She is the first female inspector ever to lead a team of police officers in Hunstanton and the first in West Norfolk for more than 25 years.

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But that’s not something Debbie Gunnill was particularly worried about when she took over the running of the Hunstanton team on Tuesday.

She previously worked at Norfolk Police’s Vulnerable People Directorate based at Swaffham and took over the coastal patch from Insp Dave Buckley.

“I couldn’t believe it when I heard that statistic, but it doesn’t make any difference if I am a female or a male,” she said.

“Perhaps I will be able to bring a different perspective to this role.”

Christmas won’t be the same this year for Insp Gunnill, either, as the royal estate at Sandringham falls within the coastal patch.

That means the local officers work closely with the Royal Protection Squad during the Queen’s annual Norfolk break.

Insp Gunnill continued: “I am really pleased to move over here because this is something very different to the role I had before with the Vulnerable People Directorate.

“I’ve not done uniform for a number of years and although I’m still finding my feet I am keen to get out there and meet the local community.

“I want to be told what the issues are in this area and then I will work with my team to ensure we resolve them.”

She later added: “I know the area reasonably well because I was a dog handler for a number of years and used to cover this area, as well as events at Sandringham.”

The patch now under Insp Gunnill’s command goes to a mile outside Fakenham, a mile outside Swaffham at Castle Acre and half-a-mile outside King’s Lynn in Castle Rising.

She will be leading a team of 19 PCs, nine PCSOs, four sergeants, a front office clerk and a cleaner.

Insp Gunnill, who has been an officer for more than two decades, added: “Although I only just started, I know there is a great team and Dave Buckley did a great job here.”

Insp Buckley led the coastal patch team for five years and has now moved to a new role within the Breckland area.

The 32-year-old told the EDP earlier this week that he would miss policing the area he had grown to know so well.

He also said he had wanted to make a difference when he first arrived in the patch and felt that he would be leaving it having achieved his aims.

Insp Buckley previously served at the county headquarters in Wymondham and at Swaffham.

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