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Crime Commissioner says lack of funds is the key challenge for police

A lack of resources and investment is the key challenge facing Derbyshire’s police force, the county’s new crime commissioner has said.

Nicolle Ndiweni, who was elected Derbyshire’s police and crime commissioner in May, claiming the seat for Labour from the Conservatives, made the comments in a meeting at County Hall today (June 20).

Ms Ndiweni, a former Ashfield district councillor, was asked what the strengths and weaknesses of the force are.

She said: “The strength is will, people have the will to deliver. The weakness, or should I say challenge, is the resource and investment in the force to enable it to deliver. People have the will to deliver but they are telling me ‘please give us what we need to do our job’ – that includes officers themselves.”

Ms Ndiweni, who won a victory by a significant margin over her Conservative predecessor, Cllr Angelique Foster, said that a critical inspection report in May from His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire Rescue Services provided a benchmark for her tenure.

The report found the force “requires improvement” in half of its graded areas, including investigating crime, responding to the public, protecting vulnerable people and leadership and force management, finding it was not “providing a good service in some key areas”.

The force was rated “adequate” at managing offenders, developing a positive workplace, and police powers and public treatment.

It was graded as “good” at preventing crime.

Ms Ndiweni said: “There is work to be done and progress to be made. It is helpful to have this benchmark from an independent source. Our aim is to be in a better position at the next inspection in two years. There are areas where we are desperately in need of improvement.”

The new police and crime commissioner was asked about her approach to the issue of e-scooter enforcement, with the vehicles illegal in all but several pilot areas, unless being used on private land with the consent of the landowner.

Ms Ndiweni said: “I am aware of the e-scooter issue. It is something that has been brought to my attention. It is a real challenge. 

“PCSOs can’t seize a vehicle and the legislation is not supporting them at the moment. Police can only do what they can with the powers that they have.”

Cllr John Wright, a Derby city councillor, said police could seize e-scooters, and said the “genie was already out the bottle”, particularly in Derby, and that more needs to be done.

Ms Ndiweni said: “I couldn’t agree with you more. The genie is out of the bottle and we do need to get a grip on that.

“It is complex but not unsolvable. We need legislation to help our officers as much as possible and legislation that is enforceable.

“We have pockets of this issue across the whole county but it is about the resources to tackle that and how best to strategically use resources.”

Cllr Chris Poulter, former Conservative leader of Derby City Council, asked if Ms Ndiweni would retain the role of deputy police and crime commissioner.

The £30,000 a year role was controversially brought back in by Ms Ndiweni’s Conservative predecessor last July.

Ms Ndiweni, who receives a salary of £78,400, said: “Looking at my diary lately I definitely want a deputy, but the priority at the moment will be getting a police and crime plan. I will be looking for the right person with the right skills and what the aims of the police and crime plan are so I can get the right person to help deliver the police and crime plan.”

She was asked if the deputy would be appointed or if there would be a selection process, which the Derbyshire Police and Crime Panel could feed into, to which she said she “can’t commit to either or”.

The previous deputy police and commissioner, Cllr Robert Flatley, was directly appointed by Cllr Foster, with some questioning of his suitability taking place during his formal confirmation, which the panel did not agree with.

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