Vote supports police after commissioner’s meeting

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore with Chief Constable Douglas Paxton
Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore with Chief Constable Douglas Paxton

In spite of individual complaints, the majority at a public meeting on the police voted satisfied with the force.

About 40 people attended a meeting with Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore and Chief Constable Douglas Paxton at the Athenaeum in Bury St Edmunds last night.

They heard criticism from the floor ranging from having too many police cars at road accidents to complex issues on how they deal with human rights, but when it was put to an electronic vote 75 per cent agreed with the statement that the police were dealing with the issues that matter.

However, Stephen Basey-Fisher, managing director of Century Logistics at Saxham, received apologies from the two police chiefs when he complained businesses had no confidence in the police because they received ‘no follow up’ on burglaries and excuses for not prosecuting. He said had to personally look at a neighbouring businesses CCTV after wiring was stripped from his buildings, Mr Paxton said: “If you were left so you had to do the inquiries, that’s not good enough.”

He said they were now concentrating in keeping victims informed. “We’ve been going off doing what we do but we haven’t been feeding that back to the victims.”

A man who said he had 35 years in the police at a senior level told the meeting: “When I was in the police we had a 49 per cent detection rate. We would have thought it was appalling that we now have 29 per cent.”

Mr Passmore said it was now just over 30 per cent.

Mr Paxton replied: “If someone says to me the police must deliver a 50 per cent detection rate, I wouldn’t do it, I’d resign. My successor would have to arrest every young person involved in the slightest crime and we would have an appalling society. It’s what we used to do.

“In violent crimes we’re hitting 50 per cent. I will not strive to hit that for minor assaults and every little bit of damage.”

He said doing that would criminalise to many people who should be given another chance.

Put to an electronic vote 52.8 per cent of the audience though anti social behaviour levels were about the same as last year and only 5.6 per cent said it had increased.

Asked whether they felt the crime rate had increased in two years, 47.5 per cent said it was about the same and 25 per cent said ‘a little less’ against 10 per cent saying a little more.

Asked how say they felt in the area in which they lived, 64.9 per cent said ‘very safe’ and 29.7 per cent said ‘safe’.

Nearly 72 per cent felt Suffolk Police were good value for money.

Other scheduled meetings are:

Mid Suffolk: The Cedars Hotel, Needham Road, Stowmarket, Monday October 7

Suffolk Coastal: Marlborough Hotel, Sea Front, Felixstowe, Wednesday October 9

Babergh: Sudbury Town Hall, Market Hill, Sudbury, Thursday October 10

Forest Heath: Memorial Hall, High Street, Newmarket, Monday October 14

Ipswich: University Campus Suffolk, Ipswich Waterfront, Tuesday October 22

All start at 6.30pm.

For details of the PCC’s work, visit www.suffolk-pcc.gov.uk