Police chief orders review as pressure of demand creates “real struggle” for force

Chief Constable Alec Wood

Chief Constable Alec Wood - Credit: Archant

The Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire Constabulary has ordered a review of policing in the county after raising concerns around the level of demand facing officers.

At a media briefing on July 19, Alec Wood discussed the “unprecedented workload” being taken on by his staff and the impact it is having on the frontline.

According to police, in the period from January to June, Cambridgeshire has seen a 15 per cent increase in 999 calls compared to the same period last year - up from 52,857 in 2016 to 60,657 – this year.

Officers have also seen increases in reports of child abuse (32 per cent), domestic abuse (34 per cent), and cyber crime (26 per cent).

In response, the force has commissioned a local policing review, which has been tasked with creating a sustainable policing model for the next three to five years.

Chief Constable Wood said: “Demand for our services has never been higher and this is putting pressure on our control room and the frontline.

“Nationally policing is seeing an increase in 999 calls and recorded crime, and Cambridgeshire is no different.

Most Read

“At times of high demand a number of officers and staff are having to work long hours, having rest days cancelled and dealing with a high volume of incidents.

“I am incredibly proud of people’s continued resilience but I know this is not sustainable in the long term.

“We have more work, with fewer people and less money which, at times, creates a real struggle for our frontline response.

“We remain committed to protecting the most vulnerable people and identifying those most at risk of harm when making demand decisions. But this means we have to be realistic about what we can and cannot attend, and make some difficult decisions around resource management.

“I want to have honest conversations with the public about the issues we face but reassure them that we have plans in place to manage our demand and continue to focus our activity on targeting the most dangerous offenders in the county.”

Chief Constable Wood added: “Everyone is working hard, at times under some challenging circumstances, and I remain committed to improving things for them.

“Any savings made as a result of the local policing review will be reinvested into the frontline to strengthen our ability to keep people safe and attack criminality.”