I have made many announcements about fighting crime since I was elected last May but I have just made my most important one so far.
Without doubt, its impact on our Constabulary will be transformational. It will help the force fight crime more effectively and eventually make Gloucestershire the safest area in the whole country.
After months of hard work and planning, we are now able to start recruiting 300 more police.
This first phase will lead to 100 new officers as part of the nationally funded uplift programme for every force, plus 50 more officers and 50 more Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) funded locally.
We will also resource the recruitment of 150 more volunteer Special Constables and over 100 more police staff, to improve the way we record and investigate crime, how we look after the victims of crime, and how quickly we respond when you dial 999 or the 101 non-emergency service. They will take time to recruit, train and then integrate into our existing Neighbourhood Policing Teams, but be in no doubt, their arrival will allow our Chief Constable to address issues and problems that he has simply not been able to tackle without more resources.
Taking a zero-tolerance approach to Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) is top of our list and while we wait for ‘the cavalry to arrive’, we will be working with local councils and other stakeholders to identify the causes of ASB in each of our communities, to see what we can achieve together.
Empowering our parish councils and local government will be one of my themes when we hold ‘roadshows’ across Gloucestershire in September and October. By recruiting Special Constables or Special PCSOs (a relatively new concept that will increase the options for volunteer community police service) we will increase the amount of dedicated police resources operating within a parish, who can lead the fight against things like persistent speeding in their area.
I also want to significantly expand our Police Cadets and Cubs, to provide a service to our youngsters that inspires them to value themselves and the communities they live in.
Finally, I want to grow our Neighbourhood Watch and Community Alert system, to help reduce our vulnerability to crime.
All these improvements are just the first stage in my promise to deliver on my manifesto commitments, with more to come next year.