Policing in Haverhill will be more targeted under the new structure introduced following the Suffolk Local Policing Review conducted to find budget savings of £7.5 million up to 2020.
As part of the review Haverhill has been merged with Sudbury to form one of nine policing localities across the county.
At a ‘meet your locality inspector’ event at Samuel Ward Academy last Wednesday (20), the officer now heading the Haverhill and Sudbury division, Inspector Danny Cooper, summed up how the new-look structure will work.
The response team in Haverhill will continue to have one sergeant and four constables per shift, as it did pre-review, and provide 24 hour cover, while the SNT now has one sergeant, three PCs (where it previously had six) and three PCSO’s; although that number will rise back to the previous levels of six, one of which will be match-funded and based at Samuel Ward Academy.
Insp Cooper said: “We will be recruiting three extra PCSO’s. The head office has authorised the recruitment of more PCSOs.”
The SNT will focus on four main areas, added Insp Cooper: Vulnerable groups; Community engagement (schools and youth engagement, speed watches etc); Demand management, including mental health, anti-social behaviour and licensing: Crime reduction.
Insp Cooper added: “Our patrols will be much more targeted so you won’t see so many officers driving around in their cars, what we want is for them to target areas according to the analytical data presented to them.”
Working in this way has already seen response officers making more effective use of their time, he emphasised.
Tackling the selling and use of illegal drugs is still a main priority for the police, added Insp Cooper, but Haverhill will no longer have any public priority setting meetings, instead ways of engaging more with the public are being sought, for example the wider use of social media to see what issues people are most concerned about.
The Police will also no longer be sending a representative to every town and parish council meeting, but will instead prioritise when to attend according to what issues are raised by each particular council.
In terms of parking offences, officers will prioritise dealing with parking that is dangerous, such as near schools and where it affects other road users, but in general terms the Force wants to decriminalise parking enforcement to the local authorities.
Reported crimes are also now being processed through an Incident and Crime Management Hub in the Suffolk Police headquarters at Martlesham, which directs the appropriate teams to handle each crime.
The front desk at Haverhill has now been closed to the public and that will remain the case, said Insp Cooper, who added: “Something has to give when you lose a certain amount of your budget.
“If we had left those police stations desks open with staff in them, ultimately something else would have to go.
“As a local inspector, I can’t change that. I can’t re-open our front desk and put people in it.”