There was a very positive atmosphere at the informal first meeting between newly elected PCCs Tim Passmore (Suffolk) and Stephen Bett (Norfolk). Meeting on Thursday 29 November on the Norfolk/Suffolk border at Scole and in the company of their respective Chief Constables, the two spent some time reviewing the current extensive programme of collaborative working between the two Forces.
Both emerged re-affirming the current commitments and programme of work, which will see greater joint working over the next two years. Both PCCs face the challenge of 20% reductions in central government grant in the current spending review period, along with the other fiscal challenges cutting across their new wider responsibilities in the community safety and local criminal justice fields.
Tim Passmore said, “I felt it was important to meet with my counter-part in Norfolk as soon as possible and am pleased that our first informal discussions went so well.
“All public services are facing a tough financial challenge, so working together to make the most of every penny available is essential. Norfolk and Suffolk constabularies already work together to deliver specific police functions and this collaboration is vital if we are to continue to provide an effective police service to the people of Suffolk.
“We are all clear that this joint working will not involve a merger of the two forces. In my role as Police and Crime Commissioner, my responsibility is to get the best police service possible for Suffolk and I will do everything in my power, working with a range of partners, to ensure we do.”
Stephen Bett said, “This was my first meeting ever with Tim. I am sure the two of us want to do our best for our respective county’s, especially at this fiscally challenging time. We got on well and I am sure that bodes well for carrying forward the excellent collaborative work done between the two former Police Authorities. I am sure we will continue to work closely as we explore efficiencies whilst, at the same time, striving to maintain and improve quality of the police and crime areas of public service in our two counties.”
The two PCCs will meet again both informally and formally on a regular basis as they undertake joint accountability processes with their two Chief Constables especially in the collaborated areas of work.