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Sunday, 21 December 2014

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Cumbria "incredibly lucky" - new PCC

CUMBRIA'S new police and crime commissioner has released his Christmas message six weeks after being elected.

Richard Rhodes said Cumbria faced challenges, but was still a "very safe county". 

His full Christmas message is below:

“It is nearly six weeks since I was elected the first Police and Crime Commissioner for Cumbria. My first observations are that we are incredibly lucky to live in a very safe county but there are still challenges that we must all work together to address to make Cumbria even safer.

“I have been impressed by the hard-work and dedication of the police officers and staff. Many go well beyond the call of duty to ensure that Cumbria remains safe. I would like to thank each and every one as they work extra hard over the busy Christmas and New Year period.

“My first priorities have been to look at the budget and the suspension of Temporary Chief Constable Stuart Hyde.

“The overall policing budget is set to reduce by a fifth. From the most up-to-date information further savings of £11.4million are required by 2016/17 with £12.1million already been delivered. This of course is challenging and will mean that some aspects of policing will have to be delivered differently. Front-line policing is a priority and I am keen that anti-social behaviour and domestic violence continue as priorities as we all know the misery that these can bring on people’s lives. Partner organisations already play a key role in the reduction of anti-social behaviour and crime but I want to progress more integrated working for the benefit of everyone.

“I am currently developing my Police and Crime Plan priorities in consultation with the Chief Constable. The Plan will form the basis of policing in Cumbria for the next few years.

“ 2013 is going to be a real opportunity to establish the role of the Commissioner and make a difference. Following on from the Police and Crime Plan I want to launch the Office of Public Engagement and the Office of Victims Support.

“My role is to work on behalf of the people of Cumbria and I see the Office of Public Engagement as being pivotal in enabling you to tell me what matters most to you in your area and what you would like to do about it. More information about how you can get involved will be released in 2013.

“The Office of Victim Support is being established to ensure victims of crime and disorder who want or need practical support following the incident are able to access it. Criminals are made to pay for their crimes through a Victim Surcharge and I will use this, when it becomes available in 2014, to commission support services for victims. In the meantime, I will work with voluntary organisations and public agencies to identify what services victims need and where I can add to what is already available.

“I believe that preventing crime, by addressing its causes, is the key to having a longer-term impact and making the best use of resources available. I will bring together the wide range of public and voluntary organisations involved with policing, community safety and criminal justice to agree and deliver improvements. Alcohol abuse is a priority area which I have already begun discussions on and I am committed to developing a new strategy which will help reduce alcohol-related crime and disorder.

“Addressing the behaviours of offenders is also vital. I want to work with relevant agencies to look at broadening the use of restorative justice, which brings together parties with a stake in an incident (such as the victims and the offender) to resolve collectively how to deal with its aftermath. It is my experience that this can have huge benefits for the victims of the crime, as well as getting the offender to accept the consequences of their actions. My priorities will be antisocial behaviour, youth offending and veterans. I will also be looking at how we continue to tackle crime in rural areas.

“I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year and I look forward to working with you in 2013.”

 

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