PCC welcomes more officers to record breaking Herts force
Proud families and friends were able to watch our newest police officers being officially welcomed to Hertfordshire Constabulary yesterday (Monday 7 March) – for the first time in two years.

Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyda and Chief Constable Charlie Hall presented the 12 new apprentice police officers framed certificates to mark the end of their initial 22 weeks’ training. They include a former Royal Navy head chef, legal clerk and ex-retail workers ready for a new challenge.

Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, David Lloyd said: “Speaking to these new officers yesterday I got a real sense of their commitment to help the people of Hertfordshire. They will be there for members of our communities during times of their greatest need, and we should all be thankful for that.

“They are a vital part of our largest every force, which already has more front-line officers in Hertfordshire than at any time in its history, and it will continue to expand further during the forthcoming year.”

Mr Hall added: “There’s nothing I enjoy more than welcoming new police officers into our police family, and I was delighted to welcome their families and friends to celebrate their achievement at police headquarters,” he smiled.

“COVID restrictions have prevented us from hosting this important day for the police officers and their family and friends for two years, so it was wonderful to get back to normal.”

He said: “We heard from the training team how this group tackled their training with grit and determination and I know they will do me and their families proud. They will spend the next two and a half years continuing their on-the-job training as they work towards gaining their degrees in Professional Policing Practice.

“We’re still recruiting police officers from all backgrounds and walks of life, and I would especially encourage applications from Black, Asian and ethnic minority people as we want to represent the communities we serve. Our dedicated Positive Action recruitment team are there to support you, with serving officers volunteering to mentor hopefuls as they prepare their application. Just get in touch.”

The student officers start their first postings across the county on Monday 14 March, with two based in Broxbourne, North Herts, St Albans and Watford, and one each in East Herts, Hertsmere, Three Rivers and Welwyn Hatfield.

Their initial training included a mixture of classroom based and practical sessions, covering a vast range of topics including law and powers, personal safety and dealing with volatile situations, first aid and safeguarding vulnerable victims. On-the-job training continues for 2½ years until officers are declared fit for independent patrol and graduate.

International Women’s Day: New police strategy for tackling VWAG
A new force strategy to tackle violence against women and girls (VAWG) has been agreed by police leaders in Hertfordshire ahead of International Women’s Day (8 March).

Chief Constable Charlie Hall and David Lloyd, Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, signed off the new plan on Monday (7 March) which provides a roadmap for how the constabulary takes on this challenge.

The document incorporates national VAWG strategies but has also been developed in consultation with local partners including the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, the NHS and children’s and adults’ safeguarding services.

It builds on recent work conducted by the force since the tragic death of Sarah Everard in London last year, which includes a strategic needs assessment for the county, based in part on a public survey that attracted more than 13,000 public responses.

Chief Constable Hall said: “Hertfordshire is a safe place, but sadly violence against women and girls is something that exists throughout the UK and the wider world. We recognise and understand the strength of public feeling prompted by the tragic death of Sarah Everard, and have been working to better understand the issues around it so we can tackle it effectively, alongside partner agencies and the public.

“We must support and listen to victims, look at why some public spaces make people feel unsafe, and use the powers available earlier to challenge perpetrators and prevent further harm from taking place. This strategy brings all this work together as well as how we as police officers must uphold the highest standards and challenge misogynistic, sexist or sexualised behaviour anywhere within policing.

“Tackling violence against women and girls is an absolute priority for Hertfordshire Constabulary and this strategy shows our continued commitment to tackling it.”

David Lloyd said: “This is a really important area of policing which the public are concerned about, and one which they are looking for action and reassurance on.

“I have focussed on this area since 2012, and Hertfordshire is in a good place when compared with the rest of the country – remaining one of the safest counties. But I want to do more and to see even fewer victims of crime.

“The constabulary has also been working hard to reduce violence against women and girls, and make them feel safer. This has resulted in this strategy and further dedicated actions will be outlined in my new Police and Crime Plan which is due to be published this month.”
Rural crime concerns discussed at barn meeting
Police, the PCC, partner agencies and local residents came together in East Herts on Thursday (3 March), to discuss the work being done to protect rural communities.

