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Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner has launched his annual budget consultation, setting out the challenges facing policing in the county and seeking residents’ views on how best to meet them.
During his fourth year of delivering his ambitious Police and Crime Plan for Norfolk PCC Lorne Green is now asking the public if they would be prepared to pay extra in a bid to build a safer and more resilient Norfolk – or prefer no rise at all.
The PCC is required by law to set the budget for Norfolk Constabulary and as part of this, decide how much the Norfolk public contributes to the policing element of Council Tax they pay.
To inform this decision, each year Lorne has consulted with people across the county on whether or not this should increase.
This year’s consultation will run from today Monday 16 December until Friday 17 January 2020 and will see Lorne touring the county to seek the views of Norfolk residents.
“It is imperative to me I hear the views of as many Norfolk residents as I can to ensure I make a fully informed decision,” said Lorne.
“Every year, a large majority of the Norfolk public have supported an increase in the police precept to ensure the Norfolk Constabulary can continue to provide a high-quality service.
“Based on the needs set out by the Chief Constable for Norfolk and with the support of residents, I have previously continued to raise the police precept to invest in a number of areas identified as priorities by the Norfolk public.”
During his tenure, the PCC has previously invested in areas, including:
- Increasing the number and visibility of uniformed officers – Norfolk now has 138 more officers as a result.
- The roll-out of 21st century technology including drones, body-worn cameras and expansion of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology.
- Policing and crime prevention in rural areas including introduction of Rural Crime Officers, increased Constabulary engagement with rural communities and the launch of the ‘Raise the Alarm’ campaign to reduce church lead thefts.
- Tackling abuse through an increase in detectives and the creation of two new ‘Investigation Hubs’ in the county.
- Increasing support for all victims, including services for victims of domestic abuse and sexual assaults.
“Through Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies (HMICFRS), I am provided with external assurance that Norfolk continues to have a high performing, effective well managed police force, and dedicated officers and staff who we should all be proud of,” added Lorne.
“However, looking forward to the next five years, the risks in our communities and the pressures on Norfolk Constabulary will continue to be very challenging for the police and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk (OPCCN).
“The increase in some of the most abhorrent and harmful crimes including domestic abuse, sex offences, child sexual abuse and child sexual exploitation has also left officers undertaking complex investigations on a frequent basis.
“This fundamentally changes how the police need to do their business and long-term steps to make our communities and future generations more resilient are necessary.
“This precept consultation is taking place at a unique time starting four days after a general election.
“As a result, we do not know the level of funding that will be received from central government for policing for 2020/21 and the specific impact this will have locally.
“I have reviewed the financial position of Norfolk Constabulary and the OPCCN to help me understand more broadly the impact on policing services of a number of scenarios and the options available.
“Raising taxation is a decision no-one wants to take, particularly at a time when, for so many, incomes are stretched.
“However, we are faced with some stark choices and I need to fully understand how supportive you are of the different options available to keep Norfolk safe and build long-term resilience.”
The Norfolk public are being asked whether they would prefer;
- No increase in the policing element of Council Tax (the precept) which would lead to reductions in policing services
- An increase of around 2% to meet inflation-related cost pressures, meaning at best ‘standing still with no investment’
- An increase in precept above 2% to enable investment in crime prevention activity, support to build community resilience and policing services.
For more information read a copy of the full consultation document here.
Have your say:
People can have their say by taking the online survey or by getting in contact with the Norfolk PCC office in the following ways:
Post: OPCCN, Jubilee House, Building 1, Falconers Chase, Wymondham, NR18 0WW
Telephone: 01953 424455
Hard copies of the full consultation document are also available on request, and hard copy survey forms can be printed from here.
Lorne will be at Norwich Market Place later this afternoon (Monday 16 December) seeking views from members of the public.
He will be in Great Yarmouth Market Place tomorrow afternoon, Tuesday 17 December.
More engagement dates will follow.