New Hampshire police and crime commissioner Donna Jones pledges 600 additional officers
THE new police and crime commissioner for Hampshire has pledged to add 600 more officers to the force by the end of 2023.
Donna Jones, who won the role for the Conservatives at the elections in May, said it was her "number one priority" when she appeared for the first time in front of the county's police and crime panel which scrutinises her work.
Commissioner Jones told members: “My vision as your commissioner, as a parent, and as a citizen is that Hampshire and Isle of Wight are places children and elderly people can walk the streets without fear.
“People have told me unequivocally, in a crime survey I ran last year, that they want more police on the streets. More police means more detection and prevention, and my number one priority is to have 600 more officers by end of 2023.
"But it is not only about having extra officers, if you don’t see them people don’t feel safer, we need to make sure we do everything we can to free up officers from bureaucracy so they can spend more time out and visible on the streets."
She added: “In addition to increased visibility of policing I also want to make it easier to report crime and to make the way crime reports are dealt with more customer service focused and so there will be a review of the 101 service and alternative ways to report to the police."
She also promised to focus on the "increasing" problem of anti-social behaviour by setting up a dedicated taskforce of local groups.
She finished: "There has been criticism in the past that people don’t understand what a commissioner does and that the public never see them. I intend to change that.
"By the end of my term of office – three years – I want every person to know what I do and how I can or have helped them.”
Panel chair Cllr Simon Bound said: “I look forward to working alongside the new police and crime commissioner and reviewing the new draft Police and Crime Plan – ensuring it serves the best interests of the community.”
The meeting also confirmed a new deputy police and crime commissioner, Luke Stubbs, who represents Eastney and Craneswater on Portsmouth City Council.
Cllr Stubbs served as Mrs Jones’ deputy during her time as leader of Portsmouth’s council.
The £65,025 taxpayer-funded role does not have to be advertised and Mrs Jones is free to appoint anyone she chooses.
Commissioner Jones said: “I want somebody who is going to challenge me, I want someone visionary. Luke is inward-looking, he is a deliverer, data-driven and he is very focused on the details."