The latest Barn Meet event was held at the Chaldean Estate in Much Hadham and was hosted by the East Herts Rural Safer Neighbourhood Team.

Guest speakers on the day included colleagues from the constabulary’s Rural Operational Support Team (ROST), Assistant Chief Constable Matt Nicholls, Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd and local MP Julie Marson.

Chief Superintendent Richard Liversidge, East Herts Chief Inspector David Cooke and representatives from the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) were also in attendance.

Presentations were given by East Herts Council around fly-tipping, including details of how offences have dropped in the area and the Environment Agency talked about the dangers of liquid waste. Topics such as hare coursing and theft were also covered.

Neighbourhood Sergeant Terry Alcock, who organised the event, said: “Barn meets have always proved very popular and are a great way to engage directly with our rural communities. This is the first one we’ve been able to hold for a couple of years due to the pandemic and I’d like to thank all those who attended and those who gave talks and presentations.

“East Herts has the largest percentage of rural land in the county and we’re committed to building and maintaining strong relationships with those living in these areas. If you have any issues, concerns or ideas you’d like to discuss with us then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.”

Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire David Lloyd said: “I go to these barn meetings to hear first hand of those issues affecting farmers and rural communities, and to let them know what is being done and to find out where more work needs to be done.

“I know how people in remote locations can feel frightened and intimidated by criminals who come on to private land to steal, fly-tip or hare course. Hertfordshire now has more officers than ever before and I need to ensure that rural areas see the benefit of the uplift in police numbers.

“My fly-tipping fund pays to clear up rubbish dumped on private land and contributes half the cost of target hardening areas where there are repeat problems.”

For more information on the fly-tipping fund visit www.hertscommissioner.org/fly-tipping 
Deputy PCC attends event to keep students safer
A two-day event to prevent violence against women and girls and encourage reporting of offences has been held at the University of Hertfordshire.

Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire Lewis Cocking joined the first day of the awareness campaign on Tuesday (March 1st) to speak to students at the College Lane campus in Hatfield.

The event was organised by the Crimestoppers charity and the University using a share of the £548,000 in Home Office Safer Street funding, which the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) secured for Hertfordshire.

Students were able to discuss any concerns and were given security items including personal alarms, drink stopper and webcam lens blockers.

Mr Cocking said: “Violence against women and girls is a high concern of the public who are rightly demanding action is taken across society to tackle it.

“Today is an excellent example of partnership working with the University of Hertfordshire and CrimeStoppers, as education and changing behaviours are a key part of reducing many forms of VWAG.

“Later this month the Commissioner is due to publish his latest Police and Crime Plan which will include further measures to address this issue.”

The OPCC has also provided CrimeStoppers with funding to run a social media and community engagement campaign to raise awareness and encourage reporting of VAWG in the county, with a special focus on the student population of Hatfield.

Also at the event were representatives from Hollie Guard, a personal security app students can download to keep themselves safe. It is based on an alert system which the user can easily activate in the event of an emergency which sends an alert and accompanying audio and visual footage to selected close contacts. Users can also report instances of stalking or harassment to the company’s monitoring system which is then passed on to police.

Safer Streets funding has also been allocated to the University of Hertfordshire to provide thousands of students with an upgraded paid-for version of the app.

Meanwhile as part of the Safer Streets 3 programme Hertfordshire County Council are involved in updating five underpasses in Hatfield town centre. They are due to be renovated and equipped with CCTV cameras to improve the feelings of safety for residents and shoppers.

The wider work will also help build an evidence base for what is effective to reducing VAWG crimes and increase women and girls’ feelings of safety in the public spaces, which can be used in other parts of the county.

The University event was held on the same day that the Home Office launched its new national campaign ‘Enough’ campaign to tackle violence against women and girls

Part of the policy included adding recommends adding VAWG to the Strategic Policing Requirement (SPR), placing it on the same strategic footing as terrorism, serious organised crime and child sexual abuse.
20mph speed limits enforced across Herts
Roads with 20mph speed limits are policed and subject to enforcement the same as any other road, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire has said.

