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Your chance to tell me what policing should look like

Earlier this month I attended a major policing conference in London. Amid talks from very senior officers, the new Home Secretary and the Policing Minister there was a lot of discussion about technology, including the use of facial recognition software.

Your chance to tell me what policing should look like

The OPCC engagement team visits Torquay on Friday

This artificial intelligence solution has been found to be incredibly useful for tracking down missing people and dangerous offenders who have gone on the run, but some human rights campaigners are concerned that it represents more surveillance in our communities.

One of the issues around it is that there is not much information available as to how supportive the public are of our use of this technology so I am asking residents of Devon and Cornwall what they think about it in my annual survey, which launched on Friday (Nov 24).

Each year about 4,000 people have used these surveys to give me their views about a range of issues and what they tell me has heavily influenced decisions about the following year’s budget and our policing priorities.

Your feedback helped me decide to make antisocial behaviour, drugs, dangerous driving and violent crime priority areas in my 2021-25 Police and Crime Plan. And it showed that there was huge support for my plan to open more police station ‘front desks’. I have funded the reopening of 12 of these police enquiry offices, and opened a brand new one in Plymouth, on the strength of public support for the greater connectivity they create with the communities policing serves.

Every year, at about this time, I have a big decision to make regarding the level of the precept – the part of council tax which pays for policing which is set by police and crime commissioners.

In previous years our residents have told me there is support for further investment in policing, especially if the results are felt in our communities with extra neighbourhood officers. The financial year ahead may be challenging, so this year, more than ever, it is important to have your say in the finance section of the survey.

As well as asking you about your views on policing now, I also want to know what you would like our future force to look like and there are questions in the survey which ask respondents for their views around policing in the context of other public services.

It is really important to me that everyone, whatever age or background they are, has a chance to take part in Your Safety, Your Say, so my team are heading out to towns and cities across Devon and Cornwall. 

If you sign up to my Neighbourhood Alert emailing system, which can be done at the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s website, you will be sent details of roadshow events near you, where staff will be on hand to explain my office’s work and the budget process.

On Friday they met dozens of people in Torquay in a joint event held with Torbay Council, and more than 300 people completed the survey. Future roadshows will take place at locations including Barnstaple, St Austell, Plymouth, Falmouth, Truro and Exeter.

It will be in late December when the Home Office provides information on the provisional budget for 2024-25, then we have a matter of weeks to put a detailed plan together before it is put before our Police and Crime Panel, which is made up of councillors and lay members from around Devon and Cornwall who scrutinise my decision making.

There is, therefore, plenty of time to make your opinion known. The best way is online at dcpcc.commonplace.is or if you do not have access to the internet call my office on 01392 225555.