Force rated 'well above average'

SUFFOLK police was today revealed as one of the top performing forces in the country.The police performance monitoring report for 2003/4 rated it "well above average" in the key areas of reducing crime, investigating crime and resource usage.

SUFFOLK police was today revealed as one of the top performing forces in the country.

The police performance monitoring report for 2003/4 rated it "well above average" in the key areas of reducing crime, investigating crime and resource usage.

Its performance has also been recognised as excellent or good under the vast majority of categories considered.

Home Office figures rate force as the third safest in the country, while the force's own indicators rate themselves as the safest.

While there has been a rise in violent crime of 19.1 per cent and an increase of nearly 14pc in drugs offences, Suffolk still has only 80 offences per 1,000 of the population.

Alastair McWhirter, chief constable of Suffolk police, said: "Suffolk was rated very highly last year and it pleases me that in most areas we've been able to make significant improvements to what was already a top performance.

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"I'm particularly gratified to note we have scored so well in the category of resource usage.

"When I announced my intention to review the whole of the constabulary to try to achieve cost savings I said there was very little fat to trim. This report confirms that. Suffolk scores well in all management categories."

His comments come at a time when the force is trying to meet a budget shortfall of £6million for the next financial year.

The report identified only one aspect of the force as poor – the call handling.

Mr McWhirter said this issue is being addressed under the Calls First Project, with more staff being recruited in this area, new technology purchased and fresh working practises adopted.

Mr McWhirter added: "We'll continue to strive for improvement in all areas of our work. In particular, officer have frequently highlighted to me they would like to spend more time with their customers.

"Over the next few months, we'll be concentrating on measures that free up their time."

What do you think of the police's performance? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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