Officer numbers are up and crime is down across Hertfordshire, the Police and Crime Commissioner has reported in his Annual Report.
The report covering 2019-20 highlighted new initiatives to help victims of fraud, antisocial behaviour and domestic abuse plus an improved system for public complaints about the police.
The full report has now been published alongside others examining the welfare of detainees, the use of stop and search powers and how police dogs are treated.
David Lloyd said: “The last year showed a very positive picture for the performance of Hertfordshire Constabulary with officer numbers up and overall crime down.
“We are on track to have the largest number of police officers in the county ever. When I set the budget the public overwhelmingly backed my proposal to spend the additional money from the precept on 75 extra officers.
“Every month we have new officers joining the Constabulary, subsequently by April this year there were more than 2,000 for the first time since 2011.”
The target is that by the end of 2023 there will be 305 more officers in Hertfordshire which represents an 18.1 per cent increase on the 2018/19 levels.
He added: “Meanwhile in the year covered in the report overall crime in Hertfordshire was down by 1.8 per cent. This gives Hertfordshire the second lowest level of crime when compared to our most similar areas, including Avon and Somerset, Hampshire, Leicestershire, Staffordshire, Surrey, Sussex and Thames Valley.”
The latest report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services, which rated Hertfordshire as ‘good’ in all areas of keeping people safe and reducing crime, was also referenced by Mr Lloyd.
Since its creation in 2015, Hertfordshire’s victim care centre Beacon has contacted 250,000 people effected by crime and supported many through the criminal justice system.
In the past year it has expanded with a dedicated fraud team which has so far helped residents recover over £300,000.
Recently additional staff have been recruited to pilot a new safeguarding Hub in the force’s Domestic Abuse and Safeguarding Unit (DAISU), and a specialist ASB caseworker.
Mr Lloyd also Chairs the Hertfordshire Criminal Justice Board and has been calling for reform of the system.
He said: “Currently it serves neither the accused nor victim as well as it could, this is characterised by low rates of guilty pleas at first hearing, over-listings, a backlog of cases and high rates of victims and witness attrition.
“I have been pulling together all partner agencies in the county to work together to address these issues.”
The full reports are available on the Commissioner’s website at hertscommissioner.org/