Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness has set out her plans for policing during the lockdown and the crucial changes that will need to happen as the region looks to recovery.

From monitoring fines issued by frontline officers to preparing plans for any post-lockdown crime spikes, the document sets out how the police commissioner holds Northumbria Police to account on behalf of the public.

The PCC has set out how she wants to support police officers and staff during the outbreak and ensure the force is equipped for the ‘new normal’ as attention shifts to the recovery phase of the pandemic.

This includes monitoring the force’s workforce resilience as well as ensuring the police are ready for the changing nature of crime both during and after the outbreak.

A new Coronavirus Response Document published by the police commissioner sets out the changing way the force’s performance will be measured, and how the commissioner will work with the chief constable to ensure public safety.

It includes:

  • Regular reporting from the force to the commissioner on the number of enforcement notices issued and assurance of standards and legitimacy around these.
  • Ensuring plans are in place to support people trapped at home with a violent partner during the lockdown.
  • A renewed focus supporting the local services that help turn young adults away from a life of violent crime as a vital part of the region’s recovery planning.
  • Co-ordinating the work of the police and local justice system to ensure there are plans in place for any post-lockdown rise in crime.
  • Ensuring the force continues with plans to recruit hundreds of new and replacement police officers and staff.

The Commissioner has made clear that while the immediate priority is on reducing the spread of the outbreak, the weeks ahead will need to see a new focus on recovery, and has started working with others on plans for this.

While crime rates have fallen drastically overall during the stay at home period, these rates may well increase in the coming months. Plans for this, the Commissioner said, must reflect the potential impact of any long term unemployment in the north east as it faces up to an uncertain economic outlook.

Kim McGuinness said: “Our region has been through a lot in this pandemic, and we are far from over the worst of it. Your police force is working hard to keep us all safe and to sensibly enforce the social distancing rules.

“But we know that the challenges our region face are about more than just how many people are in the park. The long term effects of the outbreak risk deep economic harm, and it is vital our region’s recovery plans consider all the implications of this. We’ve seen recessions and crime go hand in hand before, and I’m committed to working with the chief constable to ensuring our policing plans are flexible and ready to respond to the changing face of this emergency.

“That means continuing to invest in the crime prevention services that keep our neighbourhoods strong, especially the youth and community centres that will play a vital role in the recovery phase.”

Throughout the outbreak the Commissioner has headed calls for Government to provide testing and personal protective equipment to police officers and staff. Lobbying to secure sufficient PPE continues, alongside weekly discussions with Government ministers on the latest Coronavirus issues.

To see the plan in full visit: www.northumbria-pcc.gov.uk/police-crime-plan/coronavirus-response-plan/