Over 30 residents heard Vera Baird, the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Northumbria, address the Annual Parish Meeting on 20 April and describe her role and the issues facing Northumbria Police. She explained the police priority setting process and the five existing priorities:
- Putting Victims at the heart of the Criminal Justice System
- Tackling Antisocial Behaviour
- Sexual and Domestic Abuse
- Cutting Crime and
- Community Confidence
Ms Baird spoke about two additional areas of responsibility that had been given to PCCs – supporting victims and restorative justice. The significant budget reductions were highlighted and the commitment to retain front line staff. Close to home, this will eventually result in the closure of Prudhoe Police Station. Response officers are already based at Hexham with no reduction in response times but the new local base for neighbourhood officers has not been identified.
Accompanied by the local neighbourhood policing inspector, Julie Cole and the chief inspector for communities in Northumberland and North Tyneside, Nicola Musgrove, Ms Baird took a range of questions from the audience. The key message from the police is that, irrespective of police numbers, local residents know their area best. Local residents see when things out of the ordinary happen and the police encourage reports of suspicious activity. Residents should not be concerned about fears of wasting police time – it’s important to make the call rather than regret it later.
Residents who want to receive the Community Messaging from the neighbourhood team can do so by completing the relevant form (click here) and sending it to the neighbourhood team.