New inspector reveals extent of 'county lines' dealing in west Suffolk
A new police inspector has set out his priorities for overseeing crime prevention and law enforcement in 53 west Suffolk parishes and nine town wards.
As locality inspector for the Bury St Edmunds area, Matt Paisley has the formidable task of managing neighbourhood policing for the town and surrounding area bordering Forest Heath, Sudbury, Haverhill and Mid Suffolk.
His 15 years' experience, since joining the force at 24, include posts in Ipswich, Capel St Mary and Hadleigh, and as Sudbury's safer neighbourhood sergeant.
Crime-fighting priorities include the 'county lines' distribution of class A drugs into Suffolk. At the last count, 18 of Suffolk's 28 county lines were thought to be running in the west.
"It's something we're not immune to in this area," he said.
"In fact, there's a strong intelligence base to suggest we face significant challenges regarding people being exploited and 'cuckooed' (dealers taking over vulnerable people's homes)."
Insp Paisley's current priorities also include a recent spate of bicycle thefts from Bury St Edmunds town centre, colleges and hospital car parks.
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His first jobs involve meeting all local response and safer neighbourhood teams.
Insp Paisley believes his relative youth in a supervisory rank will benefit engagement with staff.
"I think that shows the chief constable and senior management buy into the worth of having recent experience in those ranks I'll be overseeing," he said.
"My fundamental reason for joining the police was to be visible; to work with communities, and have an immediate impact.
"While I may have lost some visibility, I can still have an impact. I want to make sure everyone has a voice."
A Police Fed representative, Insp Paisley, who takes over from Matt Dee, realises the impact of government cuts on resources and demand, but said: "The fact is, we have what we have, and we have to serve the public.
"The best leadership is based on the welfare of staff - no matter what industry you're in.
"I'd like to think people see me as supportive, and that I recognise the areas more likely to cause officers stress. We can't eliminate the possibility of an officer being affected at some point - but we can mitigate the long-term effects.
"I believe Suffolk has a unique plan to support the health and wellbeing of its workforce."