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'I am optimistic' - Police and crime commissioner welcomes new PM's policing pledge

PUBLISHED: 16:08 26 July 2019 | UPDATED: 16:08 26 July 2019

Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner Lorne Green outside Diss police station. Picture: Simon Parkin

Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner Lorne Green outside Diss police station. Picture: Simon Parkin

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A pledge by the new Prime Minister to increase police numbers has been welcomed by Norfolk's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), who says he is optimistic the county will benefit.

Conservative Party leadership candidate Boris Johnson during a Tory leadership hustings in London.Conservative Party leadership candidate Boris Johnson during a Tory leadership hustings in London.

Lorne Green, who oversees how crime is tackled in the county, said he is "optimistic" about Boris Johnson's plan to recruit 20,000 new police officers. The recruitment drive - one of Mr Johnson's Tory leadership campaign promises - will start in September and the Prime Minister wants it completed over the next three years.

Mr Green said: "We have a new government committed to pursuing a robust law and order agenda.

"Since becoming Norfolk's Police and Crime Commissioner, I've worked closely with Norfolk Constabulary to deliver a first class service the county deserves and meeting the complex demands of 21st Century policing."

In March last year, Norfolk had 173 police officers per 100,000 population, placing the county 19th among 42 police force areas across England.

Chief Constable Simon Bailey at NOSCAS 2018. PIC: Neil PerryChief Constable Simon Bailey at NOSCAS 2018. PIC: Neil Perry

Figures for Suffolk were slightly lower, with 149 officers per 100,000, ranking the county 37th.

The average for England was 208.

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Data from the Home Office shows between March 2010 and March 2019, police officer numbers in Norfolk fell from 1,662 to 1,609, a drop of 3pc.

Over the same period, Suffolk experienced a loss of 6pc, or 1,246 to 1,172 officers. The force has however been undergoing a transformation which has seen PCSOs replaced by more officers.

Mr Green said: "The fact remains that we have fewer police in uniform today than we did a decade ago.

"And yet, the volume and complexity of demand has grown enormously.

"I am optimistic about the Prime Minister's plans, and await further guidance on such key related matters as financing and training.

"I remain committed to making Norfolk a safe place to live, work and visit and I will work tirelessly to make sure Norfolk receives a fair share of additional resources," he said.

Earlier this week, on Monday (July 22), Norfolk's chief constable Simon Bailey said if the county had an extra 200 to 300 officers he would not put them on the street but into investigating cyber-enabled crime.

"I suspect people will more likely be the victim of a fraud attempt than you will ever have been about someone breaking into your house.

"That's the type of challenge we face now," the chief constable said.

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