This month marks the start of the new force performance year for police forces.
On behalf of the officers and staff of Hampshire Constabulary I would like to say thank you for the support you have given us in the past year, whether that is taking an interest, sharing information, support through council tax, or working locally to keep your community safe.
I thought that you might like to hear just some of the things that your support is helping us to do. You are supporting a police force that has in the last performance year delivered almost 5,000 more criminal charges, out-of-court disposals and convictions in court compared with the previous year and has been independently graded ‘good’ in every one of the eleven categories, including how carefully we spend our budget. We are one of just 12 out of 43 forces nationally who achieved this. You are providing the resources to better train more than 4,000 of our staff and officers in spotting and preventing domestic abuse, a crime that affects thousands of children and adults in our area every year.
You have enabled us to maintain the 50% increase we made to our armed officers. As well as helping to tackle serious crime, this significantly reduces response times in the event of an incident of the horrific nature we saw in Manchester and London last year.
You are protecting neighbourhood police officers and PCSOs. Had the local council tax increase not happened, I would have had no option but to make an operational recommendation to cut some of these. You have enabled us to finish investment in our emergency control room systems, so that we are better able to identify vulnerable people and respond to help them.
You have helped us to keep the public and our police officers safe by funding an increase in protective TASER devices and the training that is needed to use them safely and ethically. You are helping us to build new skills in cyber technology, keeping ahead of criminals who use digital as their weapon of choice against vulnerable people.
You are protecting investigation teams who hunt tirelessly for the truth when serious crimes are committed, rising to the challenge of increased reporting of complex sexual offences. And, you are enabling us to keep the tap of recruitment on as dedicated officers retire - bringing in new ideas, more diversity and fresh commitment to keeping you safe.
Sometimes we aren’t good enough at telling people across our force area about this good work. The day to day of tackling criminals who we know are trying to target our young people, communities, and those who are vulnerable or have become isolated, takes precedence.
But I wanted you to know how much your support means to all of us who work with and for Hampshire’s police force.