Under pressure police officers are taking more than ten minutes to respond to ‘urgent’ calls in Corby.
In rural areas of the borough, this rises to an average of nearly 15 minutes.
The problem has been exacerbated by the closure of the town’s police station - in the year since it closed, response times have gone up by more than a minute.
Police confirmed the response times in data requested by Beth Miller, the Labour Party’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Corby and East
The information revealed that in urban areas of Corby the police were taking on average 10 minutes and 50 seconds to respond – in 2009 it was six minutes and 30 seconds.
It is even worse for Corby’s villages with an average response time to rural areas increasing from 10 minutes, 20 seconds in 2009 to 14 minutes, 30 seconds in 2018.
Beth, who is heading a campaign for even more resources to be spent on the town’s policing, believes urgent action needs to be taken to reverse the cuts which included closing Corby’s police station.
For 17 months police officers have been based at a new, state-of-the-art northern police headquarters off the A43 in Kettering because bosses said the that Corby’s Elizabeth Street building was no longer fit for purpose.
A police desk running during office hours was opened in the Corby Cube.
Now, following ongoing criticism, there are plans to find a ‘suitable location’ in the town for neighbourhood and response teams as well as PCSOs.
One of the options is the town’s fire station in Phoenix Parkway.
Beth, who narrowly missed out on winning the Corby and East Northamptonshire seat at the last General Election, said: “It cannot be right that the police now take 67 per cent and 40 per cent longer than five years ago to reach ‘urgent’ issues in Northamptonshire’s urban and rural areas.
“This isn’t a criticism of our police officers who work extremely hard – it’s a criticism of the situation they face as a result of persistent and pervasive cuts since 2010 by the Conservative government.”
In a joint statement, Northamptonshire Police and Police, Crime and Fire Commissioner Stephen Mold said: “Corby has changed significantly in the ten years covered by these figures: the population has increased by more than 22% from 55,800 to 69,000 people, and this brings significantly increased demand.
“At the same time, crime has changed and the police are dealing with very complex issues of vulnerability and risk which take more time.
“Corby police station was not fit for purpose and the decision to close it was part of a wider, historic review of the police estate to ensure it met current needs and to invest for the future. The station closed in December 2017, after the opening of the new response base a few miles away on the A43.
“Neighbourhood officers and our police enquiry desk remained in the centre of Corby.
“Chief Constable Nick Adderley is reviewing the Force as a whole and how it can be as efficient and effective as possible. As part of that, has made the operational decision to provide response officers with a facility in Corby, a decision that I wholeheartedly support as a response to changing circumstances. Given the work that is on-going to bring the police and fire estates together, there are also now a range of exciting options to share buildings and save money.
“Like the public, I understand the importance of visible policing and so I have been able through the council tax, to increase the police budget this year in order to recruit 200 more officers with the intention of seeing almost 100 more on the streets of Northamptonshire.
“This will take us up to and beyond the number of officers available for deployment than were available in 2010.
“Difficult decisions will always have to be made. I will always prioritise investing in frontline staff rather than maintaining buildings as it is our people, not our buildings that keep the public safe. The police and fire estate will have to be consolidated to make the savings that will support the delivery of high quality services.”
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner and Northamptonshire Police are launching a consultation next week called Policing – how would you decide, that aims to explain the difficult decisions that have to be taken and ask people how they would decide to use the resources available to the force.
Beth added: “We’re a growing town, our villages are expanding, and recent well reported incidents show us exactly why we need a proper police hub/station in Corby to support the town and the wider constituency.”
Beth, who has been working with former Home Office Minister, Vernon Coaker MP, is asking people to share their experiences.
She will be campaigning outside The Cube in Corby town centre tomorrow (Saturday, June 1) from 10.30am to noon.
You can find out more about Beth’s campaign on her Facebook page