New chief constable announces plans to accelerate recruitment of hundreds of PCs

HUNDREDS of police officers are to be taken on at Humberside Police over the next 18 months, its new chief constable has announced.
Humberside Police Chief Constable Lee FreemanHumberside Police Chief Constable Lee Freeman
Humberside Police Chief Constable Lee Freeman

Chief Constable Lee Freeman, whose appointment was confirmed today, said he was going to accelerate a recruitment plan which he’d inherited from his predecessor Justine Curran.

Over the next 18 months the force - which has shrunk by around 650 officers in the past decade - will recruit just under 300 new officers.

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Mr Freeman said the force had experienced a 20 per cent increase in 999 calls in recent months. He said: “Our police officers and PCSOs are working really hard but they absolutely do need more resources to assist them.”

He is looking at putting police officers back in front line roles, where post can be filled by police staff. And he also pledged: “PCSOs are a fundamental part of the plan. If you currently have PCSOs, they are going to stay.”

Ms Curran announced her immediate retirement after being asked to consider her position by police and crime commissioner Keith Hunter, ahead of a damning HMIC report, which rated the force “inadequate” for protecting vulnerable people.

Overall the force’s effectiveness was judged as requiring improvement for the second year running. Its efficiency also is rated as “requires improvement” - up from “inadequate” in 2015.

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Grimsby-born Mr Freeman, 48, said his ambition was for the force to be “outstanding”. He said the force had been through significant change, which had affected how supported and valued staff felt.

“One of my non-negotiables is any change in future is rooted in bottom up, involving staff in changes.”

Mr Freeman’s salary of £144,768. As a local he will not be getting a relocation package, but he will receive allowances, including one for housing of £3,861 a year.

His appointment has been welcomed by the Humberside Police Staff Unison branch which said they already enjoyed “an excellent working relationship with him.”

They said government cuts had left the workforce “understaffed, overworked and overstretched. This cannot and must not continue going forward.”

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