Thetford police enquiry office to reopen after trial closure

Thetford Police Station.PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Thetford Police Station.PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

A police station is preparing to reopen its doors following a four-month closure.

The public enquiry office at Thetford police station closed in September as part of a trial by Norfolk Police to relocate its information services.

For the trial period staff in Thetford's library handled police enquiries, assisting the public with self-reporting forms and online enquiries.

On Monday the force announced the police station on Norwich Road will be reopening at 9am on Tuesday, January 3, with £full front counter services'. Police service provision at the library will stop at 1pm on Saturday, December 31.

A spokesperson for Norfolk Police said: 'A full review of the pilot will commence on January 3 and once the review has been completed, results will be presented to chief officers and Norfolk County Council for a decision.

'We are keen to retain a public enquiry service, despite facing further significant budget reductions to funding, and it is important to note that no decisions will be made until the funding position from government is clear and precept decisions have been made by the police and crime commissioner. This is unlikely to be before March 2017.'

Library manager Kaleigh Garrod said, on average, the enquiries at the library had led to one reportable crime a day – the same average achieved by the police enquiry office.

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She said reactions from the public to the services' relocation had been a 'mixed bag'.

'We have had some really good comments about things we have been able to resolve, and then we have had some more negative things too.

'For the staff here, there have been some situations where we have been able to help people in a different way to what the police may have been able to do, and we have had other incidents where we have not been able to help as much as we would like, although this has been infrequent.

'Because none of us are trained police staff there are some services we have not been able to offer.'

'People feel very strongly about this and I do not think that has changed.'

Ms Garrod said the county council and police would go through 'a period of review' before any decisions about the future of the service were made, adding that she expected the service to 'evolve into something different'.

'It was the first pilot in Norfolk and it will be interesting to see where they take it from here. It is important for the public to give us their views.'

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