A Statement from Acting Police and Crime Commissioner, Ray Bisby re: Cambridgeshire Constabulary’s proposed changes to neighbourhood policing
October 22nd, 2020
I am incredibly proud of all the officers, staff, special constabulary and other volunteers that have dealt with the Covid crisis and worked tirelessly to support communities, keep them safe and at the same time still continued their normal, everyday policing work, provided support to vulnerable victims and tackled offending.
Particularly at this time, losing staff in this way is something that no Chief Constable or Commissioner ever wants to do and I recognise that for those staff involved that this will be a very worrying time.
Myself and the Chief Constable continue to present the case nationally for a fairer funding allocation for Cambridgeshire. Our county is currently 5th lowest in the country in terms of funding per head of population.
In that context, difficult choices must be made.
The Chief Constable runs Cambridgeshire Constabulary on a day to day basis and balances the competing demands for the resources he has. It is my role to ensure that the Chief Constable has the resources he needs to run the force and it is for me to determine whether he is doing that effectively and efficiently.
Members of the public have consistently told both me and my predecessors that they want to see more officers on the ground. I want to make it very clear that we have listened to the public and for successive years we have increased the number of police officers in Cambridgeshire.
We already have the highest number of officers Cambridgeshire has ever had and expect at least a further 140 from the national Uplift Programme over the next two years.
There is no doubt that neighbourhood policing is important and we have worked together to ensure that there are more officers year on year working in our neighbourhoods.
Whilst the uplift programme for new police officers is welcome, and the Government has provided funding for these officers, there are additional costs incurred to support them, such as training.
It is important that I continue to ensure the long-term financial sustainability of the organisation.
Both the Chief Constable and myself continue to look for savings where we can, but the reality is that the majority of the budget is spent on officers and staff and the functions that enable them to do their jobs leaving a very small proportion of the budget remaining from which to make any required savings.
The cost of policing rises every year. As the service becomes more professionalised and services more specialised, this inevitably brings further costs. Additionally, police services are modernising all the time, with an ongoing need to invest in technology. This enables the staff we have to work more effectively and be more visible in communities.
Whilst the Chief has discussed his workforce proposals with me, now that the staff consultation has begun, I have asked him to formerly present these at my Business Coordination Meeting* next Wednesday 28th October, the reports and minutes of which are published.
As your Acting Commissioner, if you have any concerns about the proposed changes, or any other matters please get in touch with me by emailing email@example.com. I will discuss these with the Chief at my meeting next week (as outlined above).