June 24, 2022 7.00 pm

PCC defends decision to deploy fewer new officers to East Coast

Holidaymakers taken into account

Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones has defended a decision to deploy fewer officers to the East Coast despite higher violent crime rates.

According to a report before the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel on Friday, 54 of the 117 new officers who started training in 2021 were allocated to the East of the county while 63 were posted to the West.

However, another document showed that Skegness, Ingoldmells and Chapel was the area with the highest rate of violent crimes in the county with a figure of 278 per 1,000 population, it was also the home address of most offenders.

In response, East Lindsey District Councillor for Alford Graham Marsh asked: “How can the deployment of new officers be justified… are you assured as PCC that this allocation is effectively tackling crime?”

Mr Jones said the deployment of officers was a matter for the Chief Constable, but said a lot of assessment went into where staff were sent.

He said factors included whether specialisms were needed, the number of mentor officers to train new members and, in particular, how statistics were read.

PCC Jones said: “We all know the Lincolnshire population ebbs and flows significantly, especially on the East Coast.

“So when we’re talking about the community that may be for 11 months of the year residing Skegness, but then don’t pay council tax because they’re not permanent residents, they’re not counted as part of that figure.

“Equally, the people who are coming there for their leisure over the summer are not counted as part of that figure.

“So it’s reasonable to suggest that you might have a disproportionate level of violent incidents occurring through night-time economy, particularly in summer because of the influx of people, but that set against the settled community as being the baseline of per 100,000.”

He explained this was “difficult” to resolve accurately, but said there would be “little point” in bolstering East Coast staff for 12 months of the year when the specific need might be for just three or four months of the year.

Other teams, such as the new Roads Policing Unit based out of Grantham and Louth, could also be used to back up officers, he added.

He said teams elsewhere, such as drugs officers were also guarding the borders in a bid to stop some criminals from accessing the area.

The data presented to councillors showed that Gainsborough and Lincoln were in second and third highest in the county for violent crimes and offender addresses.