CHRISTMAS MESSAGES 2012: It’s been one of the most challenging years in the police force’s history

IT’S not an exaggeration to say the past year has been one of the most challenging in the force’s history and, on a personal level, my own career.

The constabulary has undergone some of the most radical changes in modern times, all prompted by unprecedented financial pressures.

Managing the budget cuts and the changes they necessitated while keeping people safe and making Cambridgeshire a hostile place for criminals have been my priorities since becoming Chief Constable.

And I am delighted to say that despite the challenging conditions, crime continues to fall and the service my officers and staff provide the public remains excellent.

My commitment to the frontline has also not wavered. In 2012, we recruited 74 officers and we have plans for a larger intake in 2013, despite taking millions out of other parts of the budget.

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The downwards trend in crime across the county is mirrored in the most recent figures for East Cambridgeshire, where, in the eight months to the end of November, overall crime was down by nearly 16 per cent (nearly 400 fewer offences) on the same period last year. Reports of anti-social behaviour fell by nearly 30 per cent in Ely, Littleport and the Downham villages, Sutton, Haddenham and Stretham.

One of the most significant changes, in April, was the new six district structure, which allows my officers to work more closely with partner agencies and communities to deliver a more locally-focused service.

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Uniformed officers, detectives, PCSOs and Specials work as one unit to tackle local problems while centrally-based teams tackle more specialist issues.

I began by stressing the magnitude of the challenges the force faced in 2012 and these will not diminish in 2013. Our plans to collaborate with Bedfordshire Police and Hertfordshire Constabulary will continue as we strive to reduce our collective budgets by almost �30million in the next three years.

And I am looking forward to working with Cambridgeshire’s new Police and Crime Commissioner Sir Graham Bright who will ensure the voice of the public is even more clearly heard and acted upon.

I am confident that we can work together to achieve the transformation of policing in Cambridgeshire in ways that continue to keep the public at the heart of what we do.

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