Commissioner pledges action after drop in solved serious sexual offences and domestic burglaries

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore with Chief Constable Douglas Paxton
Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore with Chief Constable Douglas Paxton
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Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner has pledged to take action after a drop in the number of solved serious sexual offences and domestic burglaries in the county.

In his first annual report, Tim Passmore revealed the solved rate for sexual offences dropped by 6.9 per cent and domestic burglary by 4.4 per cent in 2012/13.

He says more investment is needed in facilities and technology to improve their track record.

Addressing serious sexual offences, Mr Passmore, who has had meetings with Suffolk Rape Crisis and the Sexual Assualt Referrals Clinic on the matter, said an issue was encouraging victims - the majority of whom are women - to come forward.

He said: “One of the difficulties we have is the lack of trust and confidence in the whole system from reporting to police to trial.

“We’ve got ongoing discussions with the criminal justice system to make it easier for people to report it and understandably get a sympathetic hearing.”

He said they need to improve the environment with investment in facilities such as quiet rooms and forensic tools such as swabbing.

On domestic burglaries, Mr Passmore said they are looking at more automatic number plate recognition, increasing the number of dog units and building the number of frontline police officers upto about 1,200.

At the end of March the number of officers stood at 1,184. He also wants to increase the number of Specials from 307 to 400 by 2016.

Funding for some of these initiatives will be found through Suffolk Police’s underspend, which was £2.3 million last year.

The force made £7.3 million in savings last year and is expected to make a further £10.6 million by the end of 2016/17.

When asked where these savings will be made, Mr Passmore said: “I’m not pessimistic about the future. We’ve got the ongoing collaboration with Norfolk. There are other police forces we need to co-operate with on the borders of Suffolk - Cambridgeshire sand Essex.”

Mr Passmore also wants to cut down on bureaucracy through mobile data technology and pointed to other collaborations in the public sector using the four facilities in Suffolk shared between the Police and Fire Service as an example.

He noted that the Chancellor George Osborne announced a £50 million funding pot for commissioners to make ‘innovative approaches to save money to preserve frontline services’.