Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner Stephen Bett has secured a share of £20m which he believes will change the face of policing in the county.
Among the benefits will be:
- The introduction of a Mental Health specialist within the Norfolk Police Command and Control Room (CCR) – believed to be the first time in the UK. This will provide ‘real time’ support for a variety of situations involving vulnerable people
- The establishment of a new Automatic Number Plate Recognition ‘hub’ with cutting edge technology for Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies
- The implementation of a single IT system for Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies for officers and staff as well as HR, Finance, Procurement, Duty Management and Payroll functions (currently joint teams are managed on multiple systems, creating bureaucracy and duplication).
Stephen submitted bids for funding from the Home Office Precursor Police Innovation Fund, established to ‘incentivise collaboration, support digital working and enable PCCs to invest in innovation’.
Two of the three successful bids were in conjunction with Suffolk PCC, securing some £1,263,774 in total.
Stephen said: “I am absolutely delighted we have been successful. I said when I took office I would do things differently and encourage innovation and that is what I continue to do. This money will allow Norfolk Constabulary to really push the boundaries and will, I believe, change the face of policing in Norfolk and beyond.
“We believe that for the first time in the UK a dedicated mental health specialist will be based within a constabulary’s Command and Control Room. This will improve safeguarding for those with mental health issues and improve early access to services before a crisis point is reached. It will provide an improved police response and quickly identify the appropriate courses of action. It will also mean a better response to repeat callers with mental health issues. This model is one which could be transferred regionally and nationally providing a network of mental health expertise across constabularies.
“A second tranche of funding will see vastly improved number plate recognition across both Norfolk and Suffolk with a central ‘hub’ to coordinate and provide crucial intelligence and support. We want our police forces to make life harder for criminals and this will most certainly help. The third successful bid will help push the already exemplary Norfolk and Suffolk collaboration work even further, with a single management system cutting bureaucracy and avoiding needless duplication.
“All these innovations are aimed at improving policing while saving time and money and I am pleased the Home Office has recognised the undoubted benefits of our ideas.”
Clive Rennie, Head of Integrated Commissioning for Health and Adult Social Care in Norfolk, said: “This is excellent news. The mental health initiative will help significantly and will contribute to the health and wellbeing of people with mental health issues across Norfolk. It will help ensure those in need get to the right people in the right place at the right time and help keep police intervention to a minimum.”
In order to secure the funding each Police and Crime Commissioner had to put forward a percentage contribution to secure each fund.