Following a question at a recent meeting of the Hertfordshire Police and Crime Panel, David Lloyd reassured residents that the lower speed limit zones were liable to speed checks and offenders could be prosecuted.

Mr Lloyd said: “All 20mph areas must be properly placed within road traffic regulation and with appropriate signage. Often 20mph locations will already have additional control measures and traffic design such as filter points and tapers which would naturally slow motorists down. 

“Across Hertfordshire we use a phased approach with educational and behavioural measures implemented first through Community DriveSafe groups and the deployment of the Road Safety Camera Vans.

“This can progress to the deployment of the Safer Neighbourhood Team using a speed gun and issuing warning letters and fixed penalty tickets.”

Last month a Mr Lloyd announced a pilot trial where residents who are concerned about drivers breaking 20mph limits in their roads can apply to set up a new speed watch scheme. Citizens living in streets which have already have the lower speed limit can volunteer to form a DriveSafe group with their neighbours to encourage vehicles to slow down.

Those taking part in the programme, organised by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, will be trained to stand at the roadside and record details of speeding vehicles for sending advisory letters to the owners, with the aim of encouraging them to reduce their speed.

Residents can also request one of four new road safety camera vans provided by the PCC which are available for the public to request to visit roads where they are worried about speeding. The vans operate particularly in lower speed zones, and locations where speeding is an issue but which have not necessarily involved deaths or serious injuries. More details on how to request a van can be found at the Commissioner’s website https://www.hertscommissioner.org/camera-vans.

Herts largest ever force to get extra officers
Hertfordshire’s largest ever police force is to be boosted by an extra 90 officers.

The growth will be funded following support for Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd’s proposal to increase the police precept of the council tax by an average of £10 a year.

Last night (Tuesday) the county’s Police and Crime Panel backed the 4.69% increase after hearing the majority of residents who responded to the survey were in favour of the increase. This means a Band D property will pay £223 annually, up from £213, while those in a Band A will pay an additional £6.67 and those in Band H £20 more.

The council tax precept will raise £102.2m next year, an additional £4.59m, while remaining the fifth lowest annual precept in England and Wales. The gross budget for the 2020/23 is over £260.8m, which also includes £141.8m of government funding, and £16.8m in additional fees, other grants, funds and reserves. This is up £13m on the gross budget for 2021/22 of £247.8m.

As well as more front-line officers, the funding will also be used to employ 20 additional staff in the force control room to answer public emergency calls and enquires – and freeing up police officers to be used in more operational roles. There will also be 20 more PCSOs recruited to work in schools.

More investment will be made into the force’s Prevention First to tackle violence against women and girls and new specialist financial investigators will be recruited to combat serious fraud and cybercrime.

Addressing the panel, which met at North Herts District Council Offices, Mr Lloyd said: “This budget marks the third year of an unprecedented investment in policing in Hertfordshire.

“I have continued to push for efficiencies and savings across the force with the aim of incorporating inflationary increases in the existing budget year on year. I have frozen the budget for my office for the forthcoming financial year.

“This process has meant that the maximum amount of money can be used in those priority areas the public want to see investment in.

“The public have made it clear that they want to see more officers on our streets across the county and this budget will enable that to be delivered. Last year we passed the record for the greatest number of officers in Hertfordshire’s history, and now we are bringing in even more.”

The precept increase will support the recruitment of an extra 90 officers in the next financial year. By the end of the March 2023 the Constabulary are due to reach an establishment officer level of 2,340. The previous record for officer numbers in Hertfordshire was 2,202 in 2007.

Mr Lloyd’s decision followed a public consultation in which 62 per cent of residents said they wanted to pay more to support extra policing in the county. Out of almost 2,500 replies the remaining 29 per cent disagreed and 9 per cent were neutral.

“I would like to thank the public and the Police and Crime Panel for supporting my proposal to increase the precept for 2022/23. The additional funding will enable the delivery of the priorities set out in my forthcoming Police and Crime Plan.

“My new Plan fully reflects what the public have told me that they want, and to address those persistent crimes such as burglary, drug offences, driving offences and, crucially, violence against women and girls.

“This includes a pilot hotspot policing approach to focus on where the highest areas of harm caused by crime are in the county and to address them with better targeted interventions and improve deterrence.

