Funding to build safer communities as the summer sun emerges
- Credit: Contributed
Finally, after what seemed like weeks of rain, the clouds parted and Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly spent a long weekend bathed in sunshine.
As expected, the Bank Holiday attracted many thousands of visitors to our wonderful corner of England.
Traders who rely on a tourism industry that is, in a normal year, worth well in excess of £6bn a year to Devon and Cornwall, have reason to be optimistic about the next few months.
I think it is fantastic that people are now able to have a well-earned break and there are few places better for a holiday than the West of England. Unfortunately we do know that with the surge in people comes a significant increase in calls for police help.
As in previous years my team is working with the force and our communities to provide solutions to minimise demand and to keep people safe.
This year I have provided an additional three quarters of a million pounds to help with summer policing and community safety activities. Most of this is not about crime – the majority of policing activity in Devon and Cornwall, summer included – is related to dealing with mentally unwell people, missing people, road traffic incidents and other ‘non crime’ incidents that escalate between April and October.
And it is not just visitors creating that extra demand. Because our resident population is also more active there are simply more incidents.
Of the additional £750,000 made available £400,000 will be allocated by Devon and Cornwall Police to be used cleverly to make sure as much resource as possible is available to the people who most need it.
The funding will pay for initiatives like additional control room staff, security so police officers spend less time looking after detainees at hospital and enhanced record takers to maximise front line resources.
Antisocial behaviour is a major issue for our communities so I am pleased that £27,500 has been made available for each of the force’s basic command units to fund preventative policing at antisocial hotspots.
My office will also be working with Community Safety Partnerships to reduce youth antisocial behaviour as Covid-19 unlock continues. A total of £350,000 has been provided for this work, with £100,000 split between the four upper tier authorities of Cornwall, Devon, Plymouth and Torbay and up to £250,000 allocated to support partnership activity in 20 key locations.
I hope that with our communities’ support, underpinned by this funding, visitors and residents will be able to enjoy a safe and restful summer break – and we might even get the sun to go with it!