Promise on police officer numbers delivered – focus now on neighbourhoods
Published On: April 19, 2023
Confirmation that Northamptonshire Police has reached and exceeded its target of 1501 police officers – the most the Force has ever had – will bring a renewed focus on neighbourhood policing that delivers safer communities right across the county.
That’s the message from Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold, who said he is working with the Chief Constable to further increase the number of police officers working in neighbourhood teams and strengthen the connection with local people.
Stephen said: “I made a promise to work as hard as I could to increase the number of police officers in Northamptonshire, firstly using investment from local council tax, and then through the Government’s Uplift programme. I’m proud to say we have achieved that, and more.”
The establishment of Northamptonshire Police – the number of full-time equivalent police officers – is now 1,501, the greatest number ever. The headcount – the number of police officers on the payroll – is 1,546 officers.
Stephen Mold said that the Force’s success at recruiting additional officers has been recognised by the Home Office, which is giving Northamptonshire Police additional grant funding of almost £2 million under the Uplift scheme, that will be used to ensure that the higher number of police officers can be sustained in the medium term.
The Force has also become more representative of the communities it serves, recruiting more women and officers from Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds.
But having achieved the target for officer numbers isn’t the end of the story.
“This is just the beginning. Huge thanks are due to the energy and ambition of the Chief Constable and all the teams – HR, training, fleet, stores, IT, payroll – everyone who has moved heaven and earth to recruit and train and equip these additional officers,” Stephen Mold said.
Pictured: Stephen Mold discussing the model of effective neighbourhood policing with police staff in the Hemmingwell estate of Wellingborough.
Stephen continued: “But now we have achieved this, what does it mean for local people? It’s important to me that it means we can get more police officers out into the heart of their community.
“I know that people want to see more visible policing, with police tackling the issues that matter most in their neighbourhood, crimes like anti-social behaviour and drug dealing and violence.
“We have invested in neighbourhood policing, and now the Chief Constable and I have a shared ambition to take that further, to engage even better with local communities and work with all partners in problem solving and preventing crime in the long term.”
To understand how effective, robust, joined up neighbourhood policing can be, Stephen Mold spent time with Inspector Miriam Kiernan and her team in Wellingborough’s Queensway and Hemmingwell, to look at Operation Revive, an approach to tackling neighbourhood crime in Northamptonshire that has been extremely successful in tackling crime.
Pictured: Constable Jared Small, PFCC Stephen Mold, Inspector Miriam Keirnan and Councillor Jennie Bone visited the Hemmingwell estate to see how neighbourhood policing can have an impact in the area.
Chief Superintendent Adam Ward, Northamptonshire Police lead for Neighbourhood Policing, said: “In the past, police have just dealt with policing problems, using hard-hitting enforcement tactics, and arresting drug dealers to tackle county lines for example. But when you do that, other drug dealers come along to take their place.
“Op Revive takes a longer term, holistic view of improving the quality of life in an area, with a strong focus on prevention. Police officers are working in close partnership with local authorities, schools, and other partners to improve the environment, improve infrastructure, create youth provision, and find every way to create a hostile environment for crime.”
Pictured: Neighbourhood Policing Constable Jared Small speaks to a local resident in Hemmingwell, Wellingborough.
The Commissioner’s Youth Team has played a key role working alongside police colleagues on Op Revive.
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold added: “Op Revive is a fabulous model for neighbourhoods, where enforcement and prevention go together, and where engagement with their local police officers gives people the confidence to pass on information without fear
“I’m looking forward to seeing how we can build on this success as the additional police officers get to work.”
In 2019, prior to Uplift, the force had a headcount of 1,280 police officers, and were set a Home Office target to recruit 190 new officers over the next three years.
The Force has far exceeded that target figure, recruiting 266 between 2019 and 2023.*
This figure reflects numbers on top of normal recruitment to replace natural attrition in the force such as retirements, leavers and transferees. In reality a total of 663 officers were recruited in the three-year period.
The growth in officers is already reaping direct benefits through an increase in neighbourhood and response officers and more investigators to deal with serious and violent crime.
In addition, the force has increased the number of women and people from Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds serving as police officers.
In 2019 the force had 441 female officers, accounting for 33.6 per cent of all officers. This number is now 563 and accounts for 36.42 per cent of all officers.
In 2019, the force had 52 officers from an ethnic minority background. In 2023, at the end of Uplift, this figure was 71.
The increases in both women and officers from an ethnically diverse background are the highest they have ever been for the force.
Chief Constable Nick Adderley, said: “In 2021 I announced a commitment to double the number of neighbourhood officers focusing on local policing and dealing with the issues that matter to our communities.
“I am pleased to announce that we have not only reached our national target but exceeded that number, allowing us to make a real difference to fighting crime and building public confidence in the process.
“The increase in officers has brought increased visibility, more neighbourhood and response officers, as well as a new class of recruits coming in through our detective pathway offering unique skills and expertise to investigations.
“We now have more female officers than ever before reflecting greater gender balance in the service. We also have an increasingly diverse workforce that brings additional abilities to the organisation that is now better equipped to deal with an ever increasingly diverse and fast-growing county.
“We’ve achieved a great deal, but we still have work to do. We have a variety of different routes into policing, whether you have a degree or not. We want to continue building the diversity of our workforce, retaining and developing the skills of both new and existing officers, promoting officer wellbeing, and creating better promotion opportunities.
“I believe that policing still offers a career like no other and a unique opportunity to make a positive difference to people and communities.”
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