Election is over, now for the future - Suffolk PCC Tim Passmore’s latest Journal column
The police and crime commissioner (PCC) elections are well and truly behind us now and I am delighted to have been re-elected for a second term as your PCC.
It really is a huge honour and privilege for me and I would like to thank everyone who supported me during the election campaign and pledge once more that I will do my very best to serve everyone in Suffolk regardless of whether you voted for me or not.
So what of the future?
Quite simply the next four years will focus on what is best for all of us in the county and I have absolutely no doubt we can be cautiously optimistic.
It's very reassuring that our financial environment is so much better than we thought six months ago and we are now in an era of much greater stability – which I expect will continue to be the case for the next four years.
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This stronger financial position makes it considerably easier for us to plan ahead. I do realise that this is partly dependent on increasing the council tax by two per cent for the next three years but hopefully you will agree that it is an acceptable price to pay for our police service.
Work has already started to draft the next Police and Crime Plan for Suffolk which will build on the achievements of my first plan.
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The purpose is to provide direction to the chief constable and his officers.
Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary rated our police force as being good in all three categories – placing us in the top quartile of constabularies in England and Wales – so we start from a very good position. There will be several new initiatives for the next four years. Some of the major achievements include the work on domestic abuse, the two rural crime teams, the additional investment in roads policing and a major programme of using technology to improve efficiency and effectiveness. This vital work will continue.
I have often mentioned how important the role of the voluntary sector is in helping communities and individuals who find themselves in difficulty through no fault of their own.
Each year I set aside a significant amount of money – approximately £700,000 – to fund initiatives which support my objectives.
Looking forward, other ideas for continuing to keep our county as one of the safest in the land will include the rehabilitation of offenders back into society to help reduce re-offending rates. It is clear to me that so much more should be done to give offenders a purpose in life so they become economically independent and make a positive contribution to society. It is not at all surprising that individuals resort to a life of crime following release from prison if all they receive is £48 and no home and no job – we can and must do a great deal better than this.
Supporting the victims of crime will be a cornerstone of the new Police and Crime Plan. I am really proud of what has been achieved during the last two years to support victims, but accept we can as a community we should do so much more.
In conclusion, I can assure everyone I am completely committed to listening to your views and holding the police to account on your behalf, but I do need your help and support to do this at all times. So together I am quite sure we continue to enjoy our domestic and work life and feel safe in Suffolk.