Julian asked the Home Secretary, Priti Patel MP, for a commitment that new North Yorkshire Police recruits would be used to improve rural police presence rather than be purely focussed on city centres. This follows reports of a break in at Robert Wilkinson Primary Academy in Strensall and York’s Conservative Councillors raising reports of antisocial behaviour in their wards to Mr Sturdy. Mr Sturdy was joined by a number of colleagues raising the issue of rural policing with all pushing for a commitment that foot patrols and response times in rural areas should benefit from an increase in police officer numbers.
Figures released last month show that since the Government launched its major recruitment drive one year ago North Yorkshire Police has been bolstered by an additional 83 officers bringing the total number of police in our region up to 1,533. These statistics confirm that the Government remains fully on track to meet its manifesto commitment of recruiting 20,000 extra officers by 2023 and is ahead of schedule to have the first 6,000 in place by March 2021.
In response to Julian’s question, the Home Secretary said:
My hon. Friend is right. As he has heard the Policing Minister and I say this afternoon, we are absolutely committed that the additional resources going to all forces across the country are there to bolster our communities when it comes to keeping the public safe, including in rural communities, and tackling the root causes of the crimes that are taking place in his constituency.
After asking his question, Julian commented:
It is great to see the Government acknowledge that new police recruits will not just benefit city centres but also provide reassurance to rural communities. I have worked with the Conservative Councillors as well as York Outer’s Parish Councils to tackle issues affecting residents across York, such as antisocial behaviour, and 83 new police officers will go a long way to improving neighbourhood patrols to discourage such crime. By the end of this recruitment drive, North Yorkshire Police will have more officers than it has ever had which should help to cut crime figures even further.
As we’ve seen from the frontline response to coronavirus, the work of each and every police officer helps makes a tremendous difference and I would like to extend my gratitude to them, and to the new recruits, for joining the police force at such a crucial time.
Strensall ward Conservative Councillor Paul Doughty said:
I’m really pleased and grateful our MP Julian Sturdy is raising some of the issues we have experienced with Ministers in Parliament. There has been a sustained spate of anti-social behaviour in Strensall ward including intimidation, fires and criminal damage – stretching back for too many months. This is thought to be caused by youths that live outside the area and recently culminated with youths on the roof of Robert Wilkinson School, breaking in and causing damage and theft.
I have been in contact with the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioners office because residents have been telling us they are having problems getting through on the Police 101 number. This behaviour cannot be allowed to continue, and response times clearly need to be improved in some of our Outer wards of the city. I was told extra staff are being recruited in the Control room and this, with some extra focus, including this intervention by our MP will hopefully help