THE police and crime commissioner said the county is on track to become a ‘safer place’ following his first year in office.

Today (May 13) marks 12 months since Conservative John Dwyer took on the role, after beating Labour’s David Keane in the police and crime commissioner elections.

He previously held the same post between 2012 and 2016, prior to this, he retired as assistant chief constable (ACC) in Cheshire after a 30-year career.

As the public’s elected voice in policing, it’s the commissioner’s job to hold the chief constable to account for how the force is performing. Last year he carried out the largest ever survey on policing and crime in Cheshire to find out what people’s issues and priorities were, receiving nearly 19,000 responses from residents across the county.

Two of the main issues raised have been officer numbers and 101 non-emergency call waiting times. With 84 more officers compared to this time last year and 101 waiting times more than halving since last summer to around six minutes, Mr Dwyer believes both measures are heading in the right direction.

He said: “More officers for our communities and a more contactable police service means we’re on track to make Cheshire an even safer place to live, work and visit. I know people expect continued progress in these key areas and I’m determined to deliver.”

Over the past year, around £700,000 has been given to community groups and community safety across Cheshire, and the Commissioner’s Community Action Fund has supported groups across the county with initiatives to prevent crime and tackle anti-social behaviour.

Over the next year, the commissioner said 120 more officers are due to be recruited by March 2023, and there are set to be more call centre staff hired as part of his desire to see 101 waiting times brought down further.

He added: “We’ve made lots of positive strides forward over the past year, but I know there is always more to do and I want to keep the momentum going.

“In Cheshire we have more officers, lower 101 waiting times, more than £5 million in extra funding secured, new technology, and a clear focus on what people want us to achieve over the next year. I look forward to continuing to listen and deliver for communities across the county.”