The Hampshire Police and Crime Panel (PCP) today heard that the Police and Crime Commissioner, Michael Lane, has championed and delivered positive change in a number of key areas, including domestic abuse, restorative justice, youth engagement, hate crime and in supporting female offenders, by fostering partnerships and funding specialist projects with community groups.
A detailed report was presented to the Panel following an in-depth engagement exercise, comprising interviews with more than a dozen key community organisations, including Neighbourhood Watch and Community Safety Partnerships, to understand their views on the impact the Commissioner’s work was having across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight (IoW).
The review by the PCP follows concerns expressed by the Hampshire Police Federation last year, on the ability of the Commissioner to positively impact frontline policing.
Councillor David Stewart, Chairman of the PCP said: “Our role is to ensure that the Commissioner is delivering the key priorities set out within his Crime Plan. Our findings show a positive impact on reducing demand on frontline policing and delivering services which prevent crime and support victims. While it’s acknowledged that significant work is being undertaken, much more needs to be done to consistently communicate the impact of this work to local communities.
“We are recommending that greater opportunities are found for engaging directly with key stakeholders, including police officers, ensuring they are kept well informed about the work of the Commissioner, as well as having sufficient opportunity to collaborate on key policing challenges, such as tackling knife crime. We will continue to follow this up at future meetings.”
The Panel also probed the Commissioner about how he is measuring the outcomes from the investments he is making into building a safer community. The Commissioner’s office has agreed to provide a report to the next meeting explaining how this is being undertaken.
The meeting also heard from the Chief Constable for Hampshire Constabulary, Olivia Pinkney, who attended to respond to questions on the increase in council tax for the recruitment of police officers and plans for future staffing.
Chief Constable Pinkney said: “While we are very stretched as a constabulary, recorded crime is lower than last year. This has been a year of big policing operations, such as the D-Day celebrations - one of the largest operations this force has seen. I’m pleased to report the outcomes of these events have been very successful, a real tribute to the men and woman on the frontline.”
“The funding uplift that we received through the increase in council tax is already having an impact on our work, enabling us to stabilise and grow. I am also using this opportunity to reassess and look at our processes around recruitment, vetting, training and tutoring, as well as bolstering our staff wellbeing programme to ensure our officers are well supported and able to perform at their best. The more recent announcement by the Government of investment in an additional 20,000 police officers and 6,000 police staff nationally, is a real game changer. It will take us three years to recover fully from ten years of austerity but, crucially, it now gives us the opportunity to turn the tap on recruitment ensuring greater visibility and impact within communities across the county.”
Cllr Stewart said: “We were very grateful that the Chief Constable was able to attend this meeting and provide us with the reassurance that the increased funding from the council tax is being invested in recruitment. The promised additional 210 police officers are coming into post as we speak, and are being deployed across the county where most needed. Residents can be confident in knowing there are more officers working to help keep Hampshire and the IoW safe.”