“But we are in a good place in Hertfordshire, burglaries have halved in the past three years and we have the lowest number of rapes and serious sexual violence, and the highest level of convictions for those offences, compared to our most similar forces.

“We can now continue to move forward and build on these solid foundations to make Hertfordshire safer for everyone.”
Businesses encouraged to report theft and burglaries
Businesses which fall victim to theft and burglary are being encouraged to report the crimes to police.

Despite business burglary dropping by a third in the past two years it is expected to rise following the lifting of Covid restrictions.

Now shops and firms are being reminded how they can contact the police if they have been targeted. The advice comes from the Independent Business Advisory Group (IBAG) which is run by the office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire.

During the previous two years the average number of business burglaries in the county have dropped to 77 per month, compared to 122 per month before the pandemic.

Shops and supermarkets are burglars favourite target making up a third of all properties effected, followed by schools, pubs, depots, building sites, hotels, commercial properties and sports clubs. The most stolen items include food, tools, cash and mobile phones.

Chief Superintendent Richard Liversidge said: “We want businesses to feel confident about reporting burglary to us as we often hear the complaint ‘it is not worth it as the police won’t do anything.

“But businesses are deserving of a police service in the same way that residents are entitled to a response. We need to know what type of burglaries are happening, and when and where, so we can build up a picture of the problem and allocate resources effectively.

“If your shop or firm is a victim of burglary then do let us know as the more information we have the better the chance we have to catching the burglars.”
Crimes can be reported online or via webchat at herts.police.uk, on the phone via 101 or at a police station with a front counter service.

Jeremy Bishop, who is Chairman of both IBAG and the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce said: “Business Burglary is a constant concern of business owners. One of the main aims of IBAG is to build trust and engagement by giving people the facts and explaining what they can do about issues and how they can get them resolved.”

To find out more details about IBAG or to join please visit www.hertscommissioner.org/IBAG.
Multi-million crime victim care contract renewed
A multi-million pound contract to care for victims of crime has been agreed by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire.

The £2.8m four-year contract, to begin this April, ensures those who live in the county will continue to benefit from one of the UK’s most comprehensive schemes run through the Hertfordshire Beacon Victim Care Centre.
Independent case managers can provide emotional and practical support to victims of crime, even if they have not reported the offence to the police.

The contract was renewed with Catch22, a not for profit business with a social mission, who have helped run Beacon since 2017 with the Constabulary’s Victim Services Team. The Police and Crime Commissioner is responsible for ensuring the provision of victim support services within their policing area, but it is funded by central government by the way of a Victims Grant.

Mr Lloyd said: “Beacon is a flagship victim service centre. Here in Hertfordshire we have one of the largest teams of victim service professionals in the country. Catch22 have been key to this and I am delighted they will be carrying on with us.

“Beacon provides support for everything from criminal damage to those affected by serious sexual assaults and murder. It ensures victims are cared for and kept updated as their case progresses through the investigation and judicial system.

“Historically victims support was often run by volunteers but our model is staffed by professionals working to a service delivery programme that has provided evidence of positives outcomes. It is a long way from the traditional idea that victims are only offered sympathy with a cup of tea and slice of cake. I have ensured continued investment in Beacon so it now has additional specialist teams which work with the victims of domestic violence, anti-social behaviour and fraud.”

Emma Jones, Assistant Director for Victims Services at Catch22, said: “We’ve supported hundreds of victims of crime over the last four years and we’re now in the privileged position to be able to help hundreds more. It’s not always easy for victims to come forward and ask for help.

“But whether it’s fraud, domestic violence or anti-social behaviour, we’re here to make sure they have someone to talk to who they can trust and who has the expertise to help them recover. We’re looking forward to work with the PCC and local partners to provide the best possible service to victims in Hertfordshire.”

The Beacon team, based at Hertfordshire Police Headquarters in Welwyn Garden City, will contact all victims of crime and, where appropriate, work with specialist case managers to provide a complete wrap-around service to help victims to cope and recover.

