Geographical restructure for Northamptonshire Police will improve accountability

Chief constable Nick Adderley discussed the changes at County Hall today
Chief constable Nick Adderley discussed the changes at County Hall today

Northamptonshire’s top-ranking police officer believes a new policing model and staff restructure will help the force rediscover its ability to investigate crime, and improve accountability.

Northamptonshire Police is set to restructure the force into two local policing areas that will match the geography of the two new unitary authority councils that will be launched in April 2021.

The new model will come into effect in the autumn, and will see the policing areas in the West (Northampton, South Northamptonshire and Daventry) and the North (Corby, Kettering, Wellingborough and East Northants) headed up by separate superintendents, and will see CID locally based. The restructure will not result in any changes to staffing numbers.

Chief constable Nick Adderley announced the restructure at a Police and Crime Panel meeting this afternoon (July 17) at County Hall, and said the move would deliver more ‘effective, responsive and visible’ policing to the community.

He told councillors on the panel that former policing models and structures, although done so with good intent, had not worked for the force. He hopes that a new model of working, soon to be complemented by the geographical restructure, will continue what he sees as good progress that has been made since he took the reins in August last year.

He said: “Perhaps before we had not been as victim-focused as we would want. There were cases of getting rid of things as quickly as possible so somebody else can look at it, and making it somebody else’s problem.

“We had lost the ability to investigate crime. We became crime recorders more than investigators.

“My early findings of the force were that it didn’t know what its priorities were. When I came in, I started to dismantle that model.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold added: “You might recall that before I appointed Nick, the force had moved to a new policing model to improve performance. The model was discussed with inspectors who endorsed and supported it, but after several months it was not yielding the improvements we all wanted to see. He has brought a new focus to Northamptonshire Police, and he has a robust plan.”

Mr Adderley said that the geographical split was not purely down to the formation of the upcoming unitary authorities, but that it did ‘make sense to follow it’.

He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “When I came here the gulf between the police and public was getting wider. There was no clear ownership or accountability. This realigns those resources and gives them ownership and accountability in those areas.”

He added during the meeting itself: “The community will know who their leaders are, they will know who their inspectors and superintendents are. It will give a clear sightline of accountability. Under the current model the only person going home worried at night was me, and that can’t be right.”