Stephen Bett, Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), has ensured his election-winning pledges form the basis of the county’s first Police and Crime Plan published on Friday in draft, with comments from the public expressly invited.
Mr Bett, who campaigned as an independent, has vowed to deliver his 10-Point pledge in the face of continuing financial pressure and is determined to maintain the high standards of policing which have helped make Norfolk one of the safest counties in the country.
He said: “An enormous amount of hard work in recent years has resulted in a strong, high-performing Constabulary that has kept crime levels amongst the lowest. Like everyone I talk to, I want to see it stay that way.
“A key focus of my manifesto was the fight against serious crime and the protection of some of the most vulnerable in our communities, in particular, victims of crime, young and elderly people who need reassuring that they will be protected.
“My police and crime plan is designed to ensure that the Constabulary and our partners know what the people of Norfolk are expecting of me and their police service.
“Chief Constable Phil Gormley and his team understand my objectives and they have worked with me and my deputy Jenny McKibben to create a plan that protects frontline resources.”
The public have until 16 February to make their comments on the Plan which has three main aims:
• Reduce priority crime, anti-social behaviour and re-offending
• Reduce people’s vulnerability, promote equality and support victims of crime
• Reduce the need for service (through crime prevention and restorative justice) and encourage more joined-up work with partners to protect the availability of frontline resources
There is less time, due to the government-driven timetable, for Mr Bett to set the Constabulary’s budget – the key element in his ability to deliver the Police and Crime Plan.
The complexities of the detail behind the budget and the options available have occupied much of Stephen’s first weeks as PCC – he admits it is a tough decision to make and he won’t be able to please everyone.
“The Constabulary, despite major changes, has remained a top-performing force because of the foresight and investment strategy of the previous administration. My judgement tells me that this should not be hastily thrown away.
“I am guided by what people told me during the election campaign; and also by the 1,740 replies of the public survey of which 50 per cent indicated they were prepared to pay small increases in Council Tax for their police service.
“Importantly, I also have to consider the position of the Chief Constable and his assessment of the operational impact in Norfolk of publicity surrounding the alleged sexual offences of a number of nationally known figures; and the impact of managing a continuing increasing number of registered sex offenders who have made their homes in the county.
“One of the main reasons the government set up the role of Police and Crime Commissioner was to create a single point of focus for the public to be held accountable for police and crime issues - I look forward to receiving as many views as soon as possible,” said Mr Bett.