The Beacon Case Managed Service is available to all victims of crime regardless of when the crime was committed or whether the crime has been reported. Individuals will be supported on the journey to recovery by case managed support dependent on the individual’s needs and wishes.

The service offered and expertise available focuses on specialist provision to victims of; Fraud, Children and Young Persons Victims of Abuse, Victims of Stalking and Victims of Sexual and Domestic Abuse victims who are entitled to ‘Enhanced Rights’ under the Victims Code of Practise.

The service will provide organisational expertise in supporting victims of crime to both cope with the immediate impact of crime and to recover over the long term that includes but not limited to in-depth needs assessment, creation of a support plan, emotional and practical support and advocacy.

Beacon can be contacted by phone: 0300 011 55 55 by email at info@hertfordshirebeacon.org or at their website hertfordshirebeacon.org.
New 20mph DriveSafe scheme launched
Residents who are concerned about drivers breaking 20mph speed limits in their roads are invited to apply for a new speed watch scheme.

Citizens living in streets which have already have the lower speed limit can volunteer to form a DriveSafe group with their neighbours to encourage vehicles to slow down.

Those taking part in the programme, organised by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, will be trained to stand at the roadside and record details of speeding vehicles for sending advisory letters to the owners, with the aim of encouraging them to reduce their speed.

Like with the existing 30mph scheme, volunteers will receive Speed Indicator Devices to carry out roadside monitoring of traffic. They will be supported by local officers on site and by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) who will send out the advisory letters to drivers.

Speeding is a longstanding concern of Hertfordshire’s residents and the Commissioner David Lloyd is keen to pilot this extension of the DriveSafe scheme to empower local people to make a difference in their own communities.

To monitor the effectiveness of the 20mph scheme a pilot is now open for five trial sites across the county. Those interested in running a scheme are invited to apply to the OPCC to have one set up in their area.

All applicants must have the backing of ten other residents, including at least four people prepared to volunteer at the roadside. The groups will be asked to operate for 12 roadside sessions, starting in spring and ending in autumn 2022. The impact of the pilot will be evaluated as average speed and compliance data will be captured at each site before and after the roadside monitoring sessions.

Those interested in applying can find out more details and register at hertscommissioner.org/community-drivesafe-scheme-hertfordshire before February 28 2022.
Volunteering for roles with a difference
Those looking for a new challenge for 2022 can find out about volunteering roles with a difference, run by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire.

Citizens who want to get involved in interesting volunteering opportunities are invited to find out more during a recruitment webinar later this month.
New members are wanted to scrutinise officers’ implementation of Stop and Search and Use of Force powers. Members of the public will get to examine real-life cases where the tactics have been used, and then decide if the rules were correctly followed.

Additional Independent Custody Visitors are also needed to monitor conditions for those held in police custody and ensure the upholding of detainee rights, wellbeing and health. They carry out unannounced visits to Hertfordshire Constabulary’s two custody suites in Hatfield and Stevenage, during the day or night, seven days a week.

Commissioner Mr David Lloyd said: "Keeping Hertfordshire safe is something we all have a stake in and to which we can all contribute. More than 40 per cent of the county’s residents regularly lend their time to support others.

"I want to build on this excellent record of civic participation and explore how we can draw on the skills, energy and commitment of the public – whether that be individuals, organisations or local businesses - to make things better."

To find out more the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner is holding an online volunteer recruitment webinar on Tuesday 18th January 2022 from 7-8.30pm. You will hear from current volunteers from the Stop & Search Scrutiny Panel, Use of Force Scrutiny Panel and Independent Custody Visitors. They will be able to share with you more about their role, why they do it and how you can get involved. There will also be an opportunity for you to ask questions.

If you or anyone you know might be interested in volunteering for one of these roles then please register an interest by emailing pccadmin@herts-pcc.gov.uk.
PCC proposes £10-a-year increase for larger, smarter and more responsive police service
Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd is proposing to support a further boost in record officer numbers in Hertfordshire with an average £10-a-year Council Tax increase to make the Constabulary larger, smarter and more responsive.

The additional money will see the already record officer numbers rise by another 90 plus another 20 Police Community Support Officers to ensure a strong neighbourhood policing service is maintained; this is in response to the public’s wish to see more police officers on the street.

