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More neighbourhood and response officers as funding plans outlined

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The public will see 187 officers redeployed into high-visibility neighbourhood policing and response roles in communities across Nottinghamshire over the next year, as part of police funding plans outlined today.

It comes as Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry announced her intention to maintain officer numbers at over 2,400 – as well as 150 PCSOs.

Commissioner Henry spoke about the plans as part of a presentation on the proposed police precept and draft budget for 2024-25, which went before the Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Panel at County Hall today (Monday 5 February).

She revealed that following a demand review, the force was set to reallocate 105 PCs to neighbourhood policing roles and 72 PCs and 10 Sergeants to response policing roles.

Neighbourhood police officers – often referred to as Bobbies on the beat – are officers who are dedicated to community issues including problem solving, crime prevention and enforcement in the 12 neighbourhood policing areas across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.

Response officers are the officers who are dispatched in patrol cars across the force to answer public calls for help – including emergency blue light calls.

A pledge for officers to attend all burglaries will also be maintained and the force will have a dedicated lead for shop thefts, as part of the plans.

After careful consideration of public views in a consultation exercise, Commissioner Henry also asked the panel to support her intention to increase the council tax precept by 4.8%, which is an increase of £12.96 on a Band D property to £282.15 a year.

Commissioner Henry said: “Police officer numbers is one of the key issues that people tell me is important to them when I’m out and about in the community - and our engagement and consultation exercise has also shown a real strength of feeling around this.

“The consultation also highlighted that many people have been struggling with the cost of living, but despite this the majority supported a modest increase in the precept.

“It is a difficult balance to get right, as staffing costs make up around two thirds of all Nottinghamshire Police’s expenditure. But through some prudent efficiency savings, some additional Government grants and a modest increase in the council tax precept, we can safeguard those high police officer numbers that people want to see in their neighbourhoods.

“The force is looking to redeploy more officers to those high-visibility neighbourhood policing roles, and these budget plans mean the resources remain in place to do that.”

The budget plans identify £5.2m of savings and efficiencies to help reduce the burden on the taxpayer.

This includes £2m of efficiencies due to service redesigns, removal of temporary posts and the conclusion of fixed-term contracts. A total of £2.5m has been found from investment income and reduced interest paid on loans, while £700,000 has been found through savings from premises, computing, supplies and additional income.

A robust consultation exercise has taken place to help determine how the precept should be set.

This includes speaking to around 5,000 people, through a door-to-door survey, an online survey, focus groups and pop-up stalls across all areas of the city and county. Every method of consultation showed higher levels of support for an increase than those who did not.

Commissioner Henry told the panel she would also be safeguarding the £4.2m budget for grants and commissioning through the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire to continue vital work to support victims and prevent crime, help people feel safe and protect them from becoming victims of crime.

Other highlights of the plans for the coming financial year include:

  • Maintaining a high-level response rate to 999 calls.
  • Improving prosecution rates through greater synergy in investigations.
  • Improvements to responding via rapid video response.

The panel voted to support the recommendations and a final decision on the precept will be made by Commissioner Henry in the coming days.

Posted on Monday 5th February 2024
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