The Police and Crime Commissioner has confirmed a rise in the policing element of the council tax by 30p a week (for a Band D property) for the 2021/22 financial year which was supported by the Police and Crime Panel on 29th January 2021. This precept increase of 6.7%, equates to £15 a year for a Band D property. Further information can be found here.
The plans for the precept investment addresses some of the major areas the Constabulary needs to focus on to continue to be efficient and effective and meet the needs of residents and businesses in the county.
The Chief Constable’s focus for the additional investment is in three key areas:
This precept investment will enable the Chief Constable to make operational changes and improvements within the 2021/2022 financial year, seeing the introduction of a further 25 police officers and 26 police staff. This investment is essential to ensure Suffolk Constabulary continues to deliver a high-quality service, catches criminals and keeps the public safe.
As per previous years the Constabulary will commence recruitment into the additional roles being created as a result of the precept investment. All are considered essential to ensure the Constabulary continues to be able to deal with modern day policing challenges however it is acknowledged the Constabulary has to effectively manage a wide range of existing and new pressures and any changes to the numbers or roles of additional officers and staff will be explained and communicated.
With regard to Operation Uplift, the Constabulary’s share of the Home Office funding from the national programme is 53 officers in 2021/22. All Forces are required to provide officers to special operations units across the country and Suffolk is required to provide 2 to the Eastern Region Specialist Operations Unit. In addition, 11 of the 53 Suffolk officers will work in the joint teams with Norfolk Constabulary, with the remaining 40 being deployed into Suffolk Constabulary posts across the county.
78 additional police officers and 26* additional police staff will be recruited in total.
Fuller detail of Operation Uplift in 2021/22 can be found here.
The costs presented here relate only to pay. Additional expenditure such as fleet, ICT and equipment will be met within existing Constabulary budgets.
Police staff posts will be fixed term appointments for two years. This is considered prudent to avoid redundancy costs should savings be required in the future.
The Police and Crime Commissioner will (together with the Chief Constable) publish a document in each quarter of 2021/22 to provide an update on how the precept is being used to improve policing in Suffolk and will include an overview of broad policing outcomes and the operational benefits across Suffolk. This will be a public document available via the Police and Crime Commissioner’s website.
SUMMARY OF PRECEPT 2021/22 PLANS
This section outlines how these additional posts will be allocated and the associated initial costs.
IMPROVING INVESTIGATIONS & PROTECTING VULNERABLE PEOPLE
Police Staff Investigators, Protecting Vulnerable People – Investment of £187k
Provide baseline funding for:
Recognition of increasing demand in ‘hidden harm’ crime areas.
These investigators will conduct lower level support enquiries at the direction of case officers and supervisors embedded alongside detective teams. This is the Constabulary’s response to serious and complex investigations of vulnerability-based crime.
Neighbourhood Partnership Teams – Investment of £524k
Further enhance Neighbourhood Partnership Teams (NPT) countywide;
Serious & Organised Crime and Intelligence (Suffolk only) – Investment £418k
Provide funding for:
These officers and staff will investigate Serious and Organised Crime and bring offenders to justice. Vital partnership work to continue to coordinate and support intelligence development in respect of criminal exploitation, tackling serious and organised crime and building intelligence regarding high threat policing operations.
Additional Digital Support Officers – Investment of £236k police staff plus £10k specialist training – £246k
Funding for additional Digital Support Officers to increase the Constabulary’s capacity to deal with complex investigations including digital and intelligence expertise which is urgently needed to keep pace with the changing pattern of crime.
Additional Proactive Policing (Kestrel) Team – Investment of £398k
Operation Shere focuses on tackling a variety of criminality causing most harm to a defined geographical area in Ipswich. This model has proven successful in reducing crime and antisocial behaviour, improving solved rates and improving public confidence and satisfaction. This public investment creates a dedicated team across the West of the county of:
This Kestrel team will work proactively with partners to target known offenders across the West; provide additional resource into community engagement whilst maintaining an investigative focus, with the aim of reducing offending and criminal exploitation. The team will be highly visible uniformed officers tackling crimes that matter to local communities such as volume crime and anti-social behaviour.
