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Police and Crime Commissioner welcomes Chief Constable’s plan to drive down crime rates in Hampshire and on Isle of Wight

13 June 2023

Police and Crime Commissioner Donna Jones has today (June 13) welcomed Chief Constable Scott Chilton’s announcement of a significant change in how Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary will be run. The changes will see a return to a geographical policing model, achieving the Commissioner’s priority of bringing the police closer to communities.

Commissioner Donna Jones appointed Scott Chilton as Chief Constable on 28 February 2023. She has ensured new leadership at the top of the organisation is an opportunity to reset the standards being delivered to the public.

Commissioner Jones said: “Over the last few years the public have felt there has been a decline in police visibility and police responding to crimes. Call waiting times on the non-emergency 101 service are longer than they have previously been.

“The recruitment of an experienced Chief Constable was a conscious decision and an opportunity to fine-tune the police service across our two counties.

“I am determined to give the public the service they need and pay for. The changes Chief Constable Scott Chilton is making, will bring back a greater focus on local policing, moving CID back into local communities as well as locally controlled response officers, neighbourhood officers and other specialist teams. This will drive up visibility and enable the public to get to know their local police officers once more.

“For too long policing has been lost in bureaucracy and issues that are not core police business. Responding to neighbourhood crimes is as important as responding to serious crimes, in order to prevent crime levels escalating.

“The chief’s overhaul of the operating model of the police service will mean police are more visible in communities, driving down crime, supporting victims and upholding the law. This is what we will have again in Hampshire and on the Isle of Wight.”

The comments come today (June 13) after Mr Chilton unveiled his changes in the force operating model to deliver exceptional local policing, with a focus on the relentless pursuit of criminals and putting victims first.

Specifically, he outlined a new common-sense structure which will strengthen neighbourhood policing, complimenting the Commissioner’s commitments to bring back named ‘Local Bobbies’ for all communities and her commitment to reopen police stations and front counters to increase police visibility, which she announced earlier this year.

The Chief Constable is introducing Neighbourhood Enforcement Teams, only made possible due to the extra police officers funded by the Commissioner. These include 600 officers over the last three years and an additional 50 announced in February this year, as part of the new budget.

Speaking on the matter today, Commissioner Jones said: “These changes are welcome and set out how I expect the Constabulary to deliver a first class police service which the residents of Hampshire and Isle of Wight have told me they want from their police force.

“The chief’s straight forward vision is now becoming a reality. I know these changes are going to make a difference to communities through visible, proactive policing with local officers you know and trust, responding to incidents quickly and carrying out investigations that deliver justice.”

“An example of our common sense approach is this force being being the first in the country to scrap the compulsory police degree and introduce an apprenticeship style training programme called Hampshire Policing PLUS.”

It is estimated this will free up hundreds of thousands of hours of police time which will be reinvested back into keeping communities safe on streets across the two counties.

Commissioner Jones concluded: “Together, the chief and I are absolutely determined to ensure a first class police service for the public. The brave men and women who work for the force are dedicated hard-working individuals who want to protect people and solve crime. I have every confidence in the Chief’s plans to make sure they are able to do that.”