Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore met with Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Service, Nick Hurd today (September 27) to discuss the future funding challenges the Constabulary faces.
The Minister is talking to PCCs and Chief Constables across the country to understand better how the constabularies are managing the financial pressures. This was an opportunity for Tim Passmore to petition for a fairer financial settlement for Suffolk Constabulary, something he has lobbied for consistently since his election.
Tim Passmore said, “There are times in life when democratically elected leaders face extremely difficult decisions on behalf of their constituents and as Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner I am in such a situation. I am not seeking to be alarmist but the ability of Suffolk Constabulary to deliver an effective service, keeping communities safe and maintain public confidence is in serious jeopardy. This is due largely to financial pressure caused by the current Home Office funding regime, which for years has had an inbuilt bias against large rural counties like Suffolk.
In setting out the challenges they face, Tim Passmore, supported by Deputy Chief Constable, Steve Jupp, talked about the significantly higher workload of police officers in Suffolk, which is the highest in the country – 150 cases per year per officer compared to 132 cases per year in Norfolk and only 122 in the West Midlands. They also stressed the point that if Suffolk received the same level of Home Office funding as Norfolk on a pro rata basis, Suffolk’s grant would be £3.5 million higher, which would be a significant increase to the current total budget which is £121.8 million.
The key areas raised by the PCC for the Home Office to consider were:
- A much fairer funding settlement for Suffolk so we are at least funded on the same per capita basis as neighbouring Norfolk
- Funding to cover any pay rise above 1%
- Recognition that financial reserves cannot be further depleted
- Allow the budget to obtain the full benefit from the increased tax base
- Cessation of the reduction in capital grant funding allowances
- Incentives for much wider public sector reform and restructuring
Tim continued, “I firmly believe Suffolk should get a more equitable settlement, which reflects the challenges our county faces. Suffolk is home to one of the largest container ports in Europe, has a coast line of over 60 miles, we have five military establishments including two American airbases and the county is home to a nuclear power station. Suffolk does not have a motorway but the A14 is a major route of national importance – my concern is that the Government does not recognise the significance of these crucial strategic national assets. To be able to explain this directly to the Minister was extremely useful, I just hope it will make a difference.”
PCC public meeting programme – next stop Leiston
Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore will finish his 2017 series of public meetings across the county with the next meeting in Leiston on Tuesday 28 November at Sizewell Sports and Social Club, King George’s Avenue, Leiston, IP16 4JX
Following the successful format of last year, the PCC will stage a meeting in each of the 18 Safer Neighbourhood areas. The meetings are an opportunity for the public to ask questions of the Commissioner and the Constabulary, and to find out more about policing in the county.
The final meeting for 2018 will be held in Leiston SNT (28 Nov). The full schedule of dates and venues (including details of the meetings that have taken place in Eye, East Ipswich, Felixstowe, Stowmarket, Mildenhall , Halesworth, Ipswich Central, Haverhill, Bury St Edmunds, Beccles, Sudbury, Newmarket, Lowestoft, Ipswich West, Woodbridge, Brandon and Capel St Mary) are available here.
The meeting for the Leiston SNT area, which comprises the areas of Leiston, Aldeburgh, Saxmundham, Framlingham and Hacheston, will take place on Tuesday 28 November at Sizewell Sports and Social Club, King George’s Avenue, Leiston, IP16 4JX at 7pm.
Each meeting will involve a quick overview from Tim Passmore and the local Inspector and then the public will have an opportunity to ask questions. The local Superintendent responsible for policing in the local area, will add operational context.
There is no need to book, please just turn up. Tea and coffee will be served from 6.40pm.