I am delighted to resume my Bury Free Press column following my re-election as Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner in May.
It really is a huge honour and privilege for me to have this opportunity again and I’d like to thank everyone who supported me. I will continue to do everything possible to represent all people in Suffolk.
My term of office lasts for four years and this is an ideal moment to reflect on what has been achieved and provide a flavour of what can be expected in the future. As I have stated previously, we are lucky to live in a low crime area and recently Suffolk Constabulary was rated “Good” in all three performance categories by her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary, placing us in the top third of all police forces in England and Wales.
In April the policing changes in the Suffolk Local Policing Review (SLPR) were implemented. This change is a root and branch transformation of county policing that recognises the enormous change in the pattern of crime and how our police force is able to successfully deal with the criminal challenge head on. I’m sure you, like me, are looking forward to hearing from the Chief Constable how matters are progressing so our county continues to be a very safe place to live and work in. Policing in Suffolk has benefited from the more favourable Home Office financial settlement last December so this year there will be recruitment of 30 extra officers and this will contribute to the fight against crime and improving front line visibility.
Every PCC must produce a Police and Crime Plan setting the strategic objectives for their term of office; each plan is tailored to the needs of its own community. My Police and Crime Plan for Suffolk will be redrawn and a draft published by the end of the summer which will be put out for consultation during the autumn. It is crucial I receive as many comments as possible on safety, policing and security from across the county since your views will help shape the next plan.
My first Police and Crime Plan resulted in significant progress in important areas including domestic abuse, cyber crime as well as business and rural crime. A great deal of work has been done by our Roads Policing unit on enforcing the “Fatal Four” we’ve invested in a new four person motor cycle unit and the two extra community speed vans. This new investment was made as a direct consequence of listening to your views and concerns.
The new plan will be based on my manifesto commitments. There will be additional focus on victims’ services (which became the responsibility of PCCs in October 2014) because it is so important to help victims of crime rebuild their lives after what is, for many, a painful and traumatic experience. Looking after the business community is critical for our future prosperity so there will be a business section in my new plan – again based on my election manifesto. I will continue to do all I can to support the good work that the voluntary sector. Volunteers in Suffolk do extraordinary work and we all have a huge debt of gratitude to these wonderful individuals – it is the hallmark of a decent and tolerant society that we all do whatever we can to look after and care for those who are so less fortunate than many of us and give them the compassion they need.
In future columns I’ll explain how we can develop more effective and efficient partnerships right across the public sector, including with the other emergency services. I’m also looking at new opportunities to reduce re-offending rates and helping individuals to break free from a life of crime and imprisonment. For some years I have believed we must do much more as a society to rehabilitate offenders as many of them have never had good education or stable family backgrounds so I am ready to play my part in turning this unacceptable situation around.
Lastly, I will continue to be accessible for all of you either in person or through our programme of public meetings, surgeries and speaking engagements so I can listen and understand your views, because it is only by working together we continue keeping Suffolk safe – nothing else will do!
Follow Tim on Twitter: @timspcc
Or via the website: www.suffolk-pcc.gov.uk