The familiar face helping to keep Cromer crime low

PC Barrie Cressswell talking to members of the community while on the beat in Cromer. PIC: Peter Wal

PC Barrie Cressswell talking to members of the community while on the beat in Cromer. PIC: Peter Walsh - Credit: Archant

Dixon of Dock Green, a character in the hit BBC show which first aired more than 60 years ago, was to many people the embodiment of a typical community bobby.

PC Barrie Cresswell meeting older people in Cromer. PIC: Peter Walsh

PC Barrie Cresswell meeting older people in Cromer. PIC: Peter Walsh - Credit: Archant

That rose-tinted image, like the series, has ended in many Norfolk towns and villages as our ever decreasing thin blue line gets smaller still in the wake of budget cuts which now threaten PCSOs.

But Cromer seems to be bucking the trend, with visible policing a key focus for PC Barrie Cresswell, beat manager, who has become a familiar face in the town over the past nine years.

He said: 'The biggest part of my role is engagement with the local community and all areas whether that be between young and old or people with or without disabilities.

'I think you've just got to be visible and accessible really.

PC Barrie Cresswell talking to the public while on the beat in Cromer. PIC: Peter Walsh.

PC Barrie Cresswell talking to the public while on the beat in Cromer. PIC: Peter Walsh. - Credit: Archant

'I think what people are looking for is someone they can put a name to a face.

'What I need to do as much as I can is be visible to the community so I do, when I can get out on foot in the town.

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'It's the best way to engage with people - once you're in that car you've got that barrier.

'That way my face gets known and I can build up a rapport with people and they can have trust in me and I can have trust in them and we can share information and work together to solve any problems that do occur.'

High visibility policing is a current priority in Cromer which, according to police statistics, saw 139 crimes recorded in August this year compared to 78 in June, 93 in July and 92 in September.

Ordinarily, anti-social behaviour is the biggest crime trend in Cromer, but August saw a lawless weekend, with the town put on lockdown after travellers arrived at the end of carnival week.

A total of 37 crimes, including shoplifting, theft and the rape of a teenage girl, were reported over the August 18 weekend, with criticism prompting a review into the police response.

That review found senior officers misread the traveller threat, but chief constable Simon Bailey has vowed there will be no repeat.

He said: 'We got it wrong. Plans will be put in place for next year so what happened that weekend cannot happen again.'

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