As your PCC I need to ensure Suffolk taxpayers get the very best value for money to provide policing in the county. At the moment I do not believe we get a reasonable share of Government funding and I would like your support to make a case to Government for a fairer settlement.
I would like you to consider my assessment of the issue below and if you agree, send me a note of support that I can forward to the Minister of State for Policing.
The Policing Minister, Brandon Lewis MP, has commissioned a fundamental review of the funding formula which I welcome as it provides me with this opportunity to lobby for a formula which is readily understandable, transparent and provides a fairer funding settlement for Suffolk.
Whilst I recognise that fairness should take account of specific factors that will be common across all policing areas, I think the rural nature of our county should be given proper weighting and the challenge of policing individual communities over a large geographic expanse should be considered when levels of funding are agreed.
I hope you agree 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.
If we compare ourselves to one of our closest neighbours, we would receive around £3m more Home Office grant funding every year if it was funded to the same level as Norfolk (using unweighted population as the basis of the calculation). This is just not fair; £3million is a huge disparity between two quite similar counties.
We collaborate with Norfolk Constabulary across many areas of policing and Suffolk has delivered the second highest percentage of savings in England and Wales, in terms of efficiencies and effectiveness through collaboration. We also work with other forces across the region and other public sector partners, and this should be positively recognised in the funding formula.
Suffolk has a reputation of being a very prosperous county, and while we have some very affluent areas, over 83,000 people in the county live in income deprivation at the most minimal standard provided by welfare benefits, that’s over 10% of the population. The recently published ‘Hidden Needs’ research makes pretty sober reading. The first “Hidden Needs” report was written five years ago and sadly deprivation levels have increased right across the county since then. It is almost unbelievable that over 14% of neighbourhoods in Ipswich and 12% in Waveney ranked among the most deprived 10% in England. This is compounded because Suffolk is such a rural county with many areas isolated by poor transport and communication links. Sadly, where there are higher levels of economic and social deprivation, communities suffer from increased levels of crime, anti-social behaviour, addiction and abuse, which provides resourcing challenges for the Constabulary which are not considered in the current formula.
The rural nature of the county should also be considered in the review of the funding formula. Less than 20% of the population of England and Wales live in rural areas, yet in Suffolk almost 40% of Suffolk’s population is rural; apart from Ipswich, every district in Suffolk has a disproportionately high rate of rural residents compared to England and this also results in additional challenges for the Constabulary.
If you agree with this assessment, please show your support by forwarding this email to email@example.com by Monday 23rd January . If you have any additional comments to make please add this to your response.
I will use your responses as evidence to lobby the Minister for a fairer deal for Suffolk.
PCC proud to support the British economy
Since my election as your PCC I have made clear my ambition to support the British economy, so I’m very proud to announce that the Constabulary has placed an order for 33 vehicles which are built at Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port and Luton plants at a cost to the Constabulary of £338K.
Supporting the local economy is key to my ambition to make Suffolk a safer place to live, work, travel and invest and it is a significant element of my Police and Crime Plan.
I appreciate that we can’t always purchase British made goods but I am totally committed to making sure the Constabulary’s buying power supports the local community where possible.
It is well documented that if the economy suffers, you get more crime and where there is a problem with crime, it is more difficult to attract inward investment and new businesses; it’s a vicious circle and one that I want to do all we can to avoid.
As Police and Crime Commissioner, I work with the Constabulary to deliver policing that positively contributes to our local economy and I regularly engage with Suffolk businesses to see what can be done to cut crime and improve the local economy. I believe local businesses all have a part to play in helping to create a thriving community and make Suffolk a safer place in which to live, work, travel and invest.
Suffolk Constabulary is one of 34 police and emergency services working together to deliver the largest vehicle collaboration contract of its kind ever delivered.