A message from your Chief Constable
The past year has brought unprecedented demands for our organisation. We have met the challenge of policing the coronavirus pandemic whilst responding to exceptional levels of emergency calls. Crime rates for burglary, robbery, theft, vehicle crime and criminal damage have all fallen. However, we continue to see increasing levels of violent crime, of which sadly the majority of the increase is as a result of domestic abuse in the home.
We have also continued to improve our service through the Norfolk 2020 change programme; an incredible amount has been achieved and we have undergone one of the biggest restructures in the Force’s history. This radical reform was developed through significant consultation and ideas from our workforce, the PCC, members of the public and evidence from our data.
With the support of the PCC, we have increased the number of police officers on the beat. When those officers arrive at incidents, the PCC’s investment in body worn video, drones and mobile technology means that they have the right tools needed to tackle modern day criminality. These extra officers have allowed us to establish Neighbourhood Policing Teams and a number of proactive policing teams called Operation Moonshot. Since recording began in 2016, Moonshot teams across the force have stopped 3,123 vehicles, made 2,647 arrests and from 2018 charged 1,978 of those for various offences with more than £700,000 worth of property seized.
In the battle against county lines drug dealing, organised crime and crimes that impact our communities, we have made thousands of arrests resulting in long-term prison sentences for many offenders. We have recently received national funding to establish a new team called Operation Adder. The Adder Team will further target drug supply and also protect those who are vulnerable and at risk of criminal exploitation.
We have recently opened our new Swaffham Police Station, developed as part of our innovative investigation hubs model. This new facility brings resources and skills together under one roof for a one-team approach, with the support of the brand new police staff role of Police Digital Investigators. This small but growing team is already making a huge difference in helping detectives with the complexities of the digital elements of their investigations.
We have a scalable, adaptable policing model, capable of facing the demands of modern policing, which provides a foundation we can build upon and enhance in the future. The team responsible for leading this programme will carry on their work, continuously improving our policing service, through a new programme of work called Norfolk Horizons. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary & Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) continues to rate us as outstanding for our efficiency, having delivered £36 million of savings in the last decade, £21 million as a result of our collaboration with Suffolk Constabulary.
This year was always going to be a milestone for us, with the overarching aim of creating a workforce best-placed to tackle the challenges of modern policing. If we ever needed a test to demonstrate the resolve of our new policing model, then we’ve certainly had it with the coronavirus pandemic. It’s a challenge we’ve faced head-on and we believe we have continued to deliver a first-class service to our communities.
As we move into a new year, we remain determined to keep you safe and to target those who threaten our communities. Recognising the economic challenges facing us all, we have identified approximately £4 million of further savings this year, mainly through modernising our support office functions. Any additional savings would require a reduction in service and the loss of jobs.
However, with population growth, increasing demand and inflationary pressures on our budget, the savings we have made do not give me enough funding to maintain the service that you would expect from us.
I regularly hear your calls for more visible policing and I also cannot ignore the truly shocking rises in domestic abuse that we are now experiencing, with over 25% of all crimes recorded now being the result of a domestic incident. We are also sadly seeing a growing number of victims of fraud, particularly amongst the elderly. Criminals, many who reside outside of our county, are increasingly using digital communications to scam victims out of their savings.
A precept increase, equal to 22 pence per week for a Band B property or 29 pence per week at Band D, will allow us to keep our current levels of service and tackle the new challenges that we are facing. We will establish a team dedicated to dealing with the most dangerous domestic abusers across the county. Additional proactive neighbourhood police officers will be increasing our visibility and targeting those offenders who cause the most harm to our communities. We will also further invest in staff with the expertise to tackle the growing volume of offences with a digital footprint including fraud.
Before you complete the survey, please take the time to consider the words from Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Lorne Green.