Commissioner joins officers on the beat in Blackpool5 March, 2020
Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has joined officers in Blackpool to gain an insight into the work being done, around the clock, to tackle crime and keep people safe.
He joined response officers late afternoon as they started their shift, listening in to their briefing session at West Division Headquarters in Mereside before joining a team out on the streets.
He also witnessed a stop and search take place, whilst attending other incidents such as a road traffic collision.
His office is responsible for running the county’s ‘Stop and Search Ride Along Scheme’ which gives members of the public the opportunity to accompany officers on routine patrol and, if appropriate and proportionate, observe the use of stop and search powers in action.
The ride alongs, which meets requirements around ensuring the best use of stop and search from Government, sees members of the public report back to the Stop and Search Scrutiny Panel, around what they see and experience whilst shadowing the work of officers.
There was a 50% increase in the use of stop and search during 2019 when compared to the previous year. This follows the surge activity as part of the work to tackle knife crime.
Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner said:
“Stop and Search is an important tool available to officers to help keep people safe, particularly when targeting serious crime and violence. However these powers need to be used proportionately and this scheme ensures transparency and scrutiny of their use.
“Joining officers on the beat always highlights the dedication and drive that they have to do the best they can for the people of Lancashire to tackle crime and keep people safe. This is in the face of pressures on the service from years of increasing demand and shrinking budgets from Government which have left us with 750 less officers since 2010.
“We need more officers on our streets and whilst the Government’s announcement for next year indicates we can recruit an additional 153 officers, we are still being short-changed and left with a huge shortfall compared to when austerity started, unlike places such as Surrey who will actually have more officers than they did a decade ago.
“It’s not fair and I will continue to lobby Government for a fairer deal to ensure we have more officers, like these here in Blackpool and across the county, working around the clock to keep us safe.”
Supt Damian Kitchen from Lancashire Constabulary said:
“I am pleased but not surprised that the Commissioner was impressed with the dedication and professionalism he saw from our officers during his visit.
“We have amazing Police Officers and Police Staff across Investigations, Safeguarding, Response, Neighbourhoods, Targeting and Operations here in West Division, who are committed to making our communities as safe and peaceful as they can for residents and visitors.
“Properly used and targeted, Stop and Search is a crucial tool in driving down crime and disorder, not least of which is our determination locally to work with our new force Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) in not only detecting those who carry weapons, but more importantly preventing them doing so in the first place.