Police making “difficult decisions” in face of austerity and rising crime
Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Lorne Green has said “difficult choices” are being made to plan for the future in the face of ongoing budget reductions.
It comes as the annual State of Policing report was published on Tuesday by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS).
The report by Sir Thomas Winsor calls for better forward planning to meet the challenges of increasing and changing demand.
In response to the report, PCC Lorne Green said: “Sir Thomas Winsor recognises in his report that, nationally, against a backdrop of financial austerity and a rise in crime, our police service is doing a good job. He says the hard work and dedication of our police officers is key to that – a view with which I wholeheartedly agree.
“He does, however, suggest that it is that hard work and a sense of duty that is, in fact, masking failure by senior officers to assess demand and plan for the future.
“As the report says, our police do not have unlimited resources and, as such, cannot be expected to meet all the demands placed upon them.
“It is down to chief officers to make the difficult choices, plan and restructure their services and have the honest conversations with their communities about what can and can’t be done.
“If not, it’s the welfare of police officers and staff, and the safety of communities which suffer.
“Our senior officers here in Norfolk have not shied away from those difficult decisions and honest conversations.
“Assessed by inspectors as ‘outstanding’ for understanding demand and ‘good’ for planning for the future, our Force has undertaken extensive review and is now transitioning to the Chief Constable’s new policing model.
“It’s a time of massive change and there is no questioning that, added to the day-to-day pressures of the job, our police officers and staff have a lot on their shoulders.
“As Sir Thomas says, welfare support – both for physical and mental wellbeing – is vital. That’s why I have bolstered the mental health team in our police control room, in part to increase capacity for responding to the mental health needs of our own officers and staff.
“There must be more focus on prevention going forward, not least when it comes to the crimes which cause the most harm in our communities.”