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Commissioner's Blog and Office Update - 10th April

KH - Grimsby portrait

As we progress through this unprecedented emergency period, in which the whole world has been affected to an extent never before experienced, we are all trying to create new ways of operating as organisations or businesses and trying to protect ourselves, others and specifically the NHS. As your Police and Crime Commissioner I am responsible for a number of areas and this blog will highlight some of the things the Office of The Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) has been doing to ensure vital services are maintained and vulnerable people supported.

Of course a key feature of my role is oversight of Humberside Police and a topic of much debate during the past days has been how the police are enforcing the new rules issued by Government with the intention of making us all safer. It is important to differentiate between the national debate around this, and how Humberside Police have operated. From the time this emergency began I have emphasised to the Chief Constable that my Police and Crime Plan would remain unchanged. Whilst the primary aims of the police are to preserve life and prevent crime the priority for them in how they carry this out is to build confidence in the police and partners and encourage resilient communities whilst also protecting the vulnerable. This requires a careful balance and I am content that Humberside Police are getting this right. That is not to say that there have not been examples quoted in the media where some officers in other parts of the country may not have got the balance right in the period immediately following the creation of the new rules and prior to the issuing of enforcement guidance from the Government and the Police Chiefs Council. Let’s remember, however, this is new for everyone and expecting consistency of application from day one is simply unrealistic. I do feel progress has been made nationally on this but we may still see some regional variations for a while longer.

There are those who say virtually any police enforcement of the new rules is tantamount to the creation of a police state and others to the contrary complaining that police action is not sufficiently robust. The police, as ever, find themselves in the middle trying to navigate between these competing narratives. My role, as your elected representative, is to ensure locally they uphold the essential balance that maintains public support and confidence. I think Humberside Police have been doing that and I thank the Chief Constable for his clear leadership in this matter. I also thank all the officers, staff, PCSOs, volunteers and special constables who, together, are keeping our communities safe under great pressure and an ever-changing operational environment.

We all have a role to play though and a key part of that is to follow closely the emerging Government advice which is intended to give the NHS the best possible chance of coping with those who require their services during this period. Those who flout the rules as stipulated by Government are putting us all at risk. It is as simple and as stark as that. That is the best medical advice and the police will always revert to their primary duty of preserving life, everyone needs to understand that. At times of emergency some liberties can be curtailed for the benefit of the many. That has always been the case and that is the case now. The more we comply the quicker we will revert to something approaching normality.

Please keep yourselves and your loved ones safe by following Government advice and stay inside to protect the NHS.

Keith Hunter 
Police and Crime Commissioner

An update on our work

Since the beginning of the lockdown period our office has been closed and all staff have been working from home and able to conduct duties due to business continuity planning. Meetings have been taking place though Skype and conference calls. Last week we submitted a bid for funds to the Home Office Safer Streets Fund, which provides money for crime prevention in locations where there are high levels of acquisitive crime. We await the outcome in due course.

We have taken stock of increased vulnerability due to the COVID-19 lockdown and in our role as commissioner of victims’ services we are making sure those services are still in place and can provide support. In the first instance we are increasing communications to ensure local messages are in place to signpost those affected by Domestic Abuse to find help. To follow this we will be considering the messages to young people to keep them safe from online grooming and criminal exploitation through our campaign Not In Our Community, and covering the wider area of scamming.

In our role as oversight of Humberside Police, we have adjusted our assurance processes to remote meetings but robust arrangements are still in place – we are still working to our Accountability Board cycle with the force and implementing enhanced scrutiny for COVID-19 police powers. We have also adjusted our Independent Custody Visitor provision to ensure custody standards remain checked.

Our commissioned services have all been checked for business continuity arrangements and services adjusted to support people. For more information on the services we commission click HERE 

The Humberside Criminal Justice Board, chaired by the Commissioner, is ensuring risks are being captured throughout the system and calling extraordinary remote meetings to discuss issues more widely.

Local Community Safety Partnerships have been approached to consider risk and operations over this period including flexibility for those in receipt of grants to extend the delivery term.

Coronavirus Information where you live

For links to local council advice sites and other information CLICK HERE

Domestic Abuse - Don't Suffer in Silence



Posted on Thursday 9th April 2020