Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner vows to put more bobbies on the beat

NOTTINGHAMSHIRE’S Police and Crime Commissioner says Dispatch readers ‘will see the benefit’ of more bobbies on the beat after he announced the recruitment of 150 new police officers across the county in the next year.

Paddy Tipping said that he has earmarked funding and savings in his budget for 2013/14 to enable a major investment in frontline policing, which comes after the number of police officers leaving the force was ‘significantly higher’ than forecast.

According to the budget report, this has resulted in there being around 30 less bobbies than the number budgeted for, with just under 80 officers expected to retire or leave the force during next financial year.

The Commissioner also plans to recruit 120 more police officers every year until 2015 - plus there will be 35 new PCSOs this year, 35 next year and 30 the year after that.

Mr Tipping said: “My commitment was to get more officers out on the streets and the important thing about these 150 officers is that they are neighbourhood team officers and will be on the streets.

“All Dispatch readers will see the benefit.”

Nottinghamshire Police continues to face financial challenges because of Government cuts to its funding, with a £42m - or 20 per cent - cut over the next four years.

“This means that Nottinghamshire is underfunded each year by £10.5m so there’s a lot of work to be done in minimising the shortfall,” Mr Tipping said.

The budget sets out where efficiencies have been and will be made and the proposals, which go before the Police and Crime Panel this week, also suggest increasing the amount of council tax paid to the police by 1.95 per cent, to generate an additional £1m for the force.

Members are being recommended to support this.

Mr Tipping said: “The cost for most Dispatch readers is four pence a week.

“We have carried out consultation and without doubt, the vast majority of people are prepared to pay that four pence for extra officers and PCSOs.”

Nottinghamshire Police’s Assistant Chief Officer (resources), Margaret Monckton, said: “These new recruits will be filling vacancies that we expect to have at the end of this financial year and replacing individuals we expect to leave next year.

“Since the funding cuts were first applied we have delivered savings through a combination of restructuring, better procurement, rationalising the estate, fleet reduction and collaboration.

“The work we have done has enabled us to deliver performance at a lower cost, but we have also been able to build up reserves to enable investment in the future.

“We will therefore continue to recruit over the next four years to maintain, and eventually, increase, our numbers for police officers, PCSOs and police staff.”

Mr Tipping said that though crime has been falling in Nottinghamshire, it will not continue if resources are cut and this is the reason why it is so important to recruit more police.

“Ultimately there comes a point when you can’t afford to lose anymore police officers,” he said.

“The age of the police force is getting older because we have not been recruiting. A big input over the next 12 months of 150 extra officers will lift morale, give visible presence on the street and I do think it will make a difference.”

Coun Warren Nuttall, Ashfield District Council’s Portfolio Holder for community protection, welcomed the news of extra officers on the beat in Ashfield.

He said: “The council supports any proposals which will bring additional resources into Ashfield and which will help continue the significant reductions in crime which have been seen in the area over the last few years.”