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Changes to police teams in Beccles, Bungay and Halesworth come into force as part of Suffolk's policing review

Suffolk Police and Crime Commisioner Tim Passmore.

Suffolk Police and Crime Commisioner Tim Passmore.

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Major changes to the way policing services are delivered across Suffolk will come into force on Monday, with new police teams covering Beccles, Bungay, Halesworth and the surrounding villages.

The redesign was announced in December following the Suffolk Local Policing Review, which aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of local policing services.

The shake-up will see a reduction in the number of officers patrolling the streets in our market towns, with the force required to deliver savings of just under £7.5 million by 2020.

Under the new police model, Suffolk will be divided into three policing areas, each led by a superintendent, with Supt Jenny Powell responsible for the east. The areas will then be split into nine localities led by an inspector, who will be responsible for Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNTs), Emergency Response Teams and Investigative Teams within their area.

Beccles falls into the Lowestoft locality, and the Beccles Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) will also cover Bungay and 14 surrounding villages.

Before the changes the Beccles SNT was made up of one sergeant, two police constables (PCs) and seven police community support officers (PCSOs) - with one role match-funded. The new team will see one inspector, based in Lowestoft, one sergeant, two PCs and three PCSOs.

The Halesworth locality will include the Halesworth SNT covering the town and surrounding villages along with SNTs at Leiston and Eye, and a response base in Halesworth.

Before the changes Halesworth had one inspector, one sergeant, two PCs and four PCSOs. There will now be one inspector, one sergeant, one PC and three PCSOs.

As part of the review the number of SNTs has been reduced from 29 to 18, and they have been placed across the county according to demand.

The changes also include closing police station front counters leaving just three public access points in Lowestoft, Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds.

Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said: “Suffolk is a safe county and we are working hard to keep it that way. The pattern of crime is changing and policing has to change to meet these new challenges.

“I hope people are reassured that even though they may not see police officers on every street corner, there is a whole network of police officers, PCSOs and civilian staff working together to provide a 24/7 service for Suffolk.”

The SNTs will focus on vulnerability and safeguarding, community engagement, demand management and crime reduction. Officers have historically attended council meetings when they can, but will now be liaising with town and parish councils in different ways and will only attend a meeting if there is a specific issue of concern or a major incident.

Other areas which make up the work of Suffolk Constabulary include emergency response, roads policing and firearms, investigations, the control room, custody, specialist teams including a joint cyber crime unit, drugs team and child abuse investigation unit, regional, national and business support.

Chief Superintendent David Skevington, county policing commander said: “It is really important that members of the public understand the breadth of policing resources working to protect them every today.

“Our new policing model has involved the re-location of some of our teams. I want to reassure people that no matter where our teams are based, officers and staff are located to ensure that we will be there for those who need us at all times. In an emergency, our control room staff use advanced computer systems that enable them to send the closest available officer to an incident.”

Full information on the Suffolk Local Policing Review can be found at www.suffolk.police.uk or call 101 to speak to your local team.

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