A new four year strategy committing Northumbria Police to preventing and fighting crime is ready to be signed off by Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness. The plan makes official the public’s policing priorities, including boosting officer numbers and tackling serious organised crime.

More than 5,900 residents across the North East responded to surveys, online discussions, and by phone, to tell Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, what good policing looks like to them and their local communities. Nearly every person surveyed, whether living in urban, rural or coastal areas, placed great importance on neighbourhood policing, and backed plans for visible policing in their area.

The plan includes a commitment to tackling serious and organised crime, with a promise to hire 60 new detectives as part of this; a commitment to working with councils, housing providers and others to build on ASB task forces used during the Covid pandemic; targeted efforts to keep young people out of gangs as part of a Violence Reduction Unit, and a promise to publish upfront regular crime data showing the public how their force is responding to their needs.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: “Our region has come together to create this plan at what is a crucial time for policing. We are all learning to live with and recover from a pandemic which has placed immense strain on people including our hardworking officers, staff and volunteers. It’s vital we don’t stop fighting crime because of Covid.

“This is a plan setting about what the people of our region want – families, businesses and organisations – and I represent their voices. They’ve all shared their needs and expectations from their police and the force will now deliver on them, and I’ll work to ensure the force has the resources it needs, from putting officers on the streets to disrupting serious and organised crime at every level.

“We know that times of hardship, recession and uncertainty can lead some into crime. We need to be doing all we can to prevent this and my Violence Reduction Unit will continue playing a key role supporting our police with this work – it’s about keeping ahead of the game.”

Kim added: “Thankfully, the North East is one of the safest places to live in the country and we are lucky to have a force that listens well, responds to views and ideas and puts them into action. I will do everything within my power to give the force the resources it needs to fight crime and keep you safe and I look forward to working closely with the Chief Constable to bring about some really positive change for our region.

“We’ll be hiring more police officers and supporting youth services to help your neighbourhood and keep our streets safe. I know that building our force back up is what local people want to see. After a decade of cuts people want to have a strong police force fit for the future, serving communities and supporting victims well. So that’s what this plan sets out to achieve and part of my job will be ensuring I keep you updated with the progress we make.”

The 6 key priorities, identified following the public consultation are:

FIGHTING CRIME

  1. Tackling anti-social behaviour
  2. Reducing crime

PREVENTING CRIME

  1. Preventing violent crime
  2. Neighbourhood policing

IMPROVING LIVES

  1. Supporting Victims
  2. Tackling domestic abuse and sexual violence

 

To mark the launch, the Police and Crime Commissioner will be joined by Chief Constable Winton Keenen for a live Facebook event – an opportunity for local residents to put their questions to the region’s top policing figures about the new set of priorities and how the force will deliver on them. To submit a question or to join the event follow Northumbria PCC’s Facebook page (@KiMcGuinness) for more information.

The Police and Crime Plan will be available to download at www.northumbria-pcc.gov.uk after it is discussed by the Police and Crime Panel on Tuesday 2nd February.

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Statement from LA7 leaders

100,000 deaths signals a grim milestone in the fight against Covid-19

“Every single one of us has suffered as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the sacrifices we make are done so in an attempt to save as many lives as possible so to see the death toll pass 100,000 loved ones is a sobering reminder as to how deadly this virus is.

“Every life lost brings sadness and grief to that person’s family and friends, and that so many have died over the past 12 months is incredibly tough to take.

“Our own communities in the North East have experienced this grief and as we mourn for those who have lost their lives, we must try and take solace in the fact that countless more have been saved as a result of the efforts made by everyone in our region.

“While we await widespread protection through vaccines, which will still take some months to achieve, we must all continue doing what we can to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our wider communities.

“Stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary, maintain your distance from others at all times, keep washing your hands and wearing a face covering where required unless exempt.

“Infection rates remain high, especially with the more transmissible variant of the virus accounting for a significant number of cases, and there can be no room for complacency.

“One area we are continuing to see outbreaks is in workplaces and of course anyone who can work from home should do so. But if you do have to leave home for work, we would ask that employers and their staff make every possible effort to operate in a Covid-secure manner, which includes following the Hands, Face, Space guidance in breakout areas and not mixing bubbles in travel to and from work.

“There is still a long way to go in the fight against this virus, with lessons to be learned and questions to be answered. Quick solutions are needed for our schoolchildren still learning home, and our businesses need support to survive this period of inactivity.

“The pandemic has caused so much pain already and we must do what we can to minimise further loss of life. Please, stay at home, follow the Hands, Face, Space guidance, and self-isolate and book a test if you develop symptoms. Thank you.”

Cllr Simon Henig, CBE, Leader, Durham County Council
Cllr Martin Gannon, Leader, Gateshead Council
Cllr Nick Forbes, CBE, Leader, Newcastle City Council
Norma Redfearn CBE, Elected Mayor, North Tyneside Council
Cllr Glen Sanderson, Leader, Northumberland County Council
Cllr Tracey Dixon, Leader, South Tyneside Council
Cllr Graeme Miller, Leader, Sunderland City Council
Jamie Driscoll, North of Tyne Mayor
Kim McGuinness, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner

