Rising crime putting more pressure on poorly funded police, says commissioner
PUBLISHED: 18:40 03 January 2019 | UPDATED: 18:40 03 January 2019
Rising levels of crime are putting greater pressure on police officers, a police commissioner has said.
Essex police, fire and crime commissioner Roger Hirst said the pressure was rising against a backdrop of low levels of funding for the county’s force.
Crime in Essex increased overall by 11.2% between April 2017 and April 2018 compared to the previous year, although this was lower than the 15.3% national rise.
But in a New Year message published on his website, he said the force has plans in place to help ease the burden on police - including recruiting more officers and introducing a new system to allow PCs to record incidents on mobile phones - to speed up the process of paperwork.
“The demands on policing and the nature of crime is ever changing,” Mr Hirst said.
“Increasing levels of online crime, a rise in reporting of crimes such as domestic abuse and non-recent sexual abuse and the need to support other forces dealing with recent terrorist incidents and indeed mount extra activities locally due to the changing national threat level are some of the additional pressures that have had a very real impact on policing in this county.
“While pressures have grown, funding in real terms has remained restrained and Essex Police remains one of the tightest funded police forces in the country.”
He said one of the main demands from residents is “more local, visible and accessible policing.”
As well as 150 new officers having started or just about to start their duties heading into 2019, he said 122 new special constables - who are volunteers - had joined the police ranks.
“I wish them every success in their careers and thank them enormously for the contribution they will make to help keep the people of Essex safe and increase public confidence,” he said.
Mr Hirst added that Essex Police was working more closely with other organisation to assist with “intelligence gathering” to help deal with certain low-level crimes without involving the police.
There is also a plan in place to deal with violent crime to help “stop our young people getting involved in crime and reduce violence in our communities”.