Marc Jones: Budgeting for a brighter future

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Winston Churchill once said “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty”.

That attitude is at the forefront of my mind as I face the challenges the Office of Police and Crime Commissioner presents; because there is no doubt the role has its difficulties. We face some tough financial issues and challenges with the budget for policing in the county.

It is also true that those difficulties provide opportunities and it is because of those opportunities that I am hugely excited about the next few months.

We will soon be appointing a new Chief Constable who will bring fresh ideas, a new perspective and, I’m confident, great skills to the role – helping to create a Lincolnshire Police ready and committed to delivering outstanding service to the public for years to come.

The new chief will take charge of a force in good shape; a force recognised for its efficiency and its will to work with other forces and organisations to improve services for all.

They will join a force planning to recruit hundreds of new Officers, PCSOs and take in trained transferring officers too.

And while I know setting our next budget will be no easy task I am also confident that the process brings with it exciting opportunities to seek new ways of improving the effectiveness and efficiency of our service.

New technology allowing officers to spend more time in the community and less at a desk, new types of vehicles giving our force the ability to respond quickly and reach all corners of the county in all weathers are just two of the options being examined.

We are also working with colleagues from other emergency services on a “blue light collaboration” project looking at ways of sharing skills and resources so we can work together in responding to the needs of the community.

And what I am really positive about is that we are opening up the discussion to the people we serve.

I have launched a consultation to give the residents of Lincolnshire the chance to shape those decisions and already the response has been incredible. In less than a week around 1,000 people have responded, giving their views about the priorities we should be focused on.

More than 97% of the respondents, so far, have backed the move for emergency service closer working and 91% support additional funding for the force, but I want more people to respond to the survey.

The role of the PCC is to be a voice of the people when setting the agenda for policing and I want my voice to be informed by the people who I represent.

My questionnaire is your opportunity to do just that. There are only five questions; it will take just a few minutes, but will play a crucial role in the future of your community; and before anyone asks, yes I will genuinely take account of your views and, yes there is an email address at the end to send in your comments in your own words.

You can even see in simple coloured graphs how your views stack up against everyone who has taken part so far. A truly open and transparent survey that really will inform your services into the future.

With your support, I am hugely optimistic that we can provide a police force that meets the needs of the people it serves and does so in the most efficient way possible.

The survey can be accessed here.

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