Lincolnshire Police is facing a growing caseload of online, sexual and domestic crimes, according to Chief Constable Bill Skelly.
Speaking exclusively to the Lincolnshire Free Press, Mr Skelly revealed that the changing nature of crime meant that his force was spending more time “in the private spaces of people’s lives”.
A large part of my job has been spent working in the private spaces of people’s lives and in people’s homes where they have relationships that are causing them problems because of violence, abuse and other sexual offendingChief Constable Bill Skelly, Lincolnshire Police
According to figures from the website Police UK, nearly 200 violent and sexual offences were reported in Spalding alone in 2017, up by 15 per cent on 2016.
In Lincolnshire itself, there were 2,120 fraud offences reported between October 2016 and March 2017, costing victims an estimated £3.3million, according the force’s own statistics released last September.
Figures released by the NSPCC last month showed that 666 child sex offences were recorded across Lincolnshire in 2016/17, whilst a parliamentary report on domestic violence published in June 2017 showed the number of recorded cases in the county had jumped from 7,125 in 2008-09 to 10,276 in 2015-16.
Mr Skelly said: “The demands we’re having to respond to have changed over the last ten years, with a massive increase in the amount of digital activity taking place.
“This is only going to grow because people largely live their lives in a digital world and we’ve already seen a huge increase in calls to us about things that have happened in the digital world.
“There’s also been a huge increase around the areas of domestic abuse and sexual exploitation of both children and adults.
“A large part of my job has been spent working in the private spaces of people’s lives and in people’s homes where they have relationships that are causing them problems because of violence, abuse and other sexual offending.
“So the demands have changed but the amount of resources have reduced which is why it’s no surprise that when people are walking around their community, they see that police visibility is less.
“One of the tasks that I have over the coming few years is to see how we can find different ways of being visible, even though we’re still in one of the safest places in the country.”
A good working relationship with some “healthy tension” is driving Lincolnshire Police forward to keep the county and its people safe.
Mr Skelly also outlined his hope of improving the force’s IT structure, in partnership with Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Marc Jones who appointed him to the job in December 2016.
Mr Skelly said: “The Chief Constable and PCC are very aligned in what we want for the people of Lincolnshire and we’ve developed a working relationship over the last 12 months that has proved to be effective and productive.
“Undoubtedly, as with any kind of relationship, there are some big things that we need to make decisions on, such as IT structures for the police.
“We might have different views on that but if we’re starting from the place of having a good relationship, we’re confident that we’ll end up at the same place.
“The bit in the middle is the healthy tension there should be between the PCC, who appoints and holds the Chief Constable to account, and the Chief Constable who is responsible for delivering all of these services to the people of Lincolnshire.
“So I’ve absolutely no doubt that there will be some healthy tension and discussion in the coming months around some of the changes that we would want in terms of technology and other programmes.
“But I think that the PCC and myslef have a strong relationship and one that is really positive for people in the area of South Holland and the Deepings.”