CCR improvement and Digital Public Contact – Investment of £250k
The funding enables consideration to initiatives making it easier and quicker for the public to contact Suffolk Constabulary, improved 101 and digital opportunities for multi-channel contact and the design and delivery of cohesive solutions and processes that will improve the overall contact experience to help raise public satisfaction and confidence and reduce reputational risk. To further improve the Command & Control Room may result in additional staff being required, however this is subject to a business case and as yet unknown.
Learning & Development Modernisation & Transformation – Investment of £236k
Further work is required with plans to transform and modernise the provision of training and professional development of student officers. The current site at Martlesham police headquarters, with some investment and modernisation, can be bought up to the standards required by the introduction of the Police Education Qualification Framework (PEQF) and the recruitment of additional police officers through the national uplift programme over the next three years.
This public investment will contribute to developing facilities on par with those available at a professional learning establishment. The new demands require greater investment in the learning of policing craft, to better equip officers for the vocational nature of the degree and a more professional service to the public. The modernisation of policing means that policing craft is more skilled than ever before and the importance of practical learning of this craft in simulated custody suites, residential rooms or having secure space to house virtual reality equipment so that broader scenarios can be played out will be intrinsic to better policing skills and more robust service to the public.
Environmental Sustainability / Resilience – Investment of £44k and capital investment of £100k
To focus on sustainability to protect the environment and initial investment in ‘spend to save’ for environmental projects that reduce the Constabulary’s carbon footprint, making better use of scarce natural resources and reduce business costs.
Income Generation Officer – Investment of £44k
To exploit legitimate income generation opportunities to mitigate against ongoing financial challenges.
To develop appropriate bids for funding and provide additional capacity and guidance for internal business partners for bids developed by Suffolk Constabulary, ensuring that the bids are focussed on Force priorities.
Develop strong working relationships with internal and external stakeholders, funding consortium fora, and commissioning bodies to deliver effective income generation for Suffolk Constabulary.
Commercial focus to maintain and build income generation beyond current and established strands with sustainable, new and innovative ideas testing new concepts and initiatives.
Identify and recommend and develop ways to diversify income in order to have a stronger portfolio of income strands and ensure they are in line with any new strategic developments.
Victim & Witness Care (Suffolk only) – Investment of £114k
Continuation of funding for:
To continue to ease the pressure on Victim and Witness Services (VAWS) on a fixed term basis.
Further supplement of funding in support of additional temporary VAWS staff to support victims and witnesses and keep them engaged pending cases being heard and trials taking place
Joint Justice Services (Suffolk only) – Investment of £71k
Provide funding for two years for:
To support Image Technicians ensuring compliance with new Attorney General guidance and requirements regarding redaction and to support officers concerning the increase in criminal injury claims (CICA) applications from victims and tighter timescales required by NPCC.
High Intensity Networking (HIN) – Investment of £20k
Continuation of the Constabulary partnership element of funding for existing 2 x HIN Officers who provide support for Suffolk residents suffering Mental ill health enabling them to be supported by specialist services in partnership with the NHS.
Focussing on prevention, protecting vulnerable people and reducing demand and the transfer of vulnerability between agencies
Collaborative working between Suffolk Constabulary, CCG, NSMHT, and other local agencies.
Business Crime/Fraud Prevention – Investment of £37k.
This post will focus on business related crime, business liaison, prevention work, and to provide specialist advice internally to officers.
Additional Constabulary Investment 2021/22
Working closely with the Police and Crime Commissioner, the Chief Constable has identified additional constabulary funding to enhance the public investment plans by a further £350k focussing on CCR improvement and Digital Public Contact.
UPDATE ON POLICE FUNDING (PRECEPT) FOR THE LAST FINANCIAL YEAR (2020/21)
The additional funding made available through the increase in the policing element of council tax by the Police and Crime Commissioner in 2020/21, enabled the Chief Constable to make operational changes and improvements within the 2020/2021 financial year, and saw the introduction of an additional 19 police officers and 17 police staff. The Chief Constable’s plans focussed on the following themes;
All posts were successfully recruited to by 31st December 2020.
The Chief Constable provided the Police and Crime Commissioner with regular updates on all plans throughout the year which can be found on the Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner’s website here.
* police staff additionality is subject to change as some proposals within the precept investment plans are still subject to business cases, recommendations for implementation and associated decision-making processes. Police staff growth posts will be a fixed two-year appointment.