More police and less crime in Hertfordshire highlighted in PCC’s report

The annual report was presented to a meeting of Hertfordshire’s police and crime panel

Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 9:25 am
Updated Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 9:26 am

Lowest crime rates and the highest number of officers on record, are highlighted by Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd in his annual report.

During 2020/21, according to the report, the number of police officers overall in the county increased by 91 – giving a total in excess of 2100.

By the end of 2022 that figure is set to have increased by a further 167.

Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd
Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd

But even now the number officers is said to have passed the 2202 mark – giving the Hertfordshire force more police officers than ever before.

According to the annual report, crime levels during the pandemic – as across the country – dropped in Hertfordshire.

Total crime, says the report, was down by 13.9 per cent in 2020/21 – with burglary down by 34 per cent and robbery down by 38 per cent.

And in the report Mr Lloyd stresses that ‘Hertfordshire continues to be a very safe place to live and work’.

However it does also highlight a two per cent increase in 2020/21 in domestic abuse.

As a result of the pandemic, police have also been called on to enforce restrictions, designed to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

And as well as recognising public support for the ‘swift enforcement of blatant breaches’, Mr Lloyd praises police officers.

“The efforts of all officers particularly those serving on the front-line, helped to slow or reduce the rate of infection at critical points in the crisis and they should be commended,” he says in the report.

The report also highlights Hertfordshire Police’s “radical shift” to a ‘Prevention First’ approach – said to prioritise measures to prevent victimisation, such as early intervention, deterrence measures, target hardening and rehabilitation.

And underlining the Commissioner’s commitment to it, the report states: “The Police and Crime Commissioner’s budget will provide the resource, capacity and additional front-line officers to deliver this bold approach to policing in Hertfordshire, ensuring the county remains safe and the drivers of crime are addressed at the earliest opportunity.”

The annual report was presented to a meeting of Hertfordshire’s police and crime panel on Thursday, June 24.

The Beacon Fraud Hub, which has retrieved £1.1m for victims of fraud, work to deliver venues for Nightingale Courts and ongoing work towards a joint Police and Fire Service HQ were also highlighted – as were road safety vans, which are designed, it was said, to impact on driver behaviour.

At the meeting, Conservative Cllr Alexander Curtis (East Herts) highlighted the backlog of cases waiting to go through the courts and the impact this would have on victims and defendants.

Mr Lloyd said that the backlog was “not good enough” and that it meant victims of crime “may well fall by the wayside”.

With many defendants under 25, he said he particularly recognised the impact this delay may have on their education or ‘life chances’.

And he said it was a matter of extreme regret that there was an increasing backlog.

Councillors also highlighted an underspend in the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s budget for 2020/21.

According to the report, last year the PCC had an overall budget of £217.3m – of which £925,000 (or 0.4 per cent) was unspent.

The amount of that budget delegated to the Chief Constable recorded an over spend of £270,000, which was attributed to ‘additional student officer recruitment’.

But the OPCC budget recorded an underspend of £1.195m, including a grants underspend budget of £1.032m.

Mr Lloyd said that when there was an underspend there were a complex range of reasons for that.