Concerns over bobbies on the beat issue in Suffolk stepped up ahead of crunch talks

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore is looking into measures that will aid public rea

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore is looking into measures that will aid public reassurance over police visibility. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Fears over the lack of bobbies on the beat in rural Suffolk have been escalated, with one community leader suggesting there are no boots on the ground in her ward.

Growing concerns about frontline policing are up for discussion at tomorrow’s police and crime panel meeting, hosted by crime commissioner Tim Passmore.

A frustrated councillor representing Barningham ward at St Edmundsbury Borough Council has gone as far as to claim there is no visible police cover in her area whatsoever.

In a report prepared for the meeting, Carol Bull said: “My ward is very rural and police visibility is very simple. There is none.”

Patricia O’Brien, Suffolk county councillor for Martlesham and Suffolk Police and Crime Panel chairman, said in Kirton and Falkenham there had been 52 recorded crimes over the last two years. However, crime figures showed there had not been a single person cautioned or arrested for any of those offences.

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Diana Kearsley, Mid Suffolk district councillor for Gislingham said frontline policing should be an integral part of the service and added: “With regret most people in this area have seen little or no police visibility.

“Whilst it is appreciated that modern crime such as on line fraud, cybercrime and telephone scamming have led to fewer police patrols, these are still deemed to be an essential part of policing, and visible policing should be an integral part of the service that is paid for and as such should be both expected and provided.”

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Recent police figures revealed there had been more than a 10% rise in 999 calls for police in the last 12 months compared to the average of the last three years, placing an additional strain on resources.

Mr Passmore said: “The role of the police and crime panel is to support and challenge the work of the PCC and it is absolutely right that the panel should raise the issue of visible policing as it is a question that is raised often in my public meetings and mail bag.

“The pattern of crime is changing and the challenge for the constabulary is to deal with the complexity of crime which occurs behind closed doors and balance that with the public reassurance of seeing officers on our streets.”

He encouraged residents to attend the meeting at West Suffolk House, in Western Way, Bury St Edmunds from 10.30am.

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