Reducing violence against women and children is also key priority in Mr Lloyd’s planned budget for the next financial year. The increase will meet inflationary pressures and cover a 3.5 per cent pay increase for officers and staff, following a pay freeze in this current year.

However, the Commissioner wants to ensure that the police will work smarter and make full use of technology to provide a service which is quicker, easier and more accessible to the public.

New systems will allow the public to send live video-streams to officers and the force control room when they call 999 or 101, and send digital evidence online. They will also be able to check an officer’s identity by requesting a unique pin code to get further reassurance.

Money will also be invested in the transformational Prevention First and evidence-based policing models so that resources are targeted in problem areas before common everyday crimes are committed or escalate to more serious offences.

One of the roles of a PCC is to consult with the public before setting the precept, which is the part of the Council Tax that pays for police services. For the 2022/23 budget, residents are being asked to share their views on increasing the annual precept, for an average Band D property, from £213 to £223. This equates to a 20p a week increase, with those in other Bandings paying more or less. Hertfordshire’s precept remains one of the lowest in England and Wales.

Running Hertfordshire Police is expected to cost £260m in 2022/23. This is made funded by a combination of £141m from central government, £102m from the Council Tax and an additional £17m in fees, charges and other grants. The proposed average £10-a-year increase would raise an additional £4.59m in income and represent a 4.69 per cent increase in the police budget.

Mr Lloyd said: “2021 saw us reach a record high number of officers in Hertfordshire and more are on the way. These along with the extra PCSOs will enable a continued focus on the neighbourhood work which people tell me concerns them, such as anti-social behaviour, speeding, burglary, business crime and violence.

“We also need to ensure these officers are accessible to the public and able to respond to what people need from their police service. We will be putting extra money in new technology so people can have closer connections with officers.

“But it is not just all about getting more officers, as the ultimate aim is reducing crime and the harm it causes. This can also be achieved by working smarter to stop it occurring in the first place and spotting the early warning signs.
“This additional money will enable the programmes of Prevention First and evidence-based policing that the Constabulary are following to progress and benefit all of our communities.”

“Understandably given some national incidents this year there is a lot of concern about violence towards women, and children. This budget will ensure that additional effort and resources are focused on this area. But to reassure you, Hertfordshire already has the lowest number of rapes and serious sexual violence compared to its most similar forces.

Mr Lloyd added: “Before I take any decisions on the budget, I want to understand from the people of Hertfordshire about what they feel the local priorities should be.”

Now Mr Lloyd wants to hear the public views on his proposal. A survey opens today (Tuesday) December 21 and will run until January 14 2022, it can be accessed here www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/precept2022.

More details and Mr Lloyd’s open letter can be seen at www.hertscommissioner.org/public-consultation.

If you would like to give comments, please send them to your.views@herts-pcc.gov.uk or by completing this short survey (insert survey link). You can also send a letter to the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, 13 Vaughan Road, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, AL5 4GZ.

Read Mr Lloyd's Open Letter here

Hertfordshire's response to new national VWAG Framework
Police leaders in Hertfordshire have pledged to stay relentlessly focused on public trust and confidence in policing today (Wednesday 15 December), with Chief Constable Charlie Hall saying, “No woman in Hertfordshire should fear approaching a police officer for help”.

The pledge follows the publication this morning of a new national policing framework to radically reduce violence against women and girls.

Hertfordshire Constabulary is supporting the new framework from the National Police Chiefs’ Council, seizing the opportunity to build on the work the force has already done to protect vulnerable people and to understand and respond to public concerns about male violence against women.

The framework sets out a road map for a consistent service from forces across the country, as well as a renewed focus on challenging perpetrators of violence both in public places and within the home, and more work to challenge misogyny and misconduct within police ranks. Hertfordshire Constabulary will be taking forward actions from the national framework and incorporating them into a force strategy due to be published early 2022.

David Lloyd, Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, said: “Police legitimacy with the public is one of the foremost issues facing policing today, and we need to take steps both in Hertfordshire and nationally to address it.

