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Richard Rhodes 'proud' of support for crime victims

Richard Rhodes. Credit: ITV Border

Cumbria's outgoing Police and Crime Commissioner says he's proud of the way he's improved support for victims, during his three and a half years in office.

Richard Rhodes announced he would not stand for re-election in September 2015, in order to spend more time with his family.

He will be replaced by Peter McCall, who won last week's election with 34.43% of the first preference votes and then 25.98% of the second preference votes.

Mr Rhodes launches his final annual report today, looking back on his term, and he released the following statement.

It has been an honour and privilege to be the first Police and Crime Commissioner for Cumbria.

I would like to formally congratulated Peter McCall on winning the Police and Crime Commissioner Election. I will this week be undertaking a handover in order to secure a smooth transition to the new Commissioner.

Three and half years ago when I was elected there wasn’t a job profile. Very quickly I came to understand that while the Constabulary was good at tackling crime and anti-social behaviour there was a particular need to improve services for victims.

Furthermore, Cumbria was only one of only two police force areas in the country that did not have a sexual assault referral centre. I am particularly proud that together with multi-agency partners we now have an excellent service supporting victims giving consistent and comprehensive support when they are at their most vulnerable.

In 2013 there was the real prospect of all the CCTVs cameras being switched off in the county. I am pleased by working with the Constabulary and the six local district councils that we now have one of the best systems in the country. The new system based at Police HQ is making a real difference to proactively fighting crime and supporting police officers and PCSOs in the line of duty.

I am pleased to be undertaking some pioneering ways of tackling crime and supporting victims through commissioning projects, aimed at providing early intervention to families experiencing domestic abuse. This in turn reduces the risks of adolescence violence and offending.

An innovative programme aimed at addressing and changing the behaviours of perpetrators of hate crime and domestic abuse has also been introduced. In addition, the programme called Dignity in Dementia helps to improve the well-being and reduce risks and potential harm experienced by individuals with dementia, as well as providing support for family carers.

The last 12 months has been especially challenging financially. Recently, I met with the Home Secretary Rt.Hon. Theresa May MP and explained in detail the financial difficulties for Cumbria should there be any radical changes to the funding formula.

As this is my final public appearance as Commissioner, it is timely to conclude with some words of thanks.

Most importantly I would like to thank the public of Cumbria. I have enjoyed and found it immensely rewarding to work for you. It has been a pleasure when I have met with you. Unfortunately, due to the size of Cumbria I haven’t been able to meet everyone!

I have received more than 5,000 pieces of direct correspondence in addition to more than 300 public engagements and hopefully have started to develop people’s understanding of the role and how it can help them.

I also wish to thank members of Cumbria Constabulary for being a dedicated team who work incredibly hard on our behalf keeping us all safe from often perils that we are often unaware of such as cybercrime. I am especially grateful to the Chief Constable Jerry Graham and the Chief Officer team for all their hard work in bringing stability to the Constabulary.

I am grateful also to the Police and Crime Panel for their support and being a critical friend.

Last but no means least, I would like to thank the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for their dedicated support working behind the scenes to make things happen.

It is with great regret that I will no longer be the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cumbria however, at the tender age of 74 feel that the time has come to finally retire and spend more time with my family.

– Richard Rhodes