Lincolnshire’s new Chief Constable wants to make county ‘safest in the UK’
Lincolnshire’s new top police officer has lofty goals and starts with the county roads and rural crime.
Chief Constable Chris Haward, who took up the post in December 2020, says his main goal is to make Lincolnshire the “safest place to live in the country”.
Chief Constable Haward outlined his top priorities over Lincolnshire Live, saying the force wants to stop crime and antisocial behavior (ASB), protect people from harm and help those in need.
By March 2022, 108 more police officers are to help secure this.
There will also be an increase in the number of officers for neighborhood teams, incident response, rural crime and road safety, and additional resources to combat child exploitation online.
The operational police will provide 46 police officers, five sergeants and two inspectors over the next 18 months.
A restored street police unit will have 18 policemen and two sergeants.
Rural crime teams are reinforced by eight constables (mix of PC and DC) and a sergeant.
The neighborhood police will get 12 police officers, while an online pedophile investigation team will get six police officers, a sergeant and funding for a police victim identification officer.
A digital forensics department will have two police officers and four sergeant / inspector posts, and a chief inspector will be added to the new structure to help with projects to be managed.
Lincolnshire Live sat down with the chief to find out more about his plans.
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What work will Lincolnshire Police do to reduce the number of serious or fatal accidents on the county’s roads?
First, what I would say is that we are already doing a lot with our partners for around four years and making sure that we are proactively trying to educate the people who use our roads. The number of serious accidents on our streets of the seriously injured or killed must be addressed. Hopefully we can bring these numbers down. Part of my strategy over the next five years, but building it up over the next six to twelve months, is to build a dedicated road police team that will be responsible for reducing the number of serious injuries and protecting the people who use our roads but also try to prevent those who use our streets to commit crimes. People who come to the county and then move out again. There will be some additional resources, I’d like to add 18 officers and two sergeants to the team, but it will probably take us most of a year to build this team and fully train them and equip them to use this on the spot. In the meantime, we’ll be doing all of the proactive work we do around the deadly four. The troop has achieved considerable success in recent years. I believe that the number of accidents with seriously injured people has decreased by over 50 percent. We’ve hit a small plateau at the moment, so we need the next boost to bring these numbers down further.
Have these numbers been affected by closures and less traffic on the roads?
Although the lockdown had an impact on traffic, we had a small decrease in our accidents with fatalities and serious injuries over the past year, but only marginally. We saw a slight high as the lockdown subsided, but that wouldn’t be trending with our normal numbers for this time of year. If you look back over the past two / three years, the numbers have actually stayed pretty much constant over that period. So the point is to look at the longer term trend and make sure the reduction continues beyond the last three years and we continue to push for improvement. As the volume of traffic on the roads decreased, this led to an increase in the speed of users. In the accidents with fatalities and serious injuries, one played against the other.
Two homicide investigations were recently opened in the district. As a force, what are you doing to ensure people are safe?
I think the first thing to say is that there have been a couple of murders in the past week. One of them had to do with domestic and one with drugs. The response from those bringing those responsible to justice and arresting them has been absolutely top notch – as good as I’ve seen anywhere in my police force, not just from Lincolnshire cops and staff, but also from our partners in the East Midlands Special Ops units and our communities that stood up and helped us. In relation to this threat, it has been addressed and these individuals are now going through legal proceedings. In order to respond more broadly to keep Lincolnshire safe and to make Lincolnshire the safest place to live, work and visit, we are building a crime to reduce violent crime. We’re trying to do what is happening in some of the bigger cities. We finance this from our own resources and adjust our resources accordingly. We are still doing an excellent job with partners around Operation Raptor making sure we are taking knives away from people and proactively eliminating this threat and making sure we educate in schools and colleges and making sure we get those messages across on social media . Over the next three to six months, we will also build this unit on combating violent crime and ensure that we build on the successes that have already been achieved. Our level of violence is low compared to most of the police force in the country. While it can make headlines in the media, it’s still not very common and very rare, and the likelihood that members of our community will be exposed to this type of violence is extremely, extremely remote. These two murders involved people who were known to each other and had a relationship with each other or had previously had contact and were not arbitrary acts of violence against strangers.
How do you plan to deal with the concerns of people who believe the police are not taking all reports seriously and are reluctant to seek help?
As part of my strategy, I want to make sure that we have a much more accessible and visible police force. We have 108 officers who we will add to our structures over the next nine to twelve months, the majority of whom will go to these uniformed, visible teams. There will be 46 plus five sergeants going into action teams so we can make sure we can get to people quickly and within their expectations. There will be 12 roles going into the role of community beat manager so that we can have that public visibility and engagement. A rural crime action team will be developed and established to support our rural communities, which are suffering from significant pressure and intimidation from people who come to these communities to commit crimes. Then there is the street police. All the unified and visible resources at the forefront to help build that trust. We have limited resources, so we need to prioritize their time and investigation into the things that are causing the most damage to our communities. We need to make sure we have a clear control strategy in place that identifies where this significant damage is, what types of resources are responding to it, and how we are responding to it. All of this has to do with broader developments so we have a huge program in our armed forces control room to build new command and control systems that are state of the art and provide better service to those who call us, as well as a transformation program all around our call handling systems.
The new boss also defended the troop’s approach to Covid and pledged to help “nip in the bud” inflammatory problems in South Holland and Boston.