Search

Mayors of Dereham and Fakenham express concerns that police overhaul could distance officers from the community

PUBLISHED: 06:44 26 October 2017 | UPDATED: 10:44 26 October 2017

Dereham mayor Hilary Bushell. Picture: DEREHAM TOWN COUNCIL

Dereham mayor Hilary Bushell. Picture: DEREHAM TOWN COUNCIL

Archant

The Mayors of Fakenham and Dereham have expressed concerns over proposals to overhaul policing across the county, which they say could lead to officers being detached from the communities they serve.

Fakenham town mayor George Acheson. Picture: Ian Burt Fakenham town mayor George Acheson. Picture: Ian Burt

A wide range of changes were announced last week by Norfolk Chief Constable Simon Bailey in one of the biggest reviews of policing in the force’s history.

Under the proposals, Dereham and Fakenham will be among seven police stations in the county to close their public enquiry offices when the changes come into effect in April 2018.

Norfolk will also be the first force in the country to completely eliminate the role of Police Community Support Officer (PCSO).

Hilary Bushell, Mayor of Dereham, said: “I am concerned that the loss of PCSOs would mean that criminal damage and antisocial behaviour would be taken less seriously.

Dereham Police Station. Picture Archant archive Dereham Police Station. Picture Archant archive

“I have been reassured by the police that criminal damage and anti-social behaviour would not be ignored and would be prioritised alongside other work. I feel that the worst outcome would be if members of the public stop reporting low level crime, because they think the police are no longer interested.

“I would urge the public to report all criminal activity and antisocial behaviour so that the police have a realistic understanding of what is happening locally.”

She added that she was disappointed that members of the public in Dereham will only be able to meet with police by appointment after the front desk closures, while in Norwich, Kings Lynn and Great Yarmouth advance appointments will not be needed.

Fakenham Mayor George Acheson called the changes a “further erosion of local policing” and said that the closure of the enquiry office risks distancing officers from the community.

Fakenham Police Station. Picture: Ian Burt Fakenham Police Station. Picture: Ian Burt

The police say want to ensure the changes do not have a major impact. Chief Inspector and Breckland Commander, Paul Wheatley, said neighbourhood policing will remain a top priority.

“I want to reassure people we are not moving away from low level antisocial behaviour, which causes so much tension in communities,” he said. “We will lose 15 PCSOs but as a district we will gain 14 PCs and four sergeants. We will ensure we have community police officers in each town and a neighbourhood policing team.”

Inspector Edward Brown, policing commander at Fakenham, said he is also looking at ways to ensure police remain accessible to the community.

“Visibility of our officers is a key part of the police and crime plan and part of my role is to ensure that the officers we do have are deployed effectively to make their presence felt positively within the community to reduce the fear of crime,” he said.

Other news

27 minutes ago

A new Co-op food store and a care village could be built on the old station yard site in Reepham.

One of the country’s largest unions is today welcoming a Parliamentary debate which aims to shine a spotlight on plans to close a training board’s Norfolk head office.

42 minutes ago

Surfin’ USA, Another Brick In The Wall and Take On Me were just some of the classic hits being sung at a Shipdham primary school’s end of year concert.

43 minutes ago

A genteel Norfolk flower show erupted into chaos when a car ploughed through a marquee, injuring stallholders who feared it was a terrorist attack.

Most Read

Thousands of people are expected to visit Fakenham for the annual Harley Davidson Owner’s Group (HOG) rally next week.

Read more
Yesterday, 15:04

Sparkly dresses, smart suits, flashy cars and even a helicopter were on show as the Alderman Peel High School in Wells celebrated their year 11 prom.

Read more
Alastair Ogle
Yesterday, 07:09

A man is due to appear in court after being charged with a public order offence.

Read more
Norfolk Police

Two Swaffham police officers who risked their lives to pull a severely injured driver to safety from his wrecked car are to receive top national bravery honours.

Read more

One of the country’s largest unions is today welcoming a Parliamentary debate which aims to shine a spotlight on plans to close a training board’s Norfolk head office.

Read more
United Kingdom

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 22°C

min temp: 16°C

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Fakenham and Wells Times e-edition today
E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Fakenham and Wells Times weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy