More than 100 new officers will join Lincolnshire Police, allocated to roads, neighbourhood policing and paedophile online investigation teams, among other priority areas.
The force’s new Chief Constable Chris Haward said he will re-establish the Road Policing Team and also steer a focus on rural crime when he unveiled his Force Strategy on Thursday, June 10.
Funding announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson will create 108 new posts for the areas of highest need in the force.
They will be recruited between now and March 2022.
- Response Policing: 46 Constables, 5 Sergeants and 2 Inspectors. This will be phased over the next 12 to 18 months providing additional support to shifts and local policing.
- Roads Policing Unit: 18 Constables and 2 Sergeants. The force will re-establish a dedicated Roads Policing Team to help reduce serious incidents, deter criminal use of the roads and support local policing response.
- Rural Crime Action Team: 8 Constables (mix of PC and DC) and 1 Sergeant. A new multi-disciplinary team to provide problem solving, proactive capability and investigative support will be created to reduce community and rural crime. The team will be linked to and support our Neighbourhood Policing (NHP) teams.
- Neighbourhood Policing: 12 Constables. Each of the priority neighbourhoods will be allocated a Community Beat Manager supporting existing resources.
- Paedophile Online Investigation Team (POLIT): 6 Constables, 1 Sergeant (plus funding for a Police Staff ‘Victim Identification Officer’).
- Digital Forensics Unit (DFU): 2 Constables.
- Miscellaneous: 4 Sergeant / Inspector posts and 1 Chief Inspector.
Chief Constable Haward’s strategy for growth targets three key areas; Stopping anti-social behaviour, protecting people from harm and helping those in need.
In terms of combatting youth anti-social behaviour, Mr Haward said: “It will definitely be about preventative and educational approaches and when necessary, obviously the enforcement part, but enforcement is just dealing with the symptoms rather than trying to tackle the cause.”
Mr Haward told The Lincolnite: “In terms of our vision, it’s really about making Lincolnshire the safest place to live, work and visit – that’s achievable.
“We’re currently 16th in the rankings out of 43 on ONS statistics, but it’s also about working together with our partners, with our communities and with other law enforcement agencies to achieve that.”
Rural crime has remained an issue in the county for many years. Hare coursing alone requires a significant chunk of the county’s resources.
“Over the course of October through to March, we had well over 400 incidents per month of hare coursing.
“Whilst hare coursing on the face of it may seem fairly low down the list of priorities, actually to our communities, it causes pain, it causes damage to fields, it causes damage to livestock, it causes damage to infrastructure, but more importantly, there are threats and intimidation to our communities by those people committing those crimes.”
On the subject of roads incidents, Haward reflected on the impact felt by the families of those who have lost their lives or been seriously injured. “We seem to have been held at an average of about 50 to 55 deaths on the road every year for the last decade.
“That may be a difficult one to address but actually, we’ve still got 360 plus seriously injured accidents per year, which have life changing consequences.”
The Lincolnite also asked the Chief Constable about a recent rise in violent crime in the county, and incidents involving knives.
“We’re still working in partnership with Operation Raptor,” he said, “as well trying to get knives and bladed instruments in to try and prevent this in the first place and working with the courts to make sure that we get appropriate sentencing when this happens.”
Operation Raptor is the force’s ongoing commitment to keep Lincolnshire as safe as possible and since it was introduced in October 2019, over 300 arrests have been made for weapons related offences.