Worries over 'inappropriate' calls to busy police control room

The control room at Suffolk police's Martlesham headquarters. Picture: LAUREN DE BOISE

Suffolk police's control room has continued to receive 'inappropriate' calls, such as about injured seals - which risks time being diverted from real emergencies - Credit: Archant

Summer has been a very busy time for the policing world.

It has also been a busy time for Suffolk, with the influx of visitors to our beautiful county.

While this is good for the economy, it has had an impact on the number of inappropriate and non-emergency calls into our Contact and Control Room - from people asking for advice regarding injured seals on the beach, to queries regarding notes left by parcel couriers.

The force launched its Click Before You Call campaign in October 2020, to encourage residents to report non-emergency incidents online.

Since February, we have also been running a new Live Chat service, which can be accessed via our website, www.suffolk.police.uk

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It is another useful way of further engaging with staff within the control room.

Suffolk police control room Picture: LAUREN DE BOISE

A new Live Chat function enables people to ask police questions online - Credit: Archant

The Live Chat service has already helped over 2,750 members of the public with queries, information and answers to non-urgent questions.

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Running from 9am until 5pm, Monday to Friday, the service is there for additional support - but non-urgent crimes still need to be reported via the dedicated section on the website, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Reporting online is quicker and I encourage you to use this service wherever possible.

Doing so should help avoid potentially waiting in a telephone queue and reduce pressure on the control room to prioritise the more urgent calls, as well as support the more vulnerable members of our community.

Firearms licences

In the wake of the terrible shooting in Plymouth, the subject of gun licensing has become a topic for national discussion.

There are currently 21,295 firearms and shotgun certificate holders in Suffolk.

We continue to follow and comply with national procedures and guidelines for the issuing of firearms licences.

People hold shotguns and firearms for various reasons, both as part of their profession or for recreational purposes.

However all applicants for both the grant and renewal of certificates are subjected to a thorough vetting process.

Our team of specialist firearms enquiry officers conduct home visits and interviews with all certificate applicants at the time of the initial grant and subject to risk assessment, at the point of renewal.

We also visit certificate holders at any time where information is received that may bring in question their suitability to possess firearms.

Two men have been disqualified from driving for six months after being caught speeding at more than

A hgh number of speeders were caught by police during a two-week crackdown - Credit: Archant

Kill your speed

While we have been busy ensuring the safety of our summer visitors, we held a speed limit enforcement campaign on our roads.

More than 1,900 motorists were caught speeding in Suffolk. Officers spent the duration of the two-week campaign highlighting and informing drivers of the risks of speeding.

Of those caught speeding, 1,844 were cars, 58 were vans, 18 were lorries, three were motorcycles and one was a bus.

Special award

National 999 Day on September 9 was a special day for us, when we welcomed High Sheriff Edward Creasy to police headquarters.

The High Sheriff also visited our Health and Wellbeing Unit and our Control Room, where he presented both teams with Suffolk Awards in Recognition of Outstanding Service to the Community during the Covid-19 Pandemic.


Suffolk Constabulary is working hard to prepare for our next funding settlement from the government, to ensure we can remain as efficient and effective as possible.

We expect, along with other public sector partners, a tough settlement due to the economic position of the country.

The government has recently announced a spending review which will set the level of government funding for the constabulary for the three financial years from 2022 to 2025.

The government has also announced a review of the formula that determines the amount of funding constabularies receive.

We look forward to working with Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Home Office to secure the level of funding required to police Suffolk.

Partnership working across the emergency services continues, with construction of the new joint police and fire facilities in Ipswich and at Stowmarket due to be completed by next spring/summer.

The new Mildenhall Hub has also opened this month.

DCC Rachel Kearton said she was very pleased with the report overall Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

Rachel Kearton is deputy chief constable of Suffolk police - Credit: Archant

Targeting rural crime

Over the summer months, we also put extra effort into tackling rural and wildlife-related crime.

Suffolk’s rural and wildlife police team - along with partner agencies, as well as community engagement officers and colleagues from the Special Constabulary - have been actively promoting Operation Seabird throughout the summer months, with a view to education and awareness-raising of disturbance and harm to marine and coastal wildlife.

We’re lucky to live in such a lovely rural county and we all have a responsibility to help preserve that.

We must also remember that being very much a food producing county, we need to support and respect our hard-working farmers.

They have enough to contend with regarding the elements, without the additional challenges faced by crime and ASB, so let’s all work together to keep Suffolk a safe place to live, work and visit.

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