HAMPSHIRE’S police chief constable how vowed to ‘take the fight to criminals’ when a major boost in officer numbers comes in and said: ‘We will reduce crime.’
Top officer Olivia Pinkney spoke to The News on the day her force opened recruitment for detectives in a bid to form the fighting force fit to tackle crime in the modern day.
It comes as prime minister Boris Johnson promised 20,000 officers for Britain over three and a half years.
Speaking on Thursday, Mrs Pinkney said: ‘The opportunity is huge. We will be able to deliver a better service, we will be able to reduce crime. We will be able to address that unprecedented pressure that’s grown year on year for the last decade.’
She added: ‘It will help with investigating crime, it will help engaging communities and take the fight to criminals and do more proactive work, and stop organised criminals. It will help with all of that.’
Mrs Pinkney said it was a ‘really exciting opportunity’ to train the ‘next generation’ of police officers - backed by the experience and knowledge of existing staff.
‘It’s an opportunity to bring in skills that we know we need,’ she said.
In Hampshire overall crime, excluding fraud, reduced to 158,924 records in the year to March 2019, down from 159,541 in the previous 12 months.
Portsmouth saw an eight per cent drop in overall crime.
But more detailed Office for National Statistics figures show that in Portsmouth the types of offending that increased were violent crimes, drug offences, weapon possession, robbery, theft from the person offences, and stalking or harassment crimes.
Havant saw a two per cent increase overall. East Hampshire saw a seven per cent increase.
There was no change to overall crime in Fareham, while Gosport saw a drop of three per cent.
Mrs Pinkney vowed to deploy officers in proactive roles ‘stopping crime happening’ as well as investigating it.
She said she was committed to tackling concerns over ‘serious violence, some of which is linked to county lines’ drugs gangs.
Alex Charge, who represents rank-and-file officers as Hampshire Police Federation chairman, said the increase could mean people reporting crimes such as stolen bikes from outbuildings would now start to get a response beyond just receiving a crime reference number.
‘The devil is in the detail but it’s a really, really positive thing,’ he said. ‘We need resources everywhere - we’ve been asking for it, the government now appears to be listening.’
Hampshire police and crime commissioner Michael Lane said: ‘It’s really important that we understand that we’ve been under a difficult time of constrained budgets.
‘We know that having more officers in the frontline will make a difference. ‘
He added: ‘This is great news, it is progress. It’s not the answer to everything but it’s a fantastic step in the right direction.’
Hampshire police will first recruit detectives and then uniformed officers by November. Government has not said how many officers the force can recruit.