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.

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 it represents more surveillance in our communities.

One of the issues is that there is not much information available as to how supportive the public are of our use of this technology, so it is one of the things I am asking residents of Devon and Cornwall about 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 huge support for my plan to open more police station ‘front desks’.

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.

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, so my team are heading out to towns and cities across Devon and Cornwall to promote the survey. 

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.

We have 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.