Government funding set to boost local policing initiatives

Suffolk communities are set to benefit from Home Office funding that has awarded millions of pounds towards innovative, collaborative and cost-saving projects aimed at transforming policing.

Police forces in England and Wales submitted bids for a share of the Government’s £70 million Police Innovation Fund.

Successful bids were announced by the Home Office yesterday, Thursday 26 March, with over £5 million benefitting Suffolk as a result of a range of initiatives.

£4.9 million has been awarded to the Athena Project led by Essex Police, which sees seven forces in the eastern region, including Suffolk, improving their collaborative working through the introduction of an advanced IT system.

Project Athena is the largest ever collaborative policing project to implement a single IT system that will join up crime and investigation management, intelligence, custody, management and case preparation.

Suffolk, Norfolk and five other forces make up the multi-force consortium working together to deliver Athena, which will result in far greater collaborative working amongst the region.

Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Tim Passmore said: “This major award from the Police Innovation Fund for £4.9 million towards the Athena Project is extraordinarily good news for Suffolk. I am delighted. It will help us radically transform service delivery right across the public and voluntary sectors in the county.

“The enabling of multi-agency data exchange will ensure the constabulary can provide a quicker and more effective response and continue to maintain our reputation is being one of the safest counties in the country.”

Further funding was secured by the PCC who submitted a successful bid for Government funding to support community safety in the county.

£190K was allocated from the fund for the joint community safety project which aims to develop a co-located countywide central hub for a joint county council, Fire Service and Constabulary Community Safety Team. The joint team will deal with issues such as crime and fire prevention, diversity and community cohesion. The project also aims to identify duplication of effort and streamline services.

An additional £150K was also secured by Essex Police towards a regional multi-agency platform involving Suffolk and Norfolk police, to help transform the way police, social care and wider partners identify risk and manage early intervention and safeguarding.

Tim Passmore continued: “Since becoming PCC I have driven the partnership agenda to ensure the very best value for money for the Suffolk taxpayer. This funding will enable us to develop a transformational county-wide approach to community safety through an all-inclusive partnership.

“Projects such as the joint Community Safety Team will result in more efficient practices that will provide better outcomes of the public of Suffolk. This is crucial as each agency works to provide more for less with the shared aim of protecting key services for our communities.”