Blog: A very difficult year for us all

Covid-19 has made this year very difficult for us all here in Suffolk. This second lockdown will hopefully soon be over and with the increasing likelihood of new vaccines being available soon, I really believe there is genuine cause to be optimistic of some sort of return to normality.

In spite of the pandemic, the benefits of the extra council tax money we have all been paying towards policing, continues to be put in place. Raising the council tax precept for this year was not a decision I took lightly but it has delivered considerable benefits in the fight against crime and keeping the county safe. I’d like to take this opportunity to update you on the policing initiatives we have launched with the 20 more officers and 16 extra staff paid for by the precept.

Already in place is an additional Rural & Wildlife officer in the rural policing team and the new Kestrel team started work in the summer – this countywide unit tackles neighbourhood crime, anti-social behaviour, drugs and county lines.

The west of the county is now also benefitting from an extra serious crime disruption team, comprising of seven officers and three support staff. The main focus of this team is tackling serious violence and in particular drug supply and the associated criminal activity. Dealing with this serious threat is a top priority and I know this is of huge concern to many people in Suffolk. Last year this subject was raised at every public meeting I held and that’s why this unit is now in place. I am very confident it will be a huge success and I wish them all the best for what will be difficult and dangerous work.

Let there be no misunderstanding – our force is relentless in its commitment to clearing these dreadful criminals out of our towns and villages. The intention is to make Suffolk a particularly unpleasant place for all forms of criminality.

The policing precept increase has also provided the Chief Constable with more resources to develop the force’s capability and capacity to reduce the incidence of missing people – especially children, and also to help tackle the increasing levels of modern slavery and domestic servitude. I’m sure you will agree this is good use of this additional funding.

It still shocks me there are people in society who stoop to such depraved activity to make personal financial gain at the expense of such vulnerable and insecure individuals. That’s why it’s vital our county does whatever it can to confront this evil in society.

As crime patterns change the Constabulary must change accordingly. We are fortunate to have a state-of-the-art cyber unit in Suffolk – one of the best nationally. Even so, there is no room for complacency, and, alongside the increased investment in technology, six additional digital support staff are now in post. This will help bring offenders to justice as well over 96 percent of recorded crime has some sort of digital footprint.

Overall, I trust you can see the Constabulary has not stood still during the pandemic and in spite of the obvious challenges we are on course to deliver what I promised at the beginning of the year. The fight against crime is remorseless and continues!

Published in the Bury Free Press November 2020