Big welcome for bobbies on the beat

PUBLISHED: 07:27 14 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:00 22 October 2010

New schemes returning bobbies to the beat in Norfolk were yesterday praised for restoring public confidence in the police.

New schemes returning bobbies to the beat in Norfolk were yesterday praised for restoring public confidence in the police.

Two new neighbourhood policing teams have been introduced this month in parts of the Yarmouth area as the first in a series of community policing schemes.

The borough has been chosen as the "pathfinder" area for Norfolk police, which, along with other forces in the UK, has been tasked with improving the response to anti-social behaviour.

By the end of 2008 the government has said that an additional 24,000 police community support officers (PCSOs) will be in place, with each neighbourhood given its community team.

The first of those in Norfolk were introduced this month, in south Yarmouth and Bradwell, with more set to be rolled out in the near future.

Within a year nine teams of police officers and PCSOs, each led by a sergeant, will be in place in Yarmouth, along with seven teams in north Norfolk and three in Broadland.

Sally Rozier, who is co-ordinating the community team roll-out, said that each group would be based in a defined area, be visible and engaged with the community they serve.

She said: "The whole ethos of neighbourhood policing is to meet the needs of the community and this will mean that each team will reflect the area in which they work.

"The mantra of neighbour-hood policing is 'the right people, in the right place, in the right numbers' and this is at the forefront of the development of the teams in the eastern area."

Ms Rozier said the largest team will be in south Yarmouth, consisting of two sergeants, six police officers and 14 PCSOs, dealing with the town centre, the seafront, and some of the most run-down residential areas of the borough.

Leading that team is Sgt Nick Cheshire who has already co-ordinated a high-profile drugs raid on two houses on the Middlegate estate and warned all seafront bars of the dangers of underage drinking and over-crowded premises during the World Cup.

He said: "Public confidence has gone down and we are trying to increase it by focusing on day-to-day issues like anti-social behaviour, drinking in public and graffiti.

"The police have promised a lot but not always delivered - our team is already on first name terms with residents, and patrol officers do not always get that contact."

Yesterday the new emphasis on community policing was welcomed by John Holmes, county councillor for south Yarmouth.

"I know that in my ward the team has been received very well," he said. "People do appreciate the opportunity to link in with the neighbourhood reaction teams, to just call in and let police know about their problems.

"It seems like the police are rolling back the wheel and putting bobbies back on the beat, and I think most people will welcome that."

At the end of June new teams will be set up in Gorleston's Magdalen estate and the southern villages, and by September schemes will also be in place in Gorleston, Cobholm and Southtown, north Yarmouth, and the northern villages.

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