Prevention Better Than Cure
HIRA April 2023
Donna Jones, Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire and IOW, delivered an excellent account of her responsibilities and team’s work in her plan “More Police Safer Streets” at HIRA’s February public meeting. Policing consistently ranks as one of residents’ key concerns so HIRA enabled Islanders to directly listen to and question our elected Commissioner; consequently both audience and Donna enjoyed a lively exchange of views on local issues throughout the evening. Together with Detective Chief Inspector Roger Wood and Sergeant Darren Butterworth, Donna provided an extraordinary range and depth of insight into her role in the funding, management and practicalities of local policing. In 2012, legislation transferred the control of police forces from police authorities to elected Police and Crime Commissioners, to focus on combining shared efforts to improve the outcome for victims of crime. In May 2022 Habib Rahman was appointed the new District Commander with more responsibility for community policing in Havant and East Hampshire, working with CID. How does this affect our local policing?
Her public consultation 2020 showed the main requirement was for more and visible police on the streets, reduction of knife crime and desire for ‘front desks’ policing. Donna has funded an additional 102 officers to the Home Office uplift of 518 Police Constables, projected for the end of March 2023. Her view is our region needs 1,000 more, due to our population, its large rural areas with their complex policing, 2 cities and Basingstoke’s proximity to London. As Commissioner she sets the terms for the Chief Constable Scott Chilton, recently appointed, who supports her new targets: to drive up performance, increase police visibility, and give neighbourhood policing priority and funding. This includes a named local ‘bobby’ e.g. for Hayling Island.
One of her key principles is ‘prevention is better than cure’ so Donna commissions over £9million to services that tackle root causes of crime, provide outreach to prevent re-offending, as well as supporting victims of crime. £200,000 annually is available to local policing for solutions to Anti-Social Behaviour, also using drones and electric bikes for police to take flexible, quicker action when necessary. The objective is to greatly improve the region’s response to the traditionally viewed ‘low harm’ crime that may have aggravated residents but was not addressed so effectively as the region’s ‘high harm’ crime reduction. She pledges a ‘significant change’ in our police force that ‘we will all feel’ over 12-18 months. She said that a Police Officer attends every home burglary: current statistics 98-99%.
An hour of probing questions and detailed answers cannot be covered here but the following extracts provide useful advice for us all. Keep reporting incidents, the more people doing so, the higher the priority becomes. Keep providing and sharing information/intelligence whether or not concerning a crime. How? Visit Hampshire Constabulary website, call 101, visit Google Report a Crime website: Donna lobbied to change this ‘poor’ site for next year. Also if you reported 3 anti-social behaviours within 6 months without a satisfactory resolution, a formal response is triggered, combining 4 agencies to devise a plan. This is reviewed with an option to appeal.
Whilst 999 calls have a 9 seconds response, often 7-8, Donna is looking to improve pay, recruitment and training for the 101 service that currently suffers from staff burn-out despite supportive work.
What meetings would you like HIRA to provide? Which topics or speakers would you like to hear?