Police chief: More officers and better technology for Suffolk
Suffolk chief constable Steve Jupp has pledged more officers and better technology are on the way now the force knows its budget.
Since my column last month we now know what our budget will be for this coming financial year.
The budget set by government for us is a positive one and means that we will not have to make some of the difficult choices that we have been considering over the last few months.
I want to reassure you though that we will be making efficiency savings and using your money wisely to prioritise in the areas that I know you and all of us in the Constabulary recognise as important.
I attended the Police & Crime Panel recently and am grateful for the overwhelming support on the on-line poll from yourselves and the unanimous decision by the Panel to ratify the PCC's intent to increase the precept by £10.
Again, I would like to reassure you that none of these decisions are taken lightly.
I have been involved in lengthy discussions with the PCC, and then subsequently with the Police & Crime Panel, on how to ensure that investment is used to continue to keep Suffolk one of the safest places to live and work.
Some of the key areas of this investment will be recruiting more officers and staff to support the proactive investigations of the constabulary, and to form a Neighbourhood Crime Team of officers that will be working across the whole of Suffolk dealing with crime and anti-social issues that are important to you in a more dynamic way.
I absolutely recognise that visibility of police officers is important to you and the reassurance they bring, and this team will be there to complement the work of the Safer Neighbourhood Teams.
We are planning over the next three years how we deploy the additional officers that government has indicated we will receive.
These, coupled with the work we are doing to create capacity for our officers to focus on the mission of keeping you safe, will result in more officers being on patrol and therefore visible across Suffolk over the next few years.
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Along with the deployment of police officers and staff we are continuing to invest and deploy technology across the county.
Hopefully, you will have seen the results that the Sentinel Teams, using Automated Number Plate Recognition technology, have delivered since their inception in September.
We are currently in the process of delivering new technology that will ensure our officers are more aware of the issues facing your communities as they patrol them, and also enable them to spend more of their time patrolling and dealing with crime.
I will update you further as this technology goes live, as this is a huge step forward for a small force like Suffolk and underpins our ambition to be an innovative constabulary.
We are holding an innovation conference this month with partners from across the county to look at how we can deal more smartly with the issues that we face now and in the future.
Whilst the use of technology in all of our lives is now so important, I find it bittersweet to see that in the last week body-worn video will be issued to school crossing patrols in Suffolk, and some school teachers elsewhere in the country.
Of course, it is important that we gather evidence on people's behaviour.
However, I personally find it sad that we are getting into a position in society where we are being forced to use technology as a tool to correct people's behaviours.
As Chief Constable I can assure you I will be working with partners across the public sector to look at ways that we can educate and mitigate some of the behaviour that causes us to now have to use technology to prevent them.
I do recognise this is only within a small percentage of our population. However, I think it is really important as a society we work together to ensure the values of respect, tolerance and politeness remain at the forefront of how we live together here in Suffolk.
Finally, I was appalled when I heard about the racially-motivated stickers which were posted around some areas of Ipswich earlier this month. However, it was heartening to see the community showing its revulsion to them.
We all need to do what we can to make it clear racism is completely unacceptable and I assure you Suffolk Constabulary is very much committed to playing its part.