Peter Walsh, Crime correspondent
Friday, June 13, 2014
Norfolk’s chief constable said he is committed to protecting the county’s front line despite the blow of having plans for a money-saving merged police control room scuppered.
Simon Bailey admitted he would be the head of a “smaller organisation” following the decision not to proceed with plans to merge Norfolk and Suffolk control rooms to Wymondham which would help save £1,8m a year and help both forces meet the combined £37million of savings they must make by March 2018.
But despite the blow Mr Bailey said he would do everything he could to shield officers on the ground from what might follow.
He said: “I will protect the front line. That for me is the most important thing.”
“I’ve had to revisit my savings plans and now have to find another £1m worth of savings as a result.
“We put a lot of time and effort into it and the commissioner in Suffolk made that decision and the fact is now we’ve got to find these additional findings and will find them.
“It’s going to be a challenge to find these, a really big challenge and I’m going to have to explore all sorts of different things.”
Closer collaboration opportunities are thought to be among the options being considered by Mr Bailey as part of the so-called Plan B which will be revealed next month.
Mr Bailey, who started his policing career as a PC in King’s Lynn in 1986 and rose through the ranks to deputy chief constable in 2010, was speaking a year after being appointed Norfolk’s interim chief constable following Phil Gormley’s departure in June last year.
Mr Bailey said it had been both a “challenging” and “exciting” first year.
“It’s obviously a privilege as a Norfolk man to lead the organisation but it comes with a real significant degree of responsibility.”
Mr Bailey said the responsibility revolved around which three areas:
- How to continue to maintain and if possible improve on policing service in the county.
- How to do that while at the same time addressing a budget deficit if £20.3m over the next three years.
- How to lead an organisation which is not only dealing with traditional policing needs and challenges but is also experiencing new challenges in terms of the type of crime being committed.
He said: “I’m continuing to see reductions in what we would call traditional crime types whereas I’m seeing significant growth is emerging in the vulnerability case areas.
“We’re seeing increases of reporting of abuse, child and adult abuse, rape and serious sexual offences.
“I don’t believe, and have nothing that would indicate, there are more offences taking place but there’s been the Savile effect which has raised levels of awareness.
“There’s an increased confidence that their story will be believed and increased confidence on my organisation’s ability to respond to that and deal with it.”
He added: “The face of crime is changing and we’ve got to rebalance resources in the organisation.”