Vow to shun targets for a better service

POLICE officers in Suffolk are committed to moving away from burdensome targets in favour of providing a better quality service, it was claimed last night.

The organisation which represents members of the county’s force said statistics were an issue that concerned all officers.

The comments come after Norfolk Constabulary’s chief constable ordered his officers to focus less on figures and more on improving performance.

Mick Richardson, secretary of the Suffolk Police Federation, said: “The issue of targets is one that concerns all chief constables and police officers.

“There has been a drive recently to reduce the requirements to satisfy targets and concentrate more on a better quality service.

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“We would always support our chief constable in attempting to achieve that.”

Norfolk’s chief constable, Phil Gormley, said it would be acceptable for crime figures to increase in some areas as long as public confidence improves.

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In cases of domestic violence and hate crime, Mr Gormley said he would be happy to record more incidents if it was because victims felt more able to ask for help.

The new focus will be to encourage bobbies to “do the right thing” rather than simply tick boxes, he said. He is also willing to sacrifice Norfolk’s “safest county” tag.

His views come off the back of a countrywide drive – the National Policing Pledge – to improve standards.

The Suffolk Police Authority has recently revealed its priorities for the next three years, which include reducing anti-social behaviour and improving public confidence. Central to its pledge is a commitment to work closely with local authorities and other partners to deal with issues that matter most to communities.

Simon Ash, chief constable of Suffolk Constabulary, said “The targets set for us are challenging but achievable and we are committed to working towards these and creating even safer, more confident communities.”

The Three-Year Plan can be viewed at www.suffolkpoliceauthority.org.uk


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