Cleveland’s Police and Crime Commissioner has warned that there will be ‘very tough decisions’ ahead in 2013 but that he is committed to working with the force, partner organisations—and the public—in ensuring that policing in the area meets the needs of local communities.
He has also pledged that, despite further spending cuts in the year ahead, Neighbourhood Policing will be protected.
Barry Coppinger, who took over responsibility for overseeing policing in Cleveland just over a month ago, says that in the coming weeks his priorities will be appointing a new permanent Chief Constable; setting the force’s budget for the coming year and the council tax precept; finalising the Police and Crime Plan…and launching his ‘Your Force, Your Voice’ initiative, the biggest public consultation exercise ever undertaken in the history of Cleveland Police.
The Commissioner revealed that, under the Government’s funding proposals for the coming financial year, there would be a further cut of almost £1.5million in the grant for Cleveland on top of the reductions over the past two years.
He explained “We cannot ignore the scale of the cuts which policing has had to face—in Cleveland’s case these equate to a £14.7million cash reduction in Government funding over three years…that’s the equivalent of 300 police officers.
“There has been no choice but to reduce the size of the overall organisation and the drive for savings will have to continue, but, as we move into the New Year, I want to again underline the pledge I made during the Commissioner elections…we will retain and continue to develop Neighbourhood Policing, which is the bedrock of ensuring that people are safe on their streets and in their homes.
“It is certainly going to be a very busy period ahead—we face a very tight timescale in setting the budget for the coming financial year and agreeing the Police and Crime Plan for 2013 to 2016. I hope that as many people as possible will take the opportunity to give their views on my proposals in the plan before the end of January, to meet the deadline set for publication of end of March.
“Another major decision will be the appointment of a permanent Chief Constable, who will work with me in creating the stability needed after a very difficult and challenging period for the force.
“What makes Police and Crime Commissioners different from what has gone before is that we are elected by local people and directly accountable to local people and I am determined to ensure I use every opportunity to work with people in planning the way ahead.
“Since coming into office I have been working on developing the ‘Your Force, Your Voice’ initiative, which will involve me attending public meetings in every one of the force’s Neighbourhood Police Team areas, as well as meeting with all specialist policing units. I want the public to tell me what is good and what could be better - and I also want officers to identify any unnecessary barriers to them intervening in the way the public would wish.”
" I would like to thank everyone who works in the Cleveland area to keep our communities safe and wish all, and their families, a happy New Year "
Information about ‘Your Force, Your Voice’ and how people can comment on the draft Police and Crime Plan can be found on the Commissioner’s website www.cleveland.pcc.police.uk.
Posted on Wednesday 2nd January 2013