Policing boost across North Norfolk

Local policing is getting a boost with more officers, equipment and initiatives to tackle grass roots issues across North Norfolk this spring. A range of projects is being brought in to deal with a raft of public concerns from speeding drivers and security for the elderly to alcohol awareness for the young, and help for families in the midst of domestic unrest and violence.

Local policing is getting a boost with more officers, equipment and initiatives to tackle grass roots issues across North Norfolk this spring.

A range of projects is being brought in to deal with a raft of public concerns from speeding drivers and security for the elderly to alcohol awareness for the young, and help for families in the midst of domestic unrest and violence.

The area's team of 17 Safer Neighbourhood Team officers will swell to 23 in April, when new systems come in that will see response officers change their shift patterns and police station bases.

And there are moves afoot to make it easier the public to contact their local policing teams to help the force set priorities.


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Local police chief Supt Dave Marshall said the SNT system was working well, by highlighting the issues police had been guilty of ignoring the past, and the changes would build on it.

'We have often been focussed on dealing with burglaries and targets, but for a lot of people it is smaller, quality of life issues that affect them more.'

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The bolstered SNT teams would patrol key areas, and step up visits to victims of crime - to help gather extra evidence and intelligence, with the aim of establishing patterns to aid crime prevention, as well as providing guidance and support, explained Supt Marshall.

The current system of holding local meetings to get public feedback and set priorities was also being reviewed - with the aim of using postboxes and websites more, because some older and working people, along with those with child care problems, could not always attend public meetings, and others, such as youngsters, might not be comfortable attending them.

It was also hoped to visit schools to get younger people's views, he added.

Response officers were having their shift patterns changed when the changes came in during early April - away from 12-hour days which saw them off 180 days a year - to shorter more variable shifts, meaning they could be targeted more flexibly towards peak times such as weekend nights.

They would be based at just Aylsham and Fakenham in North Norfolk, instead of every police station, but only to clock on and off - with the rest of the time spent working patches, and patrolling areas highlighted by SNT meetings.

As well as attending emergency incidents they would also look to pass follow up support work to the local teams.

Work is shortly starting on the new Cromer police station, but earlier plans to make a combined base for Sheringham too, had been dropped - with a rebuild scheduled on the current Sheringham site to keep an important presence in the town to fit the new SNT system, added Supt Marshall.

Improvements to stations at Fakenham and Stalham were also phased for the future.

* To contact your SNT team call 0845 456 4567 or visit the www.norfolk.police.uk website and click on the Safer Neighbourhoods icon

POLICING PROJECTS being tackled in North Norfolk include:

* a pilot scheme in Cromer and Sheringham, looking at families having domestic violence problems - getting the parties together to offer advice and help, including a visiting solicitor, with the aim of preventing recurrences

* increasing use of 'restorative justice' for many young and first time offenders - ranging from clearing up graffiti to talking to crime victims to explain their actions. The success of the scheme had been recognised internationally with film of Cromer PC Gary Medler's work being shown to a crime conference in Canada.

* introduction of body-mounted video cameras in each SNT team to gather better evidence including at disorder and anti social behaviour incidents - to be used in court, or shown to parents.

* more speed cameras given to the teams to target hot spots highlighted by SNTs

* cash help towards an alcohol awareness bus being planned by the Benjamin Foundation to tour the North Walsham, Stalham and Cromer areas from April to October.

* cash to help Age Concern provide security devices and advice to the elderly in tackling unwanted callers

* reward vouchers for sport and leisure facilities to be handed out to well-behaved youths, through schools and on the streets

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