Police bid for millions of pounds to help Devon deal with ‘summer surge’

Devon and Cornwalls Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez . Picture: OPCC

Devon and Cornwalls Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez . Picture: OPCC - Credit: Archant

A bid has been made for millions of pounds in extra funding to help police deal with the ‘summer surge’ of visitors in Devon each year.

Devon and Cornwalls Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez. Picture: OPCC

Devon and Cornwalls Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez. Picture: OPCC - Credit: Archant

Every summer there is an 11 per cent increase in crime between April and September in the region, and Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez has called on the Government to properly fund policing.

Devon and Cornwall Police is the largest force in England but it receives just 49p per day per person in funding - compared to the average of 57p across England and Wales.

The 'summer surge' sees the population in the area increase by seven per cent. It is the equivalent of an extra 125,000 people each day if spread across the whole year - reducing funding in real terms to just 46p per person per day.

Bidding for a special grant from the Home Office, Ms Hernandez said while tourists bring prosperity, there is no direct revenue from this to fund police.


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Between April and September officers face a 14 per cent rise in incidents and an 18 per cent increase in missing people.

Ms Hernandez said the force has invested in services like the rural crime team and collaborated with other emergency services to cope with 'unprecedented levels of calls' over the past three years.

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She said: "The increase in activity is no longer confined to the school summer holidays, we've shown that it begins in April and lasts right through to September, but the impact on our people and the communities they serve is year-round because training and leave have to be taken in the remaining six months.

"The force has to deal with this additional challenge of a peninsula that is isolated from others, with just 10 per cent of it within six miles of another force area, and it's predominantly rural, so our resources and spread thinly.

"Devon and Cornwall are stunning places to visit but we're not free from crime. In recent months two huge cocaine hauls were detected off our coast, the force has disrupted county lines drug dealing schemes and a serious and organised people smuggling operation."

A Home Office spokesman said it was committed to empowering police with the resources needed, adding: "Devon and Cornwall Police are receiving £314million in funding in 2019/20, an increase of £22.7million on 2018/19 and a total increase of £32million compared to 2017/18."

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