The future policing model for Cambridgeshire has now been agreed and will begin to roll out from 30 April. In November I wrote to you to announce our proposed plans to create a sustainable policing model following an unprecedented increase in demand for our services and our existing model being no longer being fit for purpose.
Thank you to those of you who responded with feedback, we listened carefully to the points you raised and ensured it was part of the decision-making process. I am still committed to involving the public and our partners in this process and will continue to provide you with regular updates as we plan the transition into our new model and start to see its impact. Last year I commissioned the Local Policing Review, tasked with designing a model that would deliver a demand-led and victim-focused service and provide much-needed support to the frontline.
Our current policing model is hampering our ability to manage demand. Like forces across the country, Cambridgeshire faces an unprecedented workload and, as a result, officers and staff are working long hours with heavy workloads. Our focus remains to protect the most vulnerable people and target the most serious offenders. But this means I have to be realistic about what we can and cannot attend, and make some difficult decisions about our future structure within our current budget.
The new model is focused on putting more officers on the frontline so we can provide you with the best service possible. This structure will enable us to fund an additional 50 officers, which will make a difference to the people of Cambridgeshire. It retains our commitment to providing neighbourhood policing and working in partnership with communities to reduce crime and to make them safer through effective problem solving. Every resident will still have access to their local policing team, with an identified police community support officer (PCSO) in their area. Officers and staff directly affected by the proposed changes have now been through a period of formal consultation and the final structure was signed off this week.
Below is an overview of the new structure:
• Every resident will be able to access their local policing team and have an identified PCSO in their area. However, there will be no new intakes of PCSOs and the current headcount will reduce by natural turnover over coming years, with a commitment to retain a minimum of 80 full time equivalent posts.
• Additional officers will be in those areas where our most vulnerable people and most dangerous offenders are, focusing on issues such as child protection, rape investigation and domestic abuse.
• A Demand Hub will be created to merge the force’s contact and crime management functions centrally at force HQ. This will modernise our approach to public contact and allow for early and more effective management of demand.
• The previous force model saw it split into six district areas which affected our interoperability. This will change to just two areas, north and south, making us more efficient, reducing supervisory and senior management posts and enabling us to commit more resources to the frontline.
• A Missing, Exploited and Trafficked (MET) Hub will be created, tasked with protecting children most at risk of harm within these three areas and focused on apprehending the offenders who target them.
• There will be changes to our current intelligence structure, which will enable us to increase our analytical provision, allowing improved analysis of demand.
• PCSOs will continue to play a central role in neighbourhood policing and problem solving.
• Community action teams, similar to the current Rural Crime Action Team (RCAT), will be created to respond to local problems and challenges. These officers will be tasked with dealing with local issues, prioritising those where the risk to individuals and the public is highest.
• Every district council area will have an enquiry office function.
• A reduced number of response bases will allow for maximum efficiency in response deployment.
• The force will continue to have a serious and organised crime team, cyber and fraud team, and surveillance team to tackle crime gangs.
The first phase of the model will go live from 30 April this year. In the meantime we will continue to regularly update you on the progress of our transition towards a new policing model and its implementation over the coming months.
Kind regards, Chief Constable Alec Wood