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Keep town in Suffolk - chief

PUBLISHED: 11:42 24 December 2008 | UPDATED: 22:06 05 July 2010

Suffolk's top policeman said this week that he was "passionate" about keeping Lowestoft within Suffolk.

Chief constable Simon Ash (left) told The Journal that, with the out-come of the review of local democracy likely to be announced in the New Year, he remained adamant it was vital that Lowestoft stayed as part of the county.

Suffolk's top policeman said this week that he was “passionate” about keeping Lowestoft within Suffolk.

Chief constable Simon Ash told The Journal that, with the out-come of the review of local democracy likely to be announced in the New Year, he remained adamant it was vital that Lowestoft stayed as part of the county.

He also said that more collaborative partnership working with neighbouring Norfolk Constabulary next year was “not a prelude” to a super-force merger.

Mr Ash, who has been in the top job for 18 months, hailed the introduction and impact of safer neighbourhood teams and told how this had led to more bobbies on the beat.

Having hit Lowestoft streets last Wednesday to hand out leaflets and highlight the new national Policing Pledge that Suffolk Constabulary had signed up to, the chief said he believed frontline policing needed to be local in its nature.

“The message I want to point out is very much focused on the safer neighbourhood concept,” he said.

“I want the local public to identify with their local PCSO (police community support officer) and police officer, and my ambition in developing safer neighbourhoods is to greatly increase the capacity of teams.”

Mr Ash said that in recent weeks the first batch of “match-funded” PCSOs had taken to the streets across Suffolk, the nearest being at Aldeburgh, and he saw potential for this in Lowestoft.

The match-funding scheme has seen 20 new officers appearing on the beat after funding was received from other sources to double the amount originally set aside by Suffolk Police Authority.

“The neighbourhood network is currently strong in Suffolk, but we want to expand that even further,” the chief said. “The feedback we received from a series of public meetings held across the county this year, which was attended by just under 500 people, was that 86 to 89pc of people felt either fairly or very safe in their community.”

Another key issue was neighbourhood safety, with a visible police presence high on the agenda of local people. “A visible policing presence in communities is valued, and what we are seeing is the PCSO as a point of contact locally is having an impact with reducing lower-level anti-social behaviour issues,” he said.

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