Sussex police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne has said she will keep Boris Johnson ‘to his promise’ to bring 20,000 new police officers in England and Wales.
Speaking to us for the first time since being appointed the new chair of the national association of police and crime commissioners, Katy said she welcomed the new prime minister’s pledge for recruitment to begin within weeks.
When asked if her new role would allow her to ask for more policing resources, Katy said: “I have been very vocal around this, which is why I am delighted [with] our new prime minister.
“The first thing he said on the steps of Downing Street was he wants 20,000 more police officers and PCC colleagues, like me, have been pushing quite hard behind the scenes for this so we are really pleased about that.
“He is a massive supporter [of the police] and understands the need for visible policing. He totally gets that.”
Katy said she recently spoke with the prime minister ‘at length’ about the ‘importance of funding police properly’.
She added: “He is fully engaged with that and has made it a priority. I am really optimistic and I intend to keep him to his promise.
“We have already started recruitment [in Sussex]. I hope we can continue with that.
“There is a lot of change but all positive I think. I am looking forward to working with these new people.”
According to Sussex Police, Katy’s new role, which will run alongside her current position as Sussex police and crime commissioner, will give her a ‘bigger voice’ in policing nationally.
A spokesperson said: “She has plans to align this announcement with her current focus on tackling anti-social behaviour and her REBOOT programme.”
Katy said the new role provides Sussex a ‘real opportunity’.
She added: “I will speak on a national level on behalf of my colleagues. It is going to have its challenges as we are all politically very different but I think there is a real opportunity, certainly with Sussex, as I can talk about REBOOT at a national level.
“I don’t have more powers, as such, but I have more responsibility. I will get more opportunity to meet key government ministers so that will have its benefits.
“I think we need to do more work with the police officers and the front line review, where front line officers were asked their views on policing. I think there has been a lot of good learning come out of that and I want to implement that in Sussex but encourage my colleagues nationally to take it forward as well.
“I want to open up the criminal justice system so we get better management information between all the different players so we can see why a case takes so long from when it begins to when it ends and why convictions are so appallingly low at the moment.
“There is a lot of work we can do and I am looking forward to it.”
Katy also outlined the main issues Sussex is facing in regards to crime and anti-social behaviour.
“The rise in serious violence has definitely been an issue and all the knife crime,” she said.
“The number of young people being exploited is an issue as well as cuckooing.
“Fraud, particularly against the elderly, is a real issue. There are definitely things to keep me busy.”