Last month saw the election of a new Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk. Giles Orpen-Smellie takes over the top job with direct responsibility for our police force. He also has a duty to make sure his policing priorities keep our streets and neighbourhoods safe. These local commissioners were created when Theresa May was Home Secretary with the aim to move policing decisions away from a faceless committee, meeting behind closed doors, to an individual who is directly accountable to the electorate. These new arrangements have led to better decision-making about where resources are allocated and prioritised.
Two things are at the top of the new commissioner’s in-tray – the appointment of a new Chief Constable and the preparation of a policing plan. I’ve extended an invitation for the commissioner to join me in Great Yarmouth to hear first-hand about the policing priorities in our borough. Local crime can have a huge impact on our communities, even if it is what might be considered low-level such as anti-social behaviour. However, top of my list of issues to raise is how we will resource our efforts to combat the menace of drug crime and crack the scourge of county line drug dealing. I’m reassured Norfolk Police are taking part in operations to block and destroy the supply network of drug gangs operating from London and using young people to deal in Norwich and Great Yarmouth. The work to disrupt this terrible organised crime must continue.
Ahead of meeting with Mr Orpen-Smellie I want to know if there are any specific crime or anti-social behaviour issues that need addressing in your community I’ve launched a crime survey, which you can complete online in just a few minutes – www.brandonlewis.co/crime_survey. You can also request a paper version of the survey by contacting my office on 01493 854550. This is your chance to influence the policing plan in Norfolk by making sure your views are heard. I will report back on the results of the survey in the future. The results will be the basis of my discissions with both the new commissioner and our local police commander to ensure our area is a safe place for all of us.