Police chief back on front line action

Norfolk's police chief has returned to pounding the streets - and found himself caught up in the dramatic rescue of a missing woman. As part of his bid to keep in touch with the front line, chief constable Ian McPherson took to the beat in Norwich this week expecting to spend his time chatting to passers-by and gauging opinions about his force.

Norfolk's police chief has returned to pounding the streets - and found himself caught up in the dramatic rescue of a missing woman.

As part of his bid to keep in touch with the front line, chief constable Ian McPherson took to the beat in Norwich this week expecting to spend his time chatting to passers-by and gauging opinions about his force.

Instead he found himself rediscovering his roots as a bobby by helping the distressed woman. Mr McPherson was reluctant to go into details about the incident, saying he preferred to focus on the hard work done by officers on a daily basis.

But he told the EDP: “We did manage to help a young lady who found herself missing and distressed. She was manic depressive and had got herself into a bad way.


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“I talked to her, managed to calm her down and helped her get the care she needed. This is the side of policing which people often miss. It's nothing to do with law enforcement but is about being there to help a vulnerable person who just needed a little bit of help.”

Since taking up the county's top job in January, Mr McPherson has stressed the importance of community policing and is currently restructuring the force to get more uniforms on the street.

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He regularly takes to the streets to patrol with other officers to keep in touch with the issues people are worried about. “I like to put on a fluorescent jacket and go out as a normal officer,” he said.

“It's the best way to get people to speak to you and it's a great way to understand your community. I found people would come up to me for a chat and that's what policing relies upon.

“When I joined the police in the 1980s I spent my first three and a half years walking the streets and it gave me a good grounding. It helps you learn about policing but it also helps you learn how to talk to people.

“I don't think the job has changed that much since I started. The public still want us to have a presence and they still want to know that we are listening to their concerns.”

Mr McPherson, originally from Lancashire, joined his local police in 1979 and served in a variety of roles including CID, uniformed operations and public order policing up to the rank of inspector.

He has since climbed the managerial ladder before landing the Norfolk job to replace former chief Carol Howlett.

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