The level of policing in the Reepham district will be maintained at the current level, according to a senior officer of Norfolk Constabulary.
Despite the cuts announced by Chief Constable Simon Bailey in October, which include the loss of all 150 Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and the closure of several police stations across the county, Inspector Brian Sweeney, area commander for Aylsham, has assured there will be no reduction in the level of local policing.
Insp Sweeney gave high praise to local PCSO Stephen Bridges, who is likely to be made redundant in March 2018 as a result of the police budget cuts.
Many residents believe his local knowledge has been very important for Reepham and nearby villages and are keen that this will be continued.
“Everyone knows Stephen,” said Insp Sweeney. “His work has been incredible over the past 10 years or so. He will be a great loss to the community – and the constabulary.”
Insp Sweeney confirmed that Reepham Police Station, which is currently based in a rented property in the Market Place, will be relocated at minimal cost to the fire station in School Road, probably after Christmas.
Other towns of the size of Reepham will not have this facility available on their doorstep, he pointed out.
Insp Sweeney indicated that PC Rob Devlin, the new beat manager for Reepham and surrounding villages, is keen to become involved in the community where his family had lived and may hold a “surgery” at the fire station premises or at other locations across the district.
Residents will still have the same level of policing from local officers, said Insp Sweeney.
He added that a Safer Neighbourhood Team sergeant, a new role, will oversee all four beat managers across the region and patrol officers will continue to operate out of Aylsham. “So there will be no reduction in local policing.
“Over the past 18 months there have only been three PCSOs across the whole district, compared with 12 six years ago when I took over at Aylsham. My assurance is that I will try to make this [new arrangement] work.”
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