New Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner's message for the incoming Prime Minister

Northumbria’s new police and crime commissioner has vowed to write to the incoming Prime Minister in her battle for more funding for the force.

Tuesday, 23rd July 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 23rd July 2019, 1:07 pm
Newly elected Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness with Northumbria Police's Chief Constable Winton Keenen.

Kim McGuinness also has a message for the new Tory leader – due to be announced on Tuesday – that issues such as crime have been ignored for too long during the ongoing Brexit debate.

Miss McGuinness, who successfully stood for Labour in last week’s Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner election, said: “My message to the new Prime Minister is that the problems in this country are not just about Brexit.

“People on a day to day basis are suffering from crime and criminality and I am angry that there is so little attention paid to these things.”

Newly elected Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness with Northumbria Police's Chief Constable Winton Keenen

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Miss McGuinness will be contacting the Conservative Government to seek “fairer funding” for the Northumbria force and added that cuts across other areas of the public sector had also had an impact on crime levels.

She said: “We have suffered nine years of Tory austerity which has directly cost us 1,000 officers.

“Our community services have also lost valuable services which provide people with the chance of equality and that links to crime in our community as well as policing.”

Miss McGuinness, 34, from Newcastle, saw previous Labour commissioner Dame Vera Baird’s 121,766 majority reduced to just 5,699 last week.

With the poll called after Dame Vera became Victims’ Commissioner, Miss McGuinness only has 10 months in the role before an already scheduled commissioner’s election take place next May.

Acknowledging that she “has little time to waste”, she met Northumbria Police Chief Constable Winton Keenen on her first full day in office.

Asked about her desire for more front line policing, Chief Constable Winton Keenen said: “We are confident that we can find a way to keep neighbourhood officers ring fenced in their communities and engaging in their communities and not responding to what is happening elsewhere.”

The force is also planning to spend the £2.3m it was awarded by the Home Office earlier this year to help tackle knife crime.

Chief Con Winton Keenen said: “We do have knife crime and have seen a increase in the numbers. But we do not have a street gang culture and lot of the incidents here involve people with knives in their own homes.

“We are both of a mind for the public health approach in talking to people. It is about prevention and engagement.”