On the 25/01/2013 we had meeting of the Police and Crime panel for us to look at consider and comment on the Police and Crime Commissioners draft police and crime plan and the proposed precept.Also in attendance were Tim Passmore PCC and his team.
There has already been a lot of discussion about the role of the PCC and some would feel that the public apathy on polling day also spoke volumes about their perception and expectations.But the reality is we need to ensure that this role does succeed for the good of the people of Ipswich who will suffer if this goes wrong.
The first thing that strikes you when reading the PCC`s plan is how it is high on aspiration and low on detail.It was full of statements that no one would disagree with and are essential but how they are going to be provided for did not seem to be included.Mr Passmore explained that the plan was to set out what needed to be done and more detail would be avaliable on the PCC website.
I was impressed how the panel didn`t play party politics and asked Mr Passmore challenging questions no mater what their political colours.
My questions centred around the Safer Neighbourhood Team`s (SNT) the plan had highlighted how important these are seen to be.My concern was that with the budget restraints would there be any changes to the teams and the structure not just the size of the teams but the breakdown of warranted officers and PCSO`s.Mr Passmore assured us that there are no plans to change SNT`s at the moment.
The other concern amongst myself and some fellow panel members are around the precept.The Police Authority had set a council tax precept increase on the understanding that for the force to meet operational requirements we need to be at 1200 0fficers at the moment we are under strength at 1180 officers.
By not increasing the precept we seemed to be heading to a potential cliff edge in a couple of years time.Mr Passmore feels confident that an underspend from previous years will allow them to avoid this.
Both the draft plan and the precept passed though.
This is an evolving role in challenging times. It is essential that we find partnerships and good relationships between the various organisations involved.My hope is that as we move forward both the PCC and the panel can assure that the people of Ipswich get the police force this great town deserves