Better local policing -N. Norfolk pledge

A local police chief has hit back at fears that a shake-up of the Norfolk force will hit rural crime fighting.Supt Dave Marshall, who is in charge of North Norfolk, assured the public that police officers would remain in communities and the new system would not see the demise of local policing.

A local police chief has hit back at fears that a shake-up of the Norfolk force will hit rural crime fighting.

Supt Dave Marshall, who is in charge of North Norfolk, assured the public that police officers would remain in communities and the new system would not see the demise of local policing.

His comments follow news that 29 of the county's 35 police stations will no longer have “response teams”, which will be based at a half a dozen hubs, and with shift patterns changed to concentrate cover on busier times such as Fridays and Saturdays.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb has voiced concern that the new system would cause problems in his rural patch which “does not have a road network that facilitates high speed travel over long distances”.


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He is alarmed at the moves, and contacting the chief constable demanding a full briefing over his fears that public safety could be put at risk.

Supt Marshall however said the changes would result in an improved service to rural areas, through the deployment of 200 more Safer Neighbourhood officers.

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“The modernisation currently being undertaken by the constabulary is all about getting closer to the public by improving the efficiency of our emergency response.

“This process will enable more officers to be based on Safer Neighbourhood Teams with the specific role of tackling local crime issues through positive enforcement and sustainable long-term problem-solving initiatives," he said.

In North Norfolk, response teams will be based at Fakenham and Aylsham. But Supt Marshall stressed that patrols of rural areas would not be affected.

The new deployment bases would be used by officers to clock in and out of and to receive briefings and patrol deployments. Officers would still attend reported crime and incidents in the area, and the Safer Neighbourhood Teams continue their work at the centre of all our communities.

Local crime issues were more likely to be dealt with by a local officer, rather than a range of patrol policemen changing shifts, which would give better continuity.

He added: “I am committed to delivering better locally-based policing services to people in North Norfolk through SNT's who are based within the communities they serve.”

People could be reassured that no police stations would be closed as a result of the reforms - and that new stations at Wells and Cromer were still pressing ahead, to reflect the force's long-term investment in local policing.

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