Police look to engage with communities online and with days of action after loss of PCSOs
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Police in Norwich will reach out to communities through social media and weekly action days after the loss of PCSOs in the county.
The city team lost 27 community support officers under the Norfolk 2020 restructure last April.
But Norwich commander Supt Terry Lordan says he now has all his warranted officers 'embedded' in communities and ready to react to community concerns.
He said the challenge for the next 12 months is to 'get communities more engaged'.
Safer Neighbourhood Action Panel (SNAP) meetings have been revived in the districts, but Supt Lordan said public meetings are not enough.
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'If you hold a community meeting you will get minimal people turn up,' he said. 'I want to start looking at Facebook and Whatsapp to get communities more engaged.
'Once a week now we have a number of dedicated beat managers across the district having community action days in various locations.
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'That might be enforcement or warrants, but it is also an opportunity to reach out to local communities and do a leaflet drop to let people know what we have been doing in an area.
'It is about how do we get communities more engaged with social media using new technologies. With community action days we will see gazebos going up which could be used as a base for joint working in and around that area.'
Two community action days have taken place in the last fortnight. At Suffolk Square on April 4 five arrests were made.
And on Thursday more than a dozen officers carried out patrols of north Norwich.
The action day saw officers deployed to the Mile Cross estate, parts of Catton Grove and the silver triangle area on Thursday evening (April 18).
Police also erected a gazebo on Bowers Avenue for people to speak directly with officers about any concerns they have in the area.
The patrols were carried out following reports of drug dealing, groups of youths causing trouble and uninsured motorbikes being driven across parks and pavements.
PC James Marrison, who was involved in coordinating the patrols, said: 'We want to get the message out there that we are taking these reports seriously and we are here to help.
'Our focus for the night is to deter anti-social behaviour, especially in the Gresham Road area.'
As officers conducted foot patrols on the Mile Cross estate members of the public remarked how it was good to see police in the area.
A group of young teenagers were seen on Gresham Road, but they moved on peacefully as police approached.
Fourteen beat managers from across Norwich took part in the 'action day' on Thursday evening.
PC Marrison said the high visibility patrols will be carried out every week across different parts of the city.
'It is not just about enforcement, it is understanding those key areas and looking for solutions,' said Supt Lordan.
'I want to have a very good read of any area where people have a fear of crime or anti-social behaviour. If they do not want to turn up to a meeting there are means for them to communicate with us.'
Supt Lordan added the boost in beat managers has bourne good results, with 80pc more weapon seizures.
'In the last 12 months half a million pounds worth of drugs have been taken off the streets in Norwich and we have seen a significant increase in proactive warrants based on community information,' he said.
'The Moonshot City team has made 207 arrests in Norwich from November to today. 120 vehicles have been seized, with £30,000 of drugs recovered and £43,000 in cash and assets seized.'