THE new Police and Crime Commissioner for Cumbria, Richard Rhodes has officially taken Office from today.
Mr Rhodes will be responsible for holding Cumbria Constabulary and the Chief Constable to account on behalf of the public. He will also oversee how crime is tackled in Cumbria and to make sure the police are providing a good service.
Mr Rhodes said: “Today is the start of a new era and I am really honoured that the people of Cumbria have chosen me to represent them.
“There are some keys issues that I need to deal with in the next few weeks. This includes a full update briefing on the active investigation by South Wales police into the suspension of Temporary Chief Constable Stuart Hyde and the setting of the Police budget for the next financial year. The setting of the budget is challenging as the Constabulary is in the process of implementing significant budget cuts and we are waiting for the Government to announce the funding levels under the next round of the Comprehensive Spending Review.
“I am keen to start my three and half year work programme of delivering my manifesto promises. I have a real opportunity as the first Commissioner to focus on prevention whilst the Chief Constable has the responsibility to enforce the law. It will improve all our lives if interventions are put in place to stop the offending before it happens. This is especially true for young offenders, victims and veterans.
“Anti-social behaviour makes lives in some of our communities miserable and it is essential that we deal with the small minority who blight our lives. A key to tackling crime and anti-social behaviour is the ‘hotspot’ style of policing and I will be asking the Chief Constable to develop a robust operational policing strategy to deal with this issue. “I will be establishing the Office of Victim Support and the Office of Public Engagement by March 31 2013. It is essential that the people of Cumbria have a say in policing matters, Information gathered will form an integral part of the Police and Crime Commissioners Crime Plan.
“Protecting victims of crime by making criminals pay is key. Often crime doesn’t have only one victim and I want to use the proceeds of the Victim Surcharge to provide relief to the victims of crime.
“One of Cumbria’s strengths is the quality and quantity of partnership working and I want to engage with partners so that together we are building a strong criminal justice system for the benefit of the public.
“By all working together we can make Cumbria an even safer place to live.”