Suffolk chief constable's plea to 'guard against complacency' on Covid
- Credit: Rachel Edge
March 23 will be the anniversary of the first Covid-19 lockdown announcement.
The last 12 months have been incredibly difficult for a lot of people, particularly those who have lost loved ones to the virus. My heart goes out to families who have been deeply affected.
There is now cause for optimism, with the vaccination roll-programme going so well. However, we need to guard against complacency and understand that, while the government has set out its phased roadmap for a return to a more normalised way of living, we still need to protect ourselves, our families and the NHS by abiding by whatever restrictions are in place.
Throughout the last year, Suffolk’s police officers have tried to strike the right balance between encouraging people to stay within those rules and enforcing them more rigorously where there are flagrant breaches.
Be assured, we will continue to do that. I really urge you to continue playing your part by doing the right thing, as the vast majority of Suffolk has done over the last 12 months.
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Before moving on to another subject, I would just like to say how proud I am of the way officers have responded to the challenges of the last 12 months, particularly when they are worried about their own families like everyone else.
Our colleagues in the emergency services and frontline NHS staff have also done a fantastic job while putting their own safety at risk.
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We can now see the light at the end of the tunnel - we just need to keep pulling in the right direction and we will get through this together.
We are expecting a busy summer in Suffolk this year, and the constabulary is preparing to ensure we are prepared for holidaymakers who want to enjoy spending some leisure time in our county.
Demand for policing has changed a lot during the last year and, like everyone else, we have been listening and responding to each government announcement to ensure we can provide an excellent service and to help to keep people safe.
Supporting communities and businesses by providing a safe and welcoming place is an important part of policing and we have continued to recruit officers, staff and volunteers throughout the lockdown.
Now, as we look to future frontline policing plans as the new financial year begins, one investment from 2020 that has had a truly successful outcome is a new software application named OPTIK.
This application, which is accessible to frontline police officers remotely on a tablet or phone, searches across multiple policing systems at the push of a button.
The access given ensures the right information, exactly when needed and enables more informed, reasoned decisions to be made based on details and background which is immediately available.
Functions within the new software include the scanning of fingerprints of suspected offenders on the street, enabling the identification and arrest of wanted criminals.
Officers will be able to plug in a small fingerprint reader to their device and OPTIK will return results from immigration and criminal databases within a minute or two.
This new application is seen as something that provides the most benefit to our communities. It is both more efficient and more effective than paper-based solutions, which often involved lost time and double keying. Officers who have access to OPTIK will now use it over many existing processes.
This modern technology will drive improvements in investigations, proactive patrolling, the protection of vulnerable people and management of offenders.
Having a mobile and accessible workforce will also help to improve visibility of our police service and investment in digital policing makes it easier for people to contact the police wherever they are in the county.
Last Monday, we all recognised International Women’s Day.
Here in the constabulary, we have worked really hard to ensure we get the right balance and will continue to do more.
Our female recruitment currently sits at 47.4% year to date, compared to a three-year average of 40.4% - so a positive increase and above the national average.
Whilst this is very positive, we are not complacent and recognise we must continue to support and develop our workforce in order to retain them.
We want to be an organisation that represents our local communities. The future is potentially difficult for young people to find careers – Suffolk Constabulary is a great organisation to work for and we are actively recruiting at the present time, just click on www.suffolk.police.uk