More than 600 report places they feel unsafe in Norfolk to police

Norfolk's newly-elected Police and Crome Commissioner, Gile Orpen-Smellie is officially sworn into t

Norfolk's newly-elected Police and Crome Commissioner, Gile Orpen-Smellie is officially sworn into the role. Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

More than 600 people have reported places where they feel unsafe in Norfolk to police, with the county's chief constable saying that has identified "hot spots" for officers to patrol.

It comes as Norfolk's police and crime commissioner said the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving police officer had contributed to a "trust gap" between public and police.

Giles Orpen-Smellie said police need to "win back the hearts and minds of the Norfolk public", as he unveiled the early version of a policing plan to help achieve that.

A co-ordinated, countywide response to violence against women and girls is among priorities in the Conservative police and crime commissioner's draft policing plan for 2022 to 2024.

Mr Orpen-Smellie said expectation and trust gaps had been created, partly due to austerity and a public perception the police had "retrenched".

He said his plan would help strike a balance between visible policing and the police's focus on tackling crime.

Speaking at a meeting of the Norfolk Police and Crime panel, Mr Orpen-Smellie said: "Public concerns were crystallised by the death of George Floyd in the United States at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer and, in this country, by the death of Sarah Everard at the hand of a Metropolitan police officer.

Undated family handout photo of Sarah Everard issued by the Crown Prosecution Service. Police office

Sarah Everard was murdered by serving Met police officer Wayne Couzens. - Credit: PA

"Both of those, together with other high profile issues of police misconduct have raised some really difficult questions about public trust in policing.

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"These questions about expectation and about trust must be answered and they will be."

He added: "We have got to win back the hearts and minds of Norfolk's public and that will take time."

Mr Orpen-Smellie pointed to projects increasing the visibility of police, including the StreetSafe scheme, where people can go online to report locations where they feel unsafe to Norfolk police.

The new temporary chief constable for Norfolk, Paul Sanford.

Norfolk chief constable Paul Sanford. - Credit: Norfolk Constabulary

Chief constable Paul Sanford said the public had sent some 600 reports and officers were patrolling areas identified.

He said: "It is starting to highlight some significant hot spots across the county.

"There are some common factors as to why people feel unsafe in those hot spots. Issues such as graffiti and street lighting are very high up on the list as to why."

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