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Police Commissioner Kim McGuinness is proposing a slight increase in the police precept with the average household set to pay 57p a month more in order to fund new police posts.
The Northumbria Police Commissioner said a 4.99% increase in the policing share of local council tax bills will be invested directly in to the force – with 60 new detectives hired as a result.
The funding plans, to be signed off on Tuesday (February 2), will see bills for a Band A property increase by 38p a month and will raise £2.7m for the police. Government rules this year mean the maximum the Northumbria police precept could have increased by is 10.95%, an increase the Police Commissioner said would be too high given the ongoing financial difficulty many households face.
In two surveys asking for views on how to fund local policing, the majority of people who took part said they would be happy to support some additional investment in their police force.
Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness said the increase will be used to support a new Police and Crime Plan designed around fighting crime, preventing crime and improving lives.
That plan, to be published later this month, sets the priorities for Northumbria Police for the next four years will include a new focus on tackling serious organised crime at every level.
Ms McGuinness said: “The coronavirus pandemic has drastically changed society, but while we respond to that and work together to get through this, it’s important we are also planning for the future.
“When I asked people what they need from Northumbria Police, they made clear they want a force that is backed to keep us all safe. So I’m today supporting those aims with a funding plan for the biggest targeted recruitment of police investigators in the force’s history.
“Like you, I want a police force that is equipped to get on with the job of targeting and disrupting organised crime, as well as bringing to justice others who break the law.”
The new investigators set to be hired as a result of the increase will be in addition to the more than 300 new officers brought in as part of a record breaking recruitment campaign currently underway at Northumbria Police.
Government recruitment targets allocated to Northumbria Police to date total 366 officers, with 185 being delivered by March 2021 and a further target of 181 by March 2022.
The budget provided by the Commissioner for 2021/22 will include recruitment plans to also replace more than 200 retiring and departing officers in addition to delivery of the Uplift targets set by Government.
In addition, in order to address the increase in demand and complexity of investigations, the Council Tax precept increase proposed by the Commissioner will be used to deliver a further 60 police officer investigator posts in 2021/22, over and above existing recruitment plans and the Uplift target set by government.
Ms McGuiness said: “Government austerity has seen 1,100 police officers lost to the force as a result of cuts worth £140m. The Government said it wants to reverse that austerity, but it is going nowhere near far enough. That’s why I’m working with the chief constable to get more officers in to Northumbria Police and keeping the focus on fighting crime, preventing crime and improving lives.
The proposals are set to be discussed at a meeting of the Police and Crime Panel on February 2nd, where the new Police and Crime Plan will also be presented.
ENDS

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LATEST figures from Northumbria Police reveal that assaults on officers were up 38 per cent between April and December 2020 compared to the same period the previous year and assaults using spitting or relating to COVID  have accounted for 29 per cent of those recorded.

These numbers are a stark reminder of the extra risk our police and other key workers face every day, says Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness as she repeats calls to the Government to announce plans for the police’s place on the priority list.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said:

“You can’t argue with these numbers – they show exactly what our police and other emergency workers are being exposed to. I’m talking about really disgusting behaviour where they are fought with, spat at, coughed at and basically being threatened with the virus. For these workers social distancing isn’t even a choice.

“The only solution is an urgent vaccination programme and this needs to happen to keep our workforce numbers strong at what is a crucial time for everyone. This is not only about police officer safety, this is about ensuring public safety too. We don’t have an endless supply of police officers that we can roll out to deal with day to day demands and additional COVID related policing, that’s why it’s so important we do all we can to look after the ones we’ve got.”

She added: “There are, I appreciate, many people who are key workers and deserve to be high on that list too, of course, but for our police including some staff and volunteers, the risks are notably huge.

“I couldn’t agree more when Government says how brave our police are and what an incredible job they are doing but what we really want them to say is when will they get vaccinated. We need a plan and it needs to be put into action. The devil is in the detail on this and we would welcome urgency – that’s the very least our police and their families deserve.”

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THOUSANDS HAVE THEIR VIEWS ON POLICING & CRIME HEARD, AS POLICE COMMISSIONER ANNOUNCES FUTURE POLICING PLAN

Northumbria’s Police & Crime Commissioner calls on residents to give their views on her proposed Police & Crime Plan following months of feedback, consultation and opinion gathering across the region.

 The Police & Crime Plan, the document used by the Police & Crime Commissioner to hold the forces Chief Constable to account, has been published in draft form and the Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, is calling on residents to have their say on it.

Following months of consultation, the Commissioner has now proposed her plan for the next 4 years titled ‘Fighting Crime, Preventing Crime’ – priorities in the plan include tackling anti-social behaviour, preventing violent crime and focusing on neighbourhood policing.

Commenting on the response to the consultation, Kim said: “I’m delighted that the people of Northumbria have come forward and given their views – this plan reflects those and aims to deliver on our communities priorities and concerns.”

“I will use the plan to hold the force to account and ensure that we are continuing to deliver a high quality service that our communities expect. Despite the challenges the force have faced in the past 12 months, we’ve still managed to proactively fight crime and this is reflected in the continued fall in crime across the region.”

As an impact of national lockdown and other resulting factors, there was a 13% fall in total recorded crime during the recorded period ending June 2019 in comparison in the same period ending 2020.

Kim continued: “There have been some clear themes and issues highlighted during the consultation period, and I will work with the Chief Constable to address these and ensure they are addressed. Within the plan I have committed to reporting back regularly on our progress, and I believe this transparency is important for communities to understand how we are addressing their concerns.”

Of the priorities identified in the draft plan, anti-social behaviour was the crime with the noticeable increase in reported instances, largely attributed to Covid-19 related issues. Overall ASB increased by 68% during April to August 2020 in comparison to the same period of the previous year.

At the peak during April and May, up to 53% of ASB instances were linked to Covid-19.

Commenting on the changing crime types, Kim said: “The past year has of course been a different one for the force, but they’ve responded professionally and responded accordingly. There has obviously been a change in crime patterns as a result of lockdowns, curfews and restrictions, but as we edge towards a way out of this pandemic, my focus is very much on ensuring crime levels remain as low as we’ve seen throughout the Covid period.”

The plan can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/PCP21Draft – and the public can have their say by emailing [email protected] until Thursday 21st January 2021.

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