The expenditure proposed by Alison Hernandez for the 2023-24 financial year would provide Devon and Cornwall Police with a revenue budget of £384m, enabling the force to maintain budgeted officer strength at the highest level since records began (3,610) and taking the total number of ‘front desks’ to 23.
The force’s new Chief Constable, Will Kerr, will today address the panel and discuss his priorities of improving access to the force and visibility in communities, getting investigative and behavioural standards right and looking after officers, staff and volunteers.
The Commissioner’s drive to reopen police stations begun in earnest this financial year, with police enquiry desks reopening in Newton Abbot, Tiverton, Penzance, Truro, Bude and Falmouth. The project led to 24 new enquiry police enquiry officers being recruited from local communities who, when not dealing with the face-to-face enquiries, assist with demand on the 101 non-emergency contact service.
The budget, which will be presented to the Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Panel in Plymouth today (Friday, January 27) will see an increase the policing element of council tax (the precept) by 6% (£15 on a band D property) on the 2022/23 budget.
It also details a proposed £3.2m spend on services for those affected by crime, on projects ranging from high quality support for victims of sexual assault to the Keyham community affected by the shooting of August 12, 2021.
In recent surveys of residents of the force area 70% of respondents either supported or strongly supported further investment in front desks and 65% said they would use these facilities to pass information on what was happening in their communities to policing teams.
The Commissioner said: “The Chief Constable and I are committed to a model of neighbourhood policing that people tell me they want to see. That means officers having the time to build relationships with the people they serve, understanding the communities they work within and dealing with problems at root cause, before situations escalate.
“I support a relentless focus on a model of policing which started here in Devon and Cornwall and which has served us well, with the force consistently achieving among the lowest recorded crime statistics in England and Wales.
“I’d like to thank the 7,318 people who took the time to tell me how they feel about policing by taking part in my surveys, as well as those who have written to me or telling me via our community engagement processes. This budget has the voice of Devon and Cornwall residents running through it thanks to their efforts.”
Full details of today’s meeting and advice on how proceedings can be followed online can be found online at www.plymouth.gov.uk.