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Commissioner greets six months milestone

Today marks six months since Cambridgeshire’s first ever Police and Crime Commissioner took up post following election by the public in November 2012.

Sir Graham Bright has spoken about the successes as well as the challenges he has experienced during that time.

He said: “Setting the budget and police and crime objectives was challenging due to the very tight timescales involved. I had just three months to set a £132 million pound budget for an organisation of 2,400 people providing effective and efficient policing to a total population more than 800,000. I needed to publish a plan to tackle crime and community safety issues across a large geographical area, ensuring I took into account all the people the police serve.

“But it was a success because the budget put ten extra police officers on the streets and my objectives for the forthcoming year provide the Chief Constable with the firm foundation he needs, as well as the resources, to continue to do his job well.

“Now the major deadlines have been met I want to push ahead with projects that will both save money and provide effective policing.”

During the first six months since taking up his post Sir Graham’s role has been busy and varied, including:

  • Attendance and speaking at numerous meetings, listening to the views of the public and taking follow up action to address their issues, including   ‘surgeries’ enabling individuals to discuss their concerns confidentially
  • Providing funding to allow Neighbourhood Watch to communicate more effectively with communities to both tackle and prevent crime
  • Monitoring and overseeing performance which has resulted in an improvement in non-emergency call handling through the 101 service with up to 94 per cent of calls now picked up within 30 seconds
  • Ensuring long term stability for the public and Cambridgeshire Constabulary by extending the Chief Constable’s contract until six months past the next police and crime commissioner elections
  • Hosting a partnership event to share best practice and encourage local areas to look at how they work in partnership with other agencies. Staff from Glasgow Community and Safety Services shared their experience of delivering effective community safety services while rising to the challenge of coping with reduced resources. Victims Commissioner Baroness Newlove also spoke at the event
  • Forging ahead with plans to collaborate, creating new shared units with Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire to reduce costs and improve efficiency. New collaboration agreements include: Cameras, tickets and collisions, Operational Planning and Support Unit, Dog Unit and Roads Policing Unit
  • Working with the force to ensure the prioritisation of road safety, including a special operation in Cambridge to tackle anti-social cycling

Sir Graham’s areas for action for the forthcoming year and beyond are published in his Police and Crime Plan. The following are included:

  • Visible policing: using the latest mobile device technology to keep officers on the streets, not in offices completing paperwork
  • Increase the number of Special Constables
  • Ensure there is the appropriate focus on the needs of victims
  • Increase collaborative working: explore opportunities for further collaboration with other forces to contribute to £10m in savings by 2016
  • Prevention: promote effective preventative measures between the police, other agencies and partners and voluntary organisations to help stop crime before it happens
  • Encourage early intervention initiatives involving young people that aim to identify and prevent from getting into trouble those young people at most risk
  • Fostering close relationships with business to help to support reductions in crime and offending

Sir Graham said: “It has been an exceptionally busy six months as I have replaced a committee of 17 with just one. While this has speeded things up a lot, getting around to hear from and speak to everyone has been a challenge. But I’m pleased with what has been achieved and I’m looking forward to the next six months, and beyond, working with our excellent Chief Constable and his team.”