Posted: Friday 20th December 2013
Just a few more days and then all the hard work and festive preparations of the past few weeks will come to a happy conclusion. Christmas is a wonderful time to relax and catch up with our nearest and dearest but we should also cast a thought for those emergency workers who will be working part if not all of the Christmas break to keep us safe from harm including our own police officers. On Christmas Day I’m looking forward to meeting some of the people on duty in the Control Room and sharing a mince pie or two. Christmas is one of the busiest times for the police so I’m sure you’ll all share my wish for a peaceful, safe festive season for Nottinghamshire.
As the seven-day countdown to Christmas began this week, one or two national announcements have been closely monitored by my office including the news that the Home Office is considering expanding PCSO legal powers following my letter to the Home Secretary, Theresa May, in August. Many local officers and members of the public have raised the issue with me in recent months and I share the view that such a move could ease pressure on our officers who face increased demand now that resources are restricted.
Since they joined our neighbourhood policing teams the public have grown very fond of our PCSOs and appreciate the work they do to keep them safe and I’m very pleased our calls to broaden their powers are being taken seriously. If PCSOs are given more legal scope to deal with minor officers, more police officers are available to focus on serious incidents which is a benefit for the public, for the officers and the PCSOs themselves.
Road safety remains one of the biggest priorities for our communities. With greater powers at their disposal, PCSOs could respond to and enforce more local concerns including parking in a restricted area outside schools and causing unnecessary noise. I will be following this issue closely as it progresses in the New Year.
It isn’t the ideal end to 2013 but it wasn’t unexpected – the Government also announced its Provisional Funding Plans earlier this week which unfortunately for Nottinghamshire signalled yet another tough and challenging settlement. As yet, there has been no movement on the funding formula which represents a loss of £10.5m in the current year alone and again we are going to have to look long and hard at the budget to ensure we can deliver high-quality services.
As ever you will be key to our budget considerations and if you haven’t already done so now would be a good time to take part in my online survey and provide your views. Questions being asked include the rate of importance you give to my Police and Crime Plan’s seven priorities, where you think savings can be made and whether you would be prepared to pay a little more towards policing. The survey can be completed up to the end of January 2014 on this website.
As we prepare to close the door on 2013, may I take this opportunity to wish you and your families’ a safe and joyous Christmas and a very prosperous New Year and I look forward to talking to you all again in 2014.