Responding Fairly to Crime Where You Live: City, Market Town, and Rural
In Norwich, Kings Lynn, and Great Yarmouth we have many local areas with higher than expected crime rates as compared to similar places. This is true of violent crime, knife crime, anti-social behaviour, and substance abuse including the notorious County Lines drug trade. In many communities we know from local people that they simply do not bother reporting crime any more as they believe nothing will be done. People tell us they don’t like to use public spaces – including our wonderful parks – because of criminal activity, street drinking, and anti-social behaviour. These are the issues that affect our freedom to enjoy life and as PCC I will make sure they are given a high priority – not just by Police but by our local Councils who are responsible for these spaces.
Our rural areas face specific issues like theft of oil, animals (including dogs), and equipment from farms and isolated houses, or illegal sports like hare coursing. Rural communities and our market towns also face the same types of crime as our three major urban areas – drug use, domestic abuse, child sexual exploitation, fraud and cybercrime, and modern slavery. Women and people who identify as LGBTQ+ or from our Black & Ethnic Minority communities face discrimination and hate crime without easy access to support. Services to intervene early where there is domestic abuse are very limited. Everywhere outside our urban areas people talk of difficulty getting support in dealing with crime, poor response when they try to report criminals, and, above all, their worries about how long it would take help to arrive in an emergency. As PCC I will make sure all crime in rural areas and market towns receives the same attention it would get in our urban areas.
Drug use is an issue across all of Norfolk. Police have achieved some great successes in cutting supply and disrupting County Lines gangs but the problem remains for people whose shared entrances to housing, streets and public spaces are hotspots for users. As well as disrupting supply we need to take action to reduce demand and the public impact of drug use. This is an area where it is vital that Police work closely with communities, local Councils, public health, and the NHS. Our Labour County and Norwich City manifestos are full of good proposals and I will support these fully as PCC while ensuring continued Police focus on disrupting supply and tackling the impact of drug use on the quality of life for people across Norfolk.
Anti-social behaviour is also a problem across the County. This includes a range of activity including street drinking, excessive noise, behaviour that causes fear, as well as damage to private and public property. It is another issue where Police can only be successful with the support of the community, local Councils, housing providers, and Public Health. As PCC I will ensure Police support for targeted campaigns to tackle anti-social behaviour and communities challenging this type of crime. I will also take an active role in reviews carried out under the Community Trigger provisions of legislation.