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Norfolk needs new ways to deal with new types of crime

PUBLISHED: 13:39 14 December 2017

Chief Constable Simon Bailey at Norfolk Constabulary Headquarters, Wymondham. Photo: Steve Adams

Chief Constable Simon Bailey at Norfolk Constabulary Headquarters, Wymondham. Photo: Steve Adams

Copyright Archant Norfolk 2015

Norfolk’s Chief Constable Simon Bailey says the nature of crime is changing fast - so police forces must change too.

In recent weeks, I have published proposals to change my local policing model to ensure that Norfolk Constabulary is fit for the future. The face of crime has changed and will continue to change. We have to adapt to meet this challenge.

When I started my career as a police constable nearly 30 years ago, the majority of my work involved burglaries and car crime. For police constables today, the picture is very different with the internet, mobile phones and computers bringing a whole new dimension to their workload.

We are now likely to investigate, on average, five burglaries each day, a drop of more than two-thirds from the 1990 level of 14. We will also see on average 44 reports of sexual abuse and exploitation, an increase of over 400%.

While I believe that much of this increase is down to the fact that victims believe their reports will be taken seriously by us, I also believe it is as a result of the online access modern criminals have to vulnerable members of our society.

Every single day at least four crimes committed on the internet are reported. These include sexting, fraud and social media harassment. I fear this number will continue to grow. A stark contrast to the days when the internet was not prevalent in society.

Investigating these new types of crime is more complex and time-consuming. The vast majority of crime investigations involve extracting information from technological devices such as mobile phones or computers. This, as you can imagine, takes time, requires skills and is costly.

The increases in reports of rape, adult and child abuse, serious sexual offences and serious violence have led to a need for more detectives. We also need to use undercover and covert tactics to tackle child abuse. As an example, our online investigators have safeguarded over 60 children and arrested over 200 people as part of Operation Bane.

I have spoken previously about the proposals to create two state-of-the-art facilities, in the east and west of the county, giving us the right people in the right locations, with the appropriate technological support to deal with this 21st-century crime.

Domestic violence is another area of crime that continues to grow with over 40 calls a day from victims received by our Control Room. This crime is often hidden behind closed doors and can quickly turn from frightening to fatal. We must take any report of abuse seriously and continue to work with other agencies and organisations to prevent it.

Our new policing model, based on evidence-based research, has been designed to give us the flexible approach that will make us fit for the future. We are in a whole new world from when I was a police constable and we need to change to reflect that.

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