2018 will be remembered as year we built trust and confidence in policing

Officers from Operation Moonshot stop another driver in Norwich

Officers from Operation Moonshot stop another driver in Norwich - Credit: Archant

Chief constable Simon Bailey looks back on the progress made by Norfolk Constabulary and says they are building new trust across the county

As I look forward to 2019, naturally I am also looking back on the year that has passed and reviewing what worked well for us and where we need to do even more.

I started this year with bold plans to radically change Norfolk's policing model, proposals which would enable us to improve our service to you, but at the same time have the flexibility to tackle those invisible, but incredibly harmful, crimes that cause long-term damage to society. My 2020 model placed neighbourhood policing as its bedrock, recognising the importance of local visible policing for communities, and as chief constable I will always do everything I can to maintain this. This rollout of officers and staff, particularly into neighbourhood-focused teams, is now almost complete, helping us to grow our visibility and surge officers into areas where you tell us crime and disorder is taking place.

Only last week we saw the impact these changes have had, with two cannabis factories discovered in Felthorpe and numerous operations targeting serious criminality successfully undertaken. All these operations took place as a result of you talking directly to my beat managers and us taking action with great effect.

Another way we have looked to respond to community priorities is with Operation Moonshot. November saw Norwich welcoming one of these specialist units, Moonshot City, who concentrate their work solely on disrupting criminals using Norfolk's road networks. This process protects our communities as well as allowing frontline officers to focus on regular calls for service. In just 24 shifts, Moonshot City made 55 arrests and seized 41 vehicles.

While high risk, complex policing demand and your issues locally must take our attention, I also have to take into account the budget challenges that have continued to test us and have, in fact, increased even further in the last financial year.

Since 2010 we have saved over £37million from our policing budget, much through collaboration with our emergency service partners and local authorities but the financial challenges will continue.

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I am constantly listening to your concerns and I know you want policing to be more visible, but with funding cuts year on year, this has meant we have had no choice but to reduce our numbers. There are now 100 less officers than in 2010 and this is why I will be encouraging the PCC to raise the precept by £24 a year for a band D property. I want to be able to put more police officers out on patrol, meeting your needs and tackling the crimes and disorder that cause you the greatest concern.

During 2018 I believe we have risen to the policing challenge, achieving a lot more over and above this to build trust and confidence with all our communities. I am looking forward to the coming year with a real sense of anticipation; we are in a strong position moving forward and I truly believe that we will rise to the challenge and meet your expectations in making Norfolk even safer.