Blog: Extra officers through Operation Uplift

At last, there is some better news regarding the pandemic in Suffolk – the levels of infection and reporting of new cases continue to drop and life is slowly returning to some sense of normality as the lockdown eases. It’s important we are not complacent though, Suffolk has sadly lost too many people to this virus and we need to keep doing the right thing to help keep cases to a minimum.
As Police and Crime Commissioner I am very pleased and proud of the way our police force’s contributions towards mitigating the disease locally has made such a positive difference.
In spite of Covid 19, I’m really pleased to tell you recruitment of the extra officers planned by the government last year (Operation Uplift) and the extra manpower I promised to deliver from the extra Council Tax monies is forging ahead.
You may remember Suffolk’s share of Operation Uplift provided sufficient funding to appoint 54 new officers for each of the following three years and after only three months our officer strength has increased by 17 – well ahead of schedule.
This welcome boost in officer numbers will benefit the whole county from Brandon to Beccles and Haverhill to Felixstowe. We all want more visible policing to help prevent crime and bring criminals to justice. I believe we will look back after three years and recognise the benefits Operation Uplift brought to Suffolk in our fight against crime.
The additional Council Tax money made a major contribution to increasing the county’s policing budget by over £10m to nearly £144 million – a real step change from where we were five years ago. When I made the unpalatable decision to increase your Council Tax in January, there was a promise to keep everyone fully informed of the progress made in appointing the additional 20 officers and 16 support staff. I do this through a quarterly update which is available on my website,
The main thrust of this year’s increased budget was to make Suffolk a very hostile place for criminals by improving detection rates and delivering greater numbers of successful prosecutions. After all, that’s what we want and pay for.
We are fortunate in having highly-trained, well-equipped police officers who care deeply about our collective wellbeing and are dedicated to keeping us all safe. The precept increase has funded a new seven strong Neighbourhood Proactive Crime Team that provides a rapid response and is deployable right across the county at a moment’s notice, this will be up and running very soon. The team will be highly-visible uniformed officers who will tackle high-volume crimes such as violent crime, burglary, robbery, vehicle crime, drugs and anti-social behaviour; issues that matter to local communities.
The precept funding has also given the Chief Constable the opportunity to expand the rural crime team. The team has received further investment in technology and new drone equipment and they are now ready to deal with crimes such as machinery theft, hare coursing and arson – particularly important at harvest time and as we enter the autumn season.
I mentioned recruitment earlier and this covers both police officer and civilian posts. There are opportunities to get involved in a wide range of roles within the Constabulary. If you, or someone you know, is looking for a new path why not take a look at the Constabulary’s website. There are various ways to join the police as an officer, depending on your work, life and educational experience and we welcome applications from people of all backgrounds, cultures and experiences. Please take a look at the website for more information,
In the meantime, please keep up the commitment to fighting the pandemic – together we are winning. Keep safe.

Published in the East Anglian Daily Times   July 2020