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New ways of handling enquiries from other forces save police time

Suffolk police contact and control room  Picture: LAUREN DE BOISE

Suffolk police contact and control room Picture: LAUREN DE BOISE

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A new system of dealing with requests from other police forces has saved Suffolk Constabulary the equivalent of almost £100,000 in work since July.

The new out-of-force enquiries process has more than halved the amount of time taken up by requests from other jurisdictions.

Results have so far exceeded expectations by potentially eliminating 1,508 dispatches and saving 4,524 hours per year.

Control room inspector Jo Garrard said: "We receive a variety of enquiries from colleagues in other forces; driving document checks, witness statements, reports for summons, establishing who owns a vehicle.

"For some, like driving matters, there are already processes in place, such as notices of intended prosecution through the post."

But police also identified other potential areas to boost efficiency.

Neighbouring forces are encouraged to cross the county line if a statement is required from someone just over the border.

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Forces further afield are asked to provide Suffolk officers with templates of required data if asked to attend a local address for a statement, in order to ensure all details are gathered first time.

In other cases, requests can be redirected to partner agencies, if appropriate, via the force website.

In October, Chief Constable Steve Jupp launched a programme called 'Creating Capacity' to identify ways of working differently and allow staff more time on the most important issues of concern for communities.

The constabulary already has collaborative arrangements to produce savings with Norfolk - and as part of a seven-force strategic programme.

Insp Garrard said: "We're still very much collaborative with Norfolk Constabulary and still have mutual responsibilities, so for operational matters, absolutely, that hasn't changed.

"It has really improved efficiency, and I hope it has improved experiences for the public. I genuinely believe it has been helpful and that services are significantly improving.

"It's easier to manage demand coming in online, and it frees up our phones to enable greater resources.

"We've reduced out-of-force enquiries by 61% - equating to £98,000 of savings. It means we can focus on deployable resources.

"It fits in with the chief's message and I'm delighted other forces have approached us because of the innovation behind it."

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