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Boris Johnson at large in Northampton

James Averill details the Prime Minister's movements on a visit with Northamptonshire Police and Fire Commissioner

The Prime Minister stopped by at Weston Favell Police Station where he met members of the Neighbourhood Policing Team led by Inspector Beth Warren and was shown around one of the two new mobile ‘Beat Buses’, which is allowing Northamptonshire Police to increase its presence in some of the county’s most rural and remote areas.

Mr Johnson also met with Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold, Assistant Chief Constable Simon Blatchly and Northampton North MP Michael Ellis.

This is the second visit to Northamptonshire the Prime Minister has made in the last 15 months and gave the opportunity to highlight the positive journey Northamptonshire Police has been on since Mr Johnson’s last visit.

Since then, work has been ongoing to double the number of Neighbourhood Police Officers in the county – made possible by the uplift in police numbers that will see Northamptonshire Police grow in size to 1,500 officers by March 2023.  The latest HMICFRS report published in November praised the improvements made at the Force since its last inspection.

ACC Simon Blatchly said: “I was delighted to welcome the Prime Minister to Weston Favell today. The fact that it is his second visit to our Force in just over a year shows that the work we are doing here in Northamptonshire is not going unnoticed nationally.

“This was an excellent opportunity to highlight to the Prime Minister how we are implementing the new Beating Crime Plan and cutting down on serious violence and neighbourhood crime such as burglary and anti-social behaviour.

“There was also a chance to discuss our work on tackling drugs and serious organised crime and highlight the positive journey that we are on as a Force.”

As well as meeting the Neighbourhood Policing Team, the Prime Minister shared a cup of tea with response officers and was also shown around the new Safer Nights Out (SNOvan).

The SNOvan, along with the two Beat Buses, have been funded by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold. The mobile van is parked in Northampton town centre to help those enjoying the night-time economy, and it has already helped hundreds of people in its first few weeks of operation.

The SNOvan is also part of a wider response in helping to make women and girls feels safer in and around the county, with extra work being done by the Commissioner’s Office in partnership with West Northamptonshire Council to implement measures such as better street lighting and targeting the perpetrators of harassment or violence directed at women.

Stephen Mold said: “It was an honour to welcome the Prime Minister back to Northamptonshire Police again. I was delighted to help show him around one of the new Beat Buses and the SNOvan, and these have proved hugely successful since we introduced them in terms of offering a vital service but also improving our visibility in the community.

“I was delighted to speak with Mr Johnson about the important steps forward the Force is taking and that we are well on track to have more police officers on our streets than ever before.

“It was also a chance to discuss the impact of COVID on justice. We know that court delays have had an impact on the victims of crime and making sure we can deliver effective justice is a key part of my new Police, Fire and Crime Plan for the next three years.

“The visit also gave me the opportunity to highlight to the Prime Minister how effective the new collaboration and joint working between Northamptonshire Police and Northamptonshire Fire & Rescue Service has been since I took on the governance of the Fire Service from the County Council, and I was delighted to tell him about the positive steps that have been taken since then.”

Copy provided by the Office of the Northamptonshire Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner

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