Cheshire’s police and crime commissioner is reflecting on the work carried out over the last year to make Cheshire safer in his fourth annual report.
Published on the commissioner’s website today (Friday 25 October 2019), the report looks back on David Keane’s work between April 2018 and March 2019 and details how he has been delivering the priorities within his police and crime plan.
Among the report’s highlights is the commissioner’s work to bring back real neighbourhood policing to the county by providing a PCSO and community base in every Cheshire community.
PCC David Keane said: “This initiative has made a huge difference in increasing visibility and building assurance amongst our communities at a time when many other police services are cutting back on neighbourhood policing.
“Putting victims of crime first has also remained a top priority and this year I have invested in a number of initiatives to offer increased support to victims recovering from their ordeal. This has included funding new projects which specifically support younger victims of crime and launching a new support service for domestic abuse victims.
“This year has also very much been about listening to your views and campaigning for the issues which matter most to Cheshire residents. My desire to be a listening and campaigning commissioner has seen me commission an independent review into Cheshire Constabulary’s policing of illegal hunting following complaints from local residents.
“It has also seen me lobby the government on a number of occasions to fight for fairer funding for local policing and to successfully call on it to reserve decisions that could harm our communities including a plan to house convicted sex offenders in one of Cheshire’s open prisons.
The annual report has been released following endorsement from the Cheshire’s Police and Crime Panel, the body which has the responsibility of scrutinising the commissioner’s work. The report also details the increasingly challenging environment Cheshire Constabulary is operating in with crime becoming more complex and resources diminishing.
“It has been another challenging year financially with central government providing no extra funding for policing in Cheshire in 2018/19. When the costs of inflation and mandatory pay increases are taken into account this is, yet again, another real-terms cut to our policing budget.
“I have continued to make efficiencies to back-office functions and continued to drive forward our modernisation programme in order to prioritise spend on frontline policing. This has ensured Cheshire remains in the top 20 per cent of police services nationally in terms of spend per head on police officers and PCSOs.
“I have also continued to ensure my office remains one of the lowest costing police and crime commissioner offices in the country. This has included a realignment of my support team to ensure it offers the best value for money for Cheshire taxpayers whilst still supporting me in my functions.
“Furthermore, my expenses have remained at the lowest possible level and despite inflation, I am still spending 68 per cent less than the previous commissioner on essential travel away from the office. I’ve also made huge savings producing annual report with its costs now just 1 per cent of what they were in 2015/16.”
In concluding his annual report, the commissioner outlines his future plans to ensure Cheshire remains one of the country’s safest places.
“Over the next year, I will continue to focus on strengthening neighbourhood policing by working with the chief constable to deploy extra resources into areas with the most need. I’ll also start the debate on policing for the next decade to ensure we are meeting the needs of our diverse communities.”
The full report is available to read here. Hard copies are available on request from the commissioner’s office at Stockton Heath Police Station.