Suffolk: County should retain faith in its police force despite national issues - says Assistant Chief Constable

Assistant Chief Constable David Skevington Assistant Chief Constable David Skevington

Friday, April 4, 2014
9:00 AM

Scandals like Hillsborough, Plebgate and the Stephen Lawrence inquiry have shaken public confidence in the police nationally.

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Murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence.Murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence.

Earlier this week the fragile nature of the public’s perception of police officers was highlighted in a report by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary.

In response to its findings Suffolk’s Assistant Chief Constable David Skevington explainsed why the county has every reason to retain faith in its forces and those who serve in it.

He said “Some of the national headlines during the last year have not made comfortable reading for police leaders.

“Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary Tom Winsor concluded a series of controversies had damaged, but certainly not broken, the public’s perception of the police when he released his Annual Assessment of Policing.

Police patrol the streets of Ipswich Town CentrePolice patrol the streets of Ipswich Town Centre

“It is not my place to comment on these controversies, which have been largely historic and taken place many miles away from Suffolk.

“But I do want to focus on policing in Suffolk – and outline why local people should be confident their police service is up to the challenge of keeping them safe.

“I want to start with Mr Winsor’s assessment. Included are separate reports for all 43 forces in England and Wales, looking at plans to meet the challenge of budget cuts while maintaining an effective police service. I would like to quote from Suffolk’s report: ‘The force has developed a strong and effective change programme which will enable Suffolk to meet its financial challenge while keeping a sound focus on reducing recorded crime and keeping its communities safe. Through its exemplary work with Norfolk Constabulary, Suffolk has embraced collaboration ... recorded crime continues to fall in Suffolk and overall crime rates are lower than in other forces’.

“Mr Winsor’s report followed another report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate, looking at domestic abuse. Again, each force was inspected and Suffolk was among a small group highlighted as performing well.

The Hillsborough disasterThe Hillsborough disaster

“In fact, Suffolk’s report stated victims of domestic abuse can have confidence in the service they receive from their local police.

“We are held to account not only by HMIC but locally by the Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore, working to the objectives contained in his Police and Crime Plan. Our latest performance figures suggest we are meeting most objectives, with crime falling, solved rates improving – and strong performance in handling emergency calls and attending incidents quickly.

“We’re also providing a quality service when people need us – with more people saying they are satisfied with the police service they have received.

“Local survey figures show more than 90% of people feel safe in the county. The Crime Survey of England & Wales shows 77.5% of people in Suffolk have confidence in the police in their area, placing us 11th nationally.

“But it isn’t just about statistics. Our Chief Constable Douglas Paxton puts confidence in policing and victim satisfaction at the forefront of our policing style.

“We recognise that we must concentrate on solving the problems that really matter to people and do it in a manner that shows we are committed while being compassionate and supportive.

“We need to ensure that our officers have the tools to do the job, from the kit they wear to the mobile data devices we are currently developing to allow them to spend more time where it matters – out in the community.

“We need to let people know what we are doing because transparency breeds confidence. Every day, our officers are doing something that makes a difference, whether it is taking the first steps to rid a community of persistent anti-social behaviour, or saving the life of a vulnerable person. Of course, we receive complaints. “And people can be assured that these will be rigorously investigated, action taken where necessary and lessons learned.

“But it is important to note letters of appreciation far outnumber those of complaint, and demonstrate t the bravery and resourcefulness of Suffolk’s officers and staff.

“My hope is this: that the dedication the officers of Suffolk Constabulary display each and every day gives people the confidence to go about their lives without fear, knowing their police are committed to keeping them and their loved ones safe from harm.”

7 comments

  • It's a shame that not so many years ago the public had a lot of respect for police officers ,things changed with introduction of the community support officer hanging around in twos out side debenhams with the reds street rangers, with no power of arrest , shop lifters let off with a caution,,a number given to you if you have the misfortune to have your house broken into ,but god help the motorist if even the smallest crime is committed ,no I will have no respect or faith in the Police till things change.

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    pandy

    Friday, April 4, 2014

  • I agree with most of what Mr Skevington said but when it comes to "we need to let people know what we are doing "---a lot of the force neighbourhood teams are not doing that. I live in the Babergh area. They are not letting the residents know what they are doing- their own pages have priorities 3 months out of date- they used to have regular tweet messages to update the locals on what the police teams were doing- that has virtually come to a halt. I am sure they are doing good work out there but how are we supposed to appreciate it and support them if we, the public do not know about it ?

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    The original Victor Meldrew

    Friday, April 4, 2014

  • Most people in Suffolk trust Suffolk police. Changing statements, hiding evidence, destroying evidence, framing Govenment Minsters etc does go on and causes great concern to the public but Suffolk Police have a pretty good record. Yet they are occassionally critisied and vilefied by the press and sitting MP's such as in the Simon Hall case where Suffolk Police were right all along.

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    David S

    Friday, April 4, 2014

  • Many People believe what the see and hear in the media . The Police fail to fight their corner when they are criticized and the Police Federation has never spoken out in support of its officers either . The federation has ruined what respect anyone had for it with the Plebgate Saga . Policing has become Political and due to that there will always be issues . Gone are the days when the MP's jumped when the Chief Constables spoke . People expect too much from the Police and there is a real need to for the Police to consider what sort of service they will provide , especially after some much cost cutting of late .

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    Poppys Dad

    Friday, April 4, 2014

  • Most people in Suffolk trust Suffolk police. Changing statements, hiding evidence, destroying evidence, framing Govenment Minsters etc does go on and causes great concern to the public but Suffolk Police have a pretty good record. Yet they are occassionally critisied and vilefied by the press and sitting MP's such as in the Simon Hall case where Suffolk Police were right all along.

    Report this comment

    David S

    Friday, April 4, 2014

  • When was the last time you saw a uniform CONSTABLE walking and talking in the town center. In 1972 the town centre had 9 walking beats...yes 9 police constables on duty every day of the week on 3 shifts!! The estates had 9 panda beats. There was a roving area car with a senior crew. Most shifts had 3 sergeants and a shift Inspector. The traffic unit had 3 sections. Each section had 7 Pc's an a sergeant to cover the 3 shift rotas. In my day each section had 3 motorcyclists who had their own machine for safety reasons, mostly. Then Ken Clarke and Patrick Sheehy turned the Police Force into a business and we have reaped the rewards...NOT.

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    waspie

    Saturday, April 5, 2014

  • I`ll have faith in the police when they start prosecuting idiot path cyclists.

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    Supernova6

    Friday, April 4, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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