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More police jobs could go

PUBLISHED: 07:00 28 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:17 06 July 2010

More Norfolk police employees have been placed on the force's "at risk" redundancy list as bosses look to replace the current Home Watch system with a hi-tech alternative.

More Norfolk police employees have been placed on the force's "at risk" redundancy list as bosses look to replace the Home Watch system with a hi-tech alternative.

Six civilian administrators have been told their roles may go as part of the shake-up.

The news comes a week after the force said the equivalent of eight jobs would go as it slashes police station opening times.

Although the decision will cut costs, a spokesman insisted it would also improve the Home Watch scheme as a new computer system would ensure the public will be provided with more consistent and relevant crime warnings.

Head of news Harry Mitchell said: "We have designed a new Home Watch model that puts the public first. We will be letting residents know about crime where they live, issuing crime prevention advice and letting them know what the police and our partners are doing to improve the quality of life in their neighbourhoods.

"We will be embedding Home Watch into Norfolk's 52 Safer Neighbourhoods to ensure the issues and concerns of members are listened to and acted upon."

The new £80,000 system is capable of delivering messages to the entire population of Norfolk. It can distinguish between different types of people so that the force can issue warnings targeted at specific groups - for example, an issue affecting

the Polish community or older residents.

Mr Mitchell said that in the past alerts issued through Home Watch had varied in quality and could be inconsistent depending on which areas they referred to.

Communications officers will oversee the "intelligence-led" system in order to reduce duplication between their work and that of the administrators.

A working party has been set up to help Home Watch volunteers understand the changes. There are 5,500 Home Watch co-ordinators across the county.

John Bebbington, chairman of Norfolk Home Watch Association, said: "The new model is about giving more information to the public and empowering residents to make their neighbourhoods a safer place in which to live.

"We are working closely with the constabulary to ensure existing watch schemes are maintained and developed. We will also provide the necessary support to the constabulary in setting up new schemes in the county."

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