“One of my roles is to ensure, on behalf of the public, that the constabulary properly undertake vetting of officers and that disciplinary procedures are vigorously followed, so that any issue is picked up at an early stage. The Chief Constable and I regularly discuss what needs to be done to ensure that confidence in the police is improved and maintained, and it will remain a high priority.

“My office has secured additional Home Office funding for Hertfordshire and has already begun working on projects to improve safety for women and girls across the county. In addition, I have ensured that Hertfordshire now has one of the most extensive and robust complaint systems in England and Wales to enable the public to raise concerns over officer conduct.”

Chief Constable Hall said: “The murder of Sarah Everard earlier this year by a then-serving police officer and other recent events have shocked everyone, and also damaged confidence in policing in some communities. These events in no way reflect on policing generally, however we also recognise that there is work to do to rebuild public trust and confidence in policing, especially amongst women and girls.

“We want every woman and girl in Hertfordshire to know that approaching a police officer for help is always a safe thing do to. A report of violence or abuse will always be taken seriously. We will work with you to get you the right support and seek to bring to justice those who are responsible for abuse. Our officers also understand that they may need to go to greater lengths at times to verify their identity and reassure you their actions are bona fide.

“We recognise that we need to challenge and address inappropriate behaviour among police officers and staff, including misogyny and sexism where that is found. We work to educate officers and staff about attitudes through training and our internal Code of Ethics. Where necessary our Professional Standards Department will investigate wrongdoing by police officers too – we have shown we will not tolerate any such behaviour within policing in Hertfordshire.

“This new national framework as well as our own local strategy will enhance this work. We remain completely committed to tackling male violence towards women and girls and this is a significant priority for the constabulary that we wish to work with you on.”

The police service nationally has recognised that confidence and trust has been damaged by the murder of Sarah Everard in London earlier this year by a then-serving Metropolitan Police officer. These concerns are recognised by Hertfordshire Constabulary too, and work has begun to respond to them. These actions include:

* New governance structures have been set up following a joint strategic needs assessment completed for the force and partner agencies earlier this year. A further multi-agency violence against women and girls strategy will be created and overseen by the Hertfordshire Executive Domestic Abuse Board.

* A Personal Safety Survey conducted by the joint County Community Safety Unit attracted more than 13,000 public responses in Hertfordshire. This work has helped public agencies better understand public concerns and is helping shape strategy.

* A new force strategy (as referenced above) is being created to be published early next year. This strategy will cover subject areas including safety in public spaces, focusing on perpetrators, improving support and confidence in reporting for victims, officer training around recognising vulnerability and referral pathways, building public confidence through communications and community engagement, as well as an internal focus on vetting and recruitment processes, supporting whistle blowers, and many more areas.

* How the force manages and investigates reports of spiking offences has been reviewed to ensure consistency.

* Last month, the constabulary launched its sexual assault prevention campaign, Operation Advisory, raising awareness of issues such as consent, spiking and online dating, during the festive party season. It also marked White Ribbon Day and 16 days of action against domestic abuse, raising awareness of violence and abuse within the home.

* The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire recently secured more than £500,000 from Home Office funding for safety measures including improving lighting in underpasses in Hatfield.

* The constabulary also continues to work with partners to prioritise the protection of the most vulnerable in society and works closely with the county council for example to protect women and children from domestic and other kinds of abuse. The constabulary has specialist units dedicated to investigating domestic abuse and sexual assaults and providing support to victims.

* The national pilot StreetSafe scheme also provides a means by which the public can report locations in their neighbourhoods where they feel unsafe. In Hertfordshire, these reports are reviewed by local police alongside relevant partners to consider what preventative action can be taken to make the areas safer. Reports can be made anonymously at police.uk/streetsafe. Because of its success the pilot has been extended to the end of March 2022.

* The force has also worked to improve the gender balance among police officers in the force. As of 31 October 2021, more than a third (35.1%) of police officers in Hertfordshire Constabulary are female – above the national average for police forces (32.3%). Almost half of the force’s Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) are female too (47.4%) which again is above the national average (46.2%). The force also has female officers in senior leadership positions including Assistant Chief Constable, Chief Superintendent, Superintendent and Chief Inspector.