New police officers begin roles in Peterborough - and they will target Central Park drug taking
New officers to tackle anti-social behaviour across Peterborough have started their roles - and one area they will target is reported drug taking in Central Park.
Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite announced the introduction of nine new neighbouring policing officers in an interview with the Peterborough Telegraph after being joined at the park by the city’s Conservative parliamentary candidate Paul Bristow, and the party’s national chairman James Cleverly, where they spoke to park users.
Of those nine new officers, six are based in the Eastern section in Peterborough which covers Central Park.
The boost to neighbourhood numbers follows a Local Policing Review which is leading to the recruitment of 50 new officers across the county.
Mr Ablewhite said he wanted a greater focus on prevention, and that he recognised how important “lower risk issues” are to residents.
He told the PT: “Police are doing a great job in this city in terms of keeping a lid on drugs, but unless less people are buying drugs we won’t be able to deal with the core issue.
“It does come down to resourcing. We’re dealing with child abuse, sexual offences, domestic abuse and mental health vulnerabilities - these will have higher level of response than lower risk issues.
“But we recognise even though they are lower risk issues they have quality of life impact on residents. What we are seeing is an uplift of another six officers in the Eastern section in the Peterborough area for neighbouring policing. This can only be positive for those issues.”
The directly elected crime chief said he had been banging the drum for more officers with the Government, and he hopes to find out soon how many extra officers Cambridgeshire police will get as part of a promised 20,000 increase from Boris Johnson.
He said Peterborough had seen a “big chunk” of recent increases to officer numbers in the county, with more than 80 starting in the northern sector covering Peterborough and Fenland in the last 18 months following increases to the council tax precept for policing.
Cambridgeshire police is projected to have 1,496 officers in the current financial year, compared to 1,452 in 2010 when cuts were made.
Mr Ablewhite also revealed that response times had “significantly improved” recently, and that the constabulary is “ready to give mutual aid” with other forces should there be widespread demonstrations following a no deal Brexit.
Mr Bristow said: “There has been a growing number of reports of anti-social behaviour at Central Park, particularly drug taking at night.
“Jason takes anti-social behaviour very seriously.
“There’s real anxiety amongst people that a crown jewel of Peterborough might be detrimentally affected by anti-social behaviour. That’s why we need extra police officers and I will always press for this.”
Mr Cleverly was invited by Mr Bristow to visit Central Park as he goes around the East of England to discuss Conservative policies.
Asked why cuts to policing were now being reversed, he said: “The big job the Conservatives had to do when we entered government was to repair the economic damage the previous Labour Government had created.
“The Government had to make some tough decisions to balance the public finances to make sure the economy did not crash any further.
“We have been able to stabilise the economy and turn it around.
“I can’t predict when an election might come, but Paul has been campaigning permanently since selected and his passion is very clear to deliver good quality services.
“We will deliver Brexit then we want to focus on delivering public services.”