Will a precept rise for policing in Suffolk happen in 2019?

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore said further savings in 2019 were likely, and a

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore said further savings in 2019 were likely, and a potential precept rise was also up for discussion. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Further savings are likely to be needed next year, police bosses have warned – as new figures show soaring numbers of robberies, sexual offences and domestic crimes.

Data presented to the Suffolk Police and Crime Panel on Friday revealed that in the 12 months to the end of June domestic crimes and serious sexual offences were 23% up on the three year average, robbery up 47% and drug offences up 21%.

But just one in six domestic abuse crimes were solved, with less than half of victims supporting a police investigation, and just one in 16 serious sexual offences being solved.

Suffolk police and crime commissioner said the county was one of the lowest funded authorities at 44p per day per person, and called for fairer funding from central government.

“The numbers that have been solved having reduced is disappointing, there’s no doubt about that,” he said.

“But I think part of the problem is allocating the resources and choice and priorities, and if we had more resources we would be able to do better on that.”

Mr Passmore said the rollout of body worn cameras was helping capture domestic incidents, and added: “A lot of it is trust and confidence. The huge amount of money we are putting into the service, looking after victims, getting the right court procedures is important, and hopefully we will see that tide begin to turn.”

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A precept rise of £12 was needed last year, and Mr Passmore hasn’t ruled out the possibility of another rise come March next year.

He said: “If we didn’t have any unforseen events I would still say if everything went well there will be the need to make further savings, even with the £12 increase of the precept.

“It’s a very, very difficult position to put in place – if you are putting the cost of policing up for a band D property by £24 in two years, that would be too painful for too many people.”

It is not yet clear how much in savings may be needed, or which areas may face cuts, but the settlement the force will get next year is expected in December.

A series of options will then be lined up and debated alongside chief constable Gareth Wilson.

It is understood that reserves are also needed to be built up again, up to £3.5million.

Suffolk police response

A Suffolk Constabulary spokesman said: “Police across the country have seen a rise in crimes such as these being reported.

“It is acknowledged there has been a shift in the recorded levels of crimes such as sexual offences and domestic abuse.

“‘Hidden harm’ investigations are some of the most complex that are tackled as by their very nature they tend to occur behind closed doors, but we are now seeing more people coming forward to report them and it is to their credit that individuals now find the confidence to talk to us.

“The ‘hidden harm’ aspect provides challenges to evidence collection that do not exist in many other areas of criminal investigation.

“Investments in training, the use of forensic science and technology are ensuring that investigations are carried out to a high standard.

“We will continue to work with partners to seek opportunities to deliver effective responses for those who have been subject to such abhorrent crimes.

“Many sexual assault cases are historic offences which require sensitive and thorough investigation in order to proceed to prosecution.

“We want to encourage victims of any sexual assault or domestic abuse to continue to speak to us and feel confident in accessing the specialist support they need.

“Any allegation will be fully investigated and we have dedicated specially trained officers who work with victims.”

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