Where have all the officers gone?

Jaosn Ablewhite
Jaosn Ablewhite
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Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite:

The weekend before last I received my regular update from Cambridgeshire Constabulary highlighting where police officers have been deployed. Between Friday and Monday morning the force received over 1400 calls to the Force Control Room and attended:

8 sudden deaths;

71 reports of domestic abuse;

25 reports of missing persons;

109 identified suspects;

106 detained persons;

35 incidents of poaching or hare coursing;

I am frequently asked where all the police officers have gone and it frustrates me that so much of the brilliant police work happening in this county every day goes unnoticed. I’m not sure people are always aware of just how hard officers work to keep people safe and respond to emergency situations. Their work is often hidden from public view.

I regularly spend time out on patrol with officers and have witnessed first-hand the range of incidents they respond to. They could be dealing with a human trafficking incident, searching for a missing vulnerable person or on a covert operation.

While most people are asleep, police officers are still out there protecting people and apprehending offenders, quite possibly in those neighbourhoods where people claim not to see us.

The force, as with others around the country, is facing unprecedented demand on its services. It is also dealing with a changing profile of crime as well as a changing threat and risk to public safety.

Whilst it remains committed to protecting the most vulnerable people and targeting the most serious offenders, there will always be difficult decisions to make. Child sexual exploitation, terrorism, cybercrime and drug trafficking are all crimes which take officers away from the frontline but they are the type of criminality that will always remain a priority.

The new local policing model, recently announced by the constabulary, is currently being rolled out and will increase frontline warranted officers by 50 over the next year. The new structure will enable the police to maintain neighbourhood policing whilst working with communities and partners to reduce crime and protect vulnerable people.

In the last three weeks, over 3,000 of you responded to my consultation on a £12 per year council tax rise to fund more police officers. A clear theme coming out of this was that people were prepared to pay more if the money was spent on officers that could make a difference. The responses also gave me a clear indication of the broad support people have for the police. I have pledged that an extra 55 officers will be funded directly out of this increase. This will strengthen the force’s ability to increase frontline policing, reduce pressure on officers and bring offenders to justice.

As police numbers are strengthened over the next year, there should be more opportunities for people to understand just how hard our officers are working.