Closing front counters and making PCSOs redundant has helped bolster the front line in Norfolk

PCC Lorne Green on an operation with inspector for roads policing Jonathan Chapman.Picture: ANTONY K

PCC Lorne Green on an operation with inspector for roads policing Jonathan Chapman.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Money saved by closing a town's police station and making PCSOs redundant have made more resources available for front line policing, a public meeting heard tonight.

Police and crime commissioner Lorne Green and Chief Constable Simon Bailey hosted the public session at Downham Market Town Hall.

Around 30 people turned out for the meeting. They included farmer Tony Martin, who was jailed for shooting dead a 16-year-old burglar, who left mid-way through the meeting without asking any questions.

The meeting was the second in a series of Q&A events planned for this year. As it got under way, divisional commander Supt David Buckley gave an overview of operations in West Norfolk.

He said while the front counter at Downham police station had closed, the station remained open. Regular surgeries are held.

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Supt Buckley said few people visited the counter and the cost of staffing it had been reinvested into front line policing. While PCSOs have been made redundant in West Norfolk, new police officers have been recruited. Downham, Watlington and Terrington will each be getting a new beat manager.

Crime has increased in West Norfolk, with 8,603 offences recorded in the area last year, compared with 7,694 in 2016/17.

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Supt Buckley said officers had enjoyed success against ATM thefts and drug dealing. He said crime remained low in Downham.

The first question came from a woman whose family had been attacked in their own home.

'What assurance can you give me that it won't happen again,' she said.

Chief Constable Simon Bailey said he would speak to local inspector Mark Cant to ask for further details of the case.

A woman living near the newly-opened Whalebone pub asked what was being done about anti-social behaviour.

Downham Market beat manager PC Richard Allan said 14 people have been banned from the premises since it opened, police have been called nine times and there have been three arrests.

Other topics included increases to the police precept, switchboard operators not being familiar with the geography of Downham and why Mr Green wanted to take over governance of Norfolk's fire service.

The next meeting will be at Great Yarmouth on Thursday, July 5, at a venue TBA.

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