How we’re making solid progress towards my 2020 policing plan
- Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
Last October I launched radical plans aimed at delivering effective and efficient policing set against unprecedented increases in complex crimes and a £10m savings requirement by 2020.
One year on from when I launched our innovative new 2020 policing model, I can honestly say that this is just the beginning of Norfolk's policing for the future.
We needed to restructure our policing service to ensure we could deliver policing for the future, not just until 2020, but into the decades beyond.
With this in mind the new model focused on:
• A review of neighbourhood resources with the removal of the PCSO role and an increase in police officers and pro-active policing
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• Investment in detective resources and specialised investigation hubs to match increased demand
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Our proposals enabled us to invest in frontline resources, placing more police officers in roles that supported our local neighbourhoods and I'm pleased to report that many of those posts are being filled with officers whose main priority is to focus on issues important within their community. I have also welcomed well over 100 new student officers to the policing family giving us a much needed boost to our frontline resources. While difficult decisions had to be made to address the fundamental changes we've seen in the police service, from the types of crime we investigate to the threats faced, I truly believe our new policing model puts Norfolk in the best position to meet this challenge over the coming years.
Even with the removal of the PCSO role, community engagement and neighbourhood policing continues to be at the core of our model through 49 Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNT). Each team has at least one Beat Manager focusing on local priorities and problem solving local issues. This, coupled with the work of the seven Engagement Officers, who are based in each district, and 14 Sergeants dedicated to neighbourhood policing, ensures the force remains responsive to the needs of local communities, while being able to meet the challenge of complex crimes such as child abuse and cyber-crime.
With a focus on community engagement, the constabulary is also developing ways to ensure people know who their local officers are and how they can contact them or other teams within the police. Residents can now find out who their local officers are via the Norfolk Police website, by selecting 'Your Area' and 'How to Contact Us'. Beat Manager posters and leaflets with key local policing contacts have been developed and will be displayed in community hubs, such as libraries and village halls. Engagement surgeries also continue to be held on a regular basis across the county providing opportunities for residents to meet their local officers face to face.
Another proposal introduced under the 2020 review has seen investment in detective resources and facilities to improve the way complex crimes are investigated.
Two investigation hubs, which are still in the planning permission stage, are to be built in the Breckland and Broadland areas. These will contain equipment and facilities to investigate these crimes more efficiently and effectively, freeing up response officers to focus on local policing and enabling the force to cope significant increases in certain types of crime.
Initiatives established as part of the 2020 plans include Operation Moonshot, which uses intelligence innovatively to prevent and deter criminals across the county. After extraordinary results elsewhere in the county, a new team focusing on the Norwich area are due to come online over the next month or so. The approach uses dedicated officers to deal with criminals in a proactive way through a combination of intelligence, enhanced use of technology including mobile working and ANPR, allowing frontline officers to focus on regular calls for service.
Another pioneering policing approach, Operation Solve, has effectively taken demand from the frontline and offered a more efficient service to the public with residents and business being able to report their crimes directly to the force through our website. Using officers on restricted or recuperative duties, Solve, investigates crimes such as retail theft, making off without payment and shoplifting.
Despite a year passing since the announcement of the new policing model, it's important to remember restructures of this scale take time to bed in. I am pleased we're making good progress with implementation; however I believe it is crucial this model continues to deliver the most responsive police service for the people of Norfolk, not just for the here and now, but for decades to come.