Commissioner Tony Hogg makes 3,000 pledge on police numbers
POLICE numbers will not be cut below 3,000, the new Police Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall has promised.
Last summer there were fears that the number of front-line officers in the two counties would fall to 2,490.
Tony Hogg, who was elected last November, will spell out his goals and how he will achieve them on Friday.
He will tell the Police and Crime Panel that he will increase the number of Special Constables to help increase visibility and reduce the fear of crime.
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At the same time he will maintain an establishment of at least 3,000 police officers.
Last week there were 3,146 officers, and according to a report last summer by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary the number was projected to fall to 2,490 by 2015.
But Mr Hogg's staffing pledge is subject to there being no more Government funding cuts in the pipeline.
Mr Hogg was one of 15 police commissioners elected in a bid to make policing more accountable.
He will promise to meet with the public regularly at events and surgeries to hear their views first hand and take action where appropriate.
In his report on Friday Mr Hogg will say: "The funding model I have developed with the Chief Constable aims to halt the decline in police numbers by sustaining police officer numbers above 3,000.
"This will effectively offset the number of officers we expect will retire from the force during that same period.
"Subject to any further Government cuts, I am able to provide the Chief Constable with sufficient funds to recruit approximately 534 police officers between 2014 and 2017."
The number of Special Constables will rise from 600 this Spring to 800 by March 2017.
But the number of Police Community Support Officers will fall from 414 to 360 over the same period.
Police staff numbers are also projected to fall, from 1,810 to 1,594.
Mr Hogg will also promise to provide targeted funding to the voluntary and charitable sectors to work with the community safety agencies to reduce crime.
"I will appoint an advisor to ensure victims' views are heard and taken into account by the police and partners," Mr Hogg will tell councillors from across the two counties, who have been appointed to oversee his work.
Mr Hogg will target alcohol problems prevalent in the region's towns and cities.
"I will work with practitioners, the licensed trade and business sector to challenge irresponsible behaviours, in particular alcohol abuse and to raise awareness of the impact it has on crime and health," he will say.
He will also provide funding to Community Safety Partnerships and other organisations to reduce crime and improve safety.
Mr Hogg identifies 20 top hotspots across the region – with four of them in Plymouth: the city centre, Stonehouse, Morice Town, East End and Devonport.