It is the first priority of any Government to protect the public. While Torridge and West Devon remains a safe place to live, anti-social behaviour and violent crime remain crucial to our local communities.
The clear commitment to put more officers back on our streets is an important step forward in our struggle against criminality. Nationally, since July 2019, there are now over 11,000 more police officers on our streets. Locally, Devon and Cornwall Police have recruited an extra 229 police constables and will receive an additional cash increase of £19.4-million this year. I am in regular contact with our local police inspectors to discuss policing matters in Torridge and West Devon, and I and have no doubt that every penny of Devon and Cornwall Police’s now £375.2-million budget will be used to protect the public, safeguard victims, and bring justice to those who break the law.
I am pleased that the police will now receive an extra £1.1-billion to drive down violent offences and deliver safer streets for us all. The 2022/3 funding package represents a 7% cash increase on last year, and means law enforcement will receive up to £16.9-billion in total this year.
This boost in resources will help us deliver the Beating Crime Plan, which seeks to reduce serious violence and neighbourhood crime. Specifically, it will mean still more officers, improvements in local police performance, more investment in tackling fraud, and the creation of a National Crime Laboratory.
With reports of violent crime in Torridge sadly now at their highest level since December 2020, this support could not have come at a better time. We must continue to combat crime wherever it occurs; we owe it to our communities and to our neighbours to keep our towns and villages secure. More broadly, the demands of policing are rapidly changing, and it is important that police services around the country are sufficiently financed to continue tackling traditional crime, while also listening to the public and building trust within communities. These aims are essential to public safety and community cohesion.
It is my hope, then, that this additional funding will help keep the peace and protect our communities throughout Torridge and West Devon. We all benefit from safer homes, streets, and neighbourhoods and the role of the police is central to that objective.