Message from Humberside Police:-
Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner, Keith Hunter and Chief Constable Lee Freeman will today attend the North East Lincolnshire Scrutiny Panel to brief councillors on how the force is tackling issues such as child criminal exploitation, rural crime, policing of ports and police officer numbers.
This is a routine quarterly meeting that the PCC and Chief Constable occasionally attend as part of their work to hear what is concerning local community leaders.
Questions submitted in advance by councillors include one about what the force is doing to ‘tackle the growing numbers of children being exploited by criminal gangs, especially where drugs are involved?’
This is an issue that has previously been raised by the force as a concern that we are increasingly seeing and the Chief Constable will speak about the new team he has created to tackle this issue.
Chief Constable Freeman said: “This is something that affects children from all backgrounds and all walks of life in towns and cities across the UK – and North East Lincolnshire is no different.
“We know the impact that drug-related crime has on our communities and we are working hard every day to combat this. To support our ongoing day to day operations, we have created a team dedicated to tackling organised criminals who exploit children and young people.
“Since September the team has made 28 arrests and carried out eight warrants, seizing more than £5,000 of drugs, £2,000 in cash and criminal assets of more than £40,000.
“They have also identified 11 children being exploited by criminal gangs and, six have already been removed from the area and out of harm’s way.
“And rest assured that we won’t stop until we have done everything in our power to stop children – and other vulnerable people – being exploited in this way.”
Chief Constable Freeman will also update the councillors about the work being done to tackle crime across the area – including in rural communities – and talk about the force supports UK Border Agency in policing the area’s ports.
He said: “There has been a 7% fall in crime in North East Lincolnshire in the last month (125 fewer reported incidents) and we’re committed to ensuring that those living and working in our communities feel safe.
“We also understand how important it is for people to know their local team – and for the team to know them.
“That’s why we do everything we can to make sure that those officers spend the majority of their time on their own patch – though of course there are occasions when we have get them to assist with ongoing incidents or operations.
“Those who are stationed in our rural wards are specifically trained in dealing with rural crime and the specialist techniques and legislation associated with it.
“However, we cannot ignore the potential financial impact on the force if we are required to meet the £9.2million local cost of the shortfall in the national force pension fund.
“We are hopeful that we will have an update on the situation today as part of an expected announcement on the Police Funding Settlement.
“I have made it clear that our officers and staff are at the heart of everything we do and I will always try to save money without the loss of jobs. There are no current plans to cut officer, PCSO or staff posts.
“However, without Government funding, the sheer size of these additional costs would make this difficult to achieve and the PCC and I have to explore all the options that are open to us.”
PCC Keith Hunter added: “As the public’s representative on policing I have witnessed the changes and improvements made by the force and I am confident that it is continuing to head in the right direction and that the public can be reassured that the service they receive from the police will continue to improve.
“However, if this money is removed from our budget, with very little notice, we would have to fundamentally assess what policing looks like across the force area.
“That is why I, our local MPs and my fellow PCCs have continued to raise our concerns with the treasury about the potential impact of this decision.”