I believe in protecting local policing for two reasons. Firstly because it works. Having local officers embedded in their communities, working with public and partner agencies is a really effective way of preventing crime and I believe plays a big role in making Hertfordshire the really safe place to live and work that it is today. Secondly it is the style of policing the public tell me they prefer. They want visible local police officers, who they can get to know, who understand their needs and who they can hold to account when problems arise.
This type of policing is becoming increasingly rare in the rest of the UK and is often being replaced by “response” policing where officers are dispatched centrally to deal with crimes as they happen. This may be a cheaper option but I think it’s a false economy. It risks weakening some of those essential links which bind the police and communities together and which play a vital role in keeping us safe and preventing crime from happening in the first place.
That’s why as Police and Crime Commissioner I have been determined to protect local policing in Hertfordshire. When, like all forces we faced tough savings targets I insisted that those savings were delivered by focussing on efficiencies in back office services and collaboration with neighbouring forces rather than by cutting officer numbers. As a result, following the further boost in recruitment we are now seeing from the government's police uplift programme we will soon have the largest police force in Hertfordshire's history.
Most importantly I have ensured that local policing is protected in Hertfordshire’s police and crime plan, which has the force of law behind it. It says that the constabulary must retain its local team in every district and borough in Hertfordshire- and that means having a proper police station in each area as well.