01/03/2019

Deploying resources to support those most at risk

Over the last 12 months Cleveland Police has experienced a significant period of increased demand due to serious and major crime incidents and enquiries.

In addition there has been a national increase in the number of 999 calls and Cleveland Police has experienced significant and sustained increases in the volume of calls.

In order to respond to these urgent calls, and for a temporary period, neighbourhood officers will now assist with ensuring that the most urgent calls are responded to immediately.

Cleveland Police Assistant Chief Constable Jason Harwin said: “Over the last 12 months the force has experienced a significant period of demand due to serious and major crime incidents and enquiries. In addition, there has also been a national increase in the number of 999 calls to the police and Cleveland has also experienced significant and sustained increases in the volume of calls coming into our control room.
 
“So that we can always respond to those calls from members of the public that are urgent, over the next few weeks we are asking our neighbourhood officers to also assist with ensuring that the most urgent calls are responded to immediately.
 
“Dedicated neighbourhood policing teams will continue to be a fundamental part of our offer to local communities and Police Community Support Officers will continue their problem solving and engagement work in local communities’ every day.
 
“Where local neighbourhood PCs are asked to temporarily assist with responding to emergency situations, we wish to be clear that they will only deal with incidents in their current local authority area. This means that the number of officers available in each area has not changed.
 
“The public rightly expect that if they call 999 Cleveland Police will always be there.  We must use our resources in the best way possible based upon the calls for service that we receive.
 
“By asking our neighbourhood police officers to also be available to attend emergencies in their own local areas over the coming weeks, we have received support from local staff associations and partners who recognise that the more serious calls for help must always be responded to immediately.
 
“We must use the resources we have available to respond to those most at risk of harm and 999 emergencies.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger said: “Over the past eight years successive Government cuts have seen the funding to Cleveland Police cut by £40m resulting in the loss of 500 police officers. That has had a very serious impact upon policing.

“This latest, temporary measure, allocating some neighbourhood Police Officers from patrol to emergency response, is the latest impact of those cuts.

“Under this model, Police Officers will continue to work in their neighbourhoods, though it’s absolutely right that they must prioritise 999 calls. Local commanders will be empowered to match policing services to the needs of the communities they serve.

“I remain absolutely committed to neighbourhood policing and I am pleased that our dedicated Police Community Support Officers will continue to patrol neighbourhood beats.

“I know that Cleveland Police are working closely with local authority colleagues and with national policing stakeholders, to make a success of these changes. It is important to recognise that policing nationally has lost more than 20,000 Police Officers due to austerity cuts and this means that difficult decisions are being made everywhere so that our communities are kept safe and victims of crime are looked after.

“Nowhere are these issues more keenly felt than in Cleveland and I have asked on several occasions now to meet with the Home Secretary to discuss my call for fairer funding for Cleveland Police, I have invited him to Cleveland to see first-hand the very challenging conditions in which our officers are operating. I shall continue to press the Home Secretary on this point.”