River police return this summer to keep people safe on the Broads

Officers from the Broads Beat team. Picture: submitted

Officers from the Broads Beat team. Picture: submitted - Credit: Archant

Norfolk Constabulary's Broads Beat team will again play a vital role in making sure people stay safe on the waterways this summer.

At the team's annual launch on Thursday, June 14, Inspector Rob Wicks said Broads Beat had proved to be a successful partnership initiative, which continued to receive strong support from a range of dedicated sponsors.

This year marks the 23rd season for the team, patrolling 125 miles of navigable water during the high season, from April to October.

Insp Wicks said: 'Broads Beat is a true team effort and this initiative would not be possible without the continued support of our partner agencies such as the Broads Authority and the many local businesses which sponsor the team.

'We want to make sure people visiting our county feel safe and secure and it's through the hard work of the Broads Beat team, sponsors and partners, that this is continually achieved.'

The team, who are all trained in boat handling and first aid, operate VHF marine band radios, patrol all the Broads including the rivers Ant, Bure, Thurne, Waveney, Yare, Wensum and Chet, as well as Great Yarmouth harbour and the numerous dykes, staithes and boatyards.

On request, officers also work with colleagues from Suffolk Constabulary to patrol Lowestoft harbour, Oulton Dyke and Oulton Broad.

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The patrols aim to offer hi-visibility policing, reassurance and on-the-spot assistance to both local people and visitors to the county as well as dealing with a variety of anti-social and criminal activities and assisting the Broads Authority in enforcing local by-laws.

Broads Beat officers and their vessels are based at Hoveton police station, which allows for central access to the Broads network, by towing it to the various slipways available on both the northern and southern rivers. This station is manned on a Monday and Friday between 9am and 1pm.

Officers can be contacted to help in a range of incidents including missing people, potential drowning, searches, football matches, firearms deployments, anti-social behaviour and crimes. They are also available to offer crime prevention advice and attend many boat jumbles, regattas, races and marine-related festivals.