Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore met with Suffolk MPs yesterday to discuss policing in the county and the future funding challenges the Constabulary faces. The PCC described the meeting as ‘very constructive’.
Accompanied by Chief Constable, Gareth Wilson, this was an opportunity for Tim Passmore to discuss the need 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 really grateful for the support of the MPs; their help in this matter is absolutely crucial. 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, the PCC and Chief Constable talked about (this could change) 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. He 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.
Tim continued, “I firmly believe Suffolk should get a more equitable settlement, which reflects the challenges our county faces. A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to express my concerns to the Policing Minister which was extremely useful, I now call on our local MPs to join me in my fight to get a more equitable share of funding for Suffolk so we can provide the police service Suffolk deserves. But in the meantime we will continue to look for every opportunity to improve efficiency and provide value for money for Suffolk taxpayers.”