'Green shoots' for public confidence in police – but 101 still a challenge

The burglars took drills, airguns, a wallet and keys from the home in Hitcham Picture: ARCHANT

Suffolk's chief constable said the force was seeing green shoots around the issue of public confidence - Credit: Archant � 2005

Police believe work to improve "critical" public confidence in the service is beginning to pay off – but admit that lack of faith in the non-emergency call system remains a "real challenge". 

Last January, Suffolk Constabulary recorded among the lowest levels of public confidence in the country – ranking 37th of 42 forces overall.

The Crime Survey of England and Wales found 71.9% of people had confidence in the police in the year to June 2019 – against a 75.3% national average.

More recent data, up to March 2020, showed the position had improved against other forces, despite the percentage actually slipping to 70.4%, with the force ranking 25th for overall confidence.

A report to the police and crime commissioner's (PCC) accountability and performance panel also showed 83.3% of domestic abuse victims had expressed satisfaction with the constabulary since November 2018, while 76.9% of hate crime, online crime, rural and business crime victims were satisfied with the service they received in the 12 months to October, compared to 70.6% the previous year. 

Chief Constable Steve Jupp said the force was seeing green shoots in an area of significant importance.

Assistant Chief Constable Rob Jones added: "Last year, we were so concerned about levels of public confidence, we declared it a critical incident. Everyone was working hard to turn it around.

"There is quite a lag with the data, and we have to be cognisant of the long term, but there has been a significant turnaround, which gives us some assurance that work is paying dividends.

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"If we have an area of real challenge still, it's about first contact. While we have invested in different channels and digital technology, the 101 provision is not where it should be."

PCC Tim Passmore said the force was going in the right direction, but that 101 had been a "bone of contention" for some time.

Most recent figures showed it took an average 12 minutes for routine non-emergency calls to be answered during August.

On Friday, the police and crime panel approved plans for a 6.71% increase to the council tax precept, which the PCC said would ensure the constabulary could deliver a balanced budget and invest an extra £2.6m in areas including improved public interaction though the police control room.