HAMPSHIRE Constabulary has been praised for its ‘innovative’ way of tackling crime despite spending cuts.
Home secretary Theresa May highlighted the way the force is leading others in relation to technology and the use of body-worn cameras as a means of capturing crime scenes.
Earlier this summer, it was awarded £362,800 to expand its use of body-worn cameras, paving the way for it to become the first force to roll out the technology.
‘Hampshire has been an innovative police force, particularly in the work it has done around technology,’ Mrs May said.
‘Their push for digitalisation, the work they have done with body-worn cameras, has been very innovative and I know this is something a number of forces are looking at and considering taking up.’ Mrs May praised the fact crime has gone down by more than 20 per cent in the county despite the budget being squeezed.
‘When we first announced that police forces were going to have a take a cut in their budget, we heard a number of voices say to us that there was no way you could see cuts and see crime fall, but in Hampshire there has been more than a 20 per cent reduction in crime since 2010,’ she said.
‘I believe our police reforms are working and forces can be more effective and it’s not about the amount of money you are spending, it’s about how you are spending that money.
She added: ‘As a police force, Hampshire has been looking at ways it can provide for things people need, while at the same time ensuring it is using taxpayers’ money effectively.’
It comes despite the announcement earlier this year that the force would have to save another £25m by April 2017 due to government spending cuts, resulting in a further 535 posts being cut, amounting to a 27 per cent reduction in officers and staff.
Mrs May also revealed a pilot scheme being tried out in Sussex to see if alternative ‘safe places’ for mentally-ill patients are available could be rolled out in Hampshire.
It is part of a drive first announced 18 months ago to end the use of police cells as safe havens for mentally ill people to cut costs and because officers do not necessarily have the expertise to deal with their problems.
‘The point of doing the pilot scheme is to see if this works, and if it does then it’s something I would like to see rolled out more widely,’ Mrs May said.
‘As a government we have done more than has been done before to ensure people who the police come into contact with, who have mental health problems, are dealt with in the ways that are best for them.’
To read the main story on Theresa May’s visit to The News’ headquarters click here.