Armed police on our streets

ARMED police officers regularly patrol a Suffolk town as part of security measures to protect nuclear power stations from terrorist attacks, it has been revealed.

By David Lennard

ARMED police officers regularly patrol a Suffolk town as part of security measures to protect nuclear power stations from terrorist attacks, it has been revealed.

Officers from the Civil Nuclear Constabulary are known to patrol the perimeter of the Sizewell A and B power stations on the coast, but they have confirmed that also extends to nearby Leiston.

The news has sparked a mixed reaction, with some people voicing concerns about their presence in the town at a meeting of Leiston-cum-Sizewell Town Council.

Sgt Ambrose Killen, of the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, confirmed: “We are based at Sizewell in a counter-terrorism role and our vehicle patrols cover a five kilometre radius from the power stations that includes Leiston.

“For the majority of the time we are close to the perimeter of the power stations but we also carry out patrols further afield although we are always ready to respond to any emergency at Sizewell.”

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Long-standing Leiston councillor Colin Ginger said he was concerned armed patrols were being carried out in the town by officers who were not members of Suffolk Constabulary.

“I believe it is a concern to residents of Leiston who will not be aware that this is happening and I believe it should be brought to the public's attention,” he said.

But other town councillors welcomed their presence. John Geater said: “I cannot share Mr Ginger's concern in this matter. I believe we are fortunate to have these extra patrols that other towns in Suffolk do not have and it should make us all sleep easier in our beds at night.”

Mr Killen said all armed officers with the Civil Nuclear Constabulary were trained to the same “exacting high standards” of any other police force in the country.

He invited members of the public with concerns to contact the town council and he would do his best to respond to their concerns.

Residents at the meeting said the presence of armed officers in the coastal hamlet was “reassuring” and there was a good relationship between members of the Civil Nuclear Constabulary and local people.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk police confirmed the Civil Nuclear Constabulary worked within a five-kilometre radius of Sizewell under the jurisdiction of the county's chief constable.

n Leiston, along with neighbouring towns of Framlingham, Saxmundham and Aldeburgh, is looking into the possibility of installing CCTV cameras as a crime prevention measure.

Colin Ginger told councillors that proposals were still being considered following a meeting with representatives of all four towns. He said Leiston would probably need six cameras at a cost of £9,000 each and that it is likely to cost in the region of £1,000 a year to run them.

While discussions are still taking place and no commitment has been made town councillor Joan Girling said she believed the cost to council tax payers would be too high and that the crime rate in Leiston did not justify that kind of expenditure.

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