THE new Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police says officer numbers will reach their highest level in years within months.

Lisa Winward was formally approved as Chief Constable on Wednesday, after taking on the role temporarily when Dave Jones retired suddenly earlier this year.

Although the force has budgeted for 1,400 officers for years, the actual number of officers has been far below, despite several recruitment campaigns, but Chief Constable Winward said that was about to change, and “the projection is, within this financial year, so by March 31, the force should have 1,400 officers”.

This figure, she said, factored in new recruits and experienced transferees to the force, with “an intake of about 140 officers” due to join within months, but also the number of officers expected to leave or retire in that time.

Chief Constable Winward said unexpected departures may have an effect on that number, but despite further budget cuts expected in coming years, she was determined to ensure frontline policing remained safe.

She said: “We have more money if we recruit brand new people all the time, versus people with 20 years service, and that makes a difference to the budget.

“Some really important information comes from people in local neighbourhoods, so neighbourhood policing is very much important part of the picture.

"We would rather consider how we better share facilities with other partners than cut people - we will look at all other options before removing people.”

The Chief Constable said that concerns over police visibility had been raised with her, but “being visible doesn’t always mean a person in a yellow jacket on the street”, and the rollout of electronic mobile devices to officers had seen exploration of Facebook and WhatsApp groups set up to ensure local communities could contact their local officers.

What question would you like to ask the new Chief Constable of North Yorkshire?

What question would you like to ask the new Chief Constable of North Yorkshire?

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