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Have you seen a bobby on the beat in Ipswich?

PUBLISHED: 09:56 28 December 2017 | UPDATED: 09:58 28 December 2017

Instances of inappropriate behaviour by staff at Suffolk police over the last three years have emerged  but not all have resulted in any action being taken. Picture: JOE GIDDENS/PA WIRE

Instances of inappropriate behaviour by staff at Suffolk police over the last three years have emerged  but not all have resulted in any action being taken. Picture: JOE GIDDENS/PA WIRE

Amid a national debate today over the level of neighbourhood policing, we would like to know if you have seen a bobby on the beat in your neighbourhood in Ipswich.

New national research suggests that nearly half of people in England and Wales have not seen a uniformed police or community support officer on foot in their area in the last year.

A large-scale survey indicates that the bobby on the beat is a rare sight for a rising percentage of the population.

The survey of 12,662 people was carried out by Ipsos MORI for HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) to gauge perceptions of crime, safety and local policing.

A report detailing the findings said: “Regular local uniformed police presence remains important for participants.

“However, as in previous years, the proportion who are satisfied with the level of local uniformed police presence is far lower than the proportion who are dissatisfied (24% vs 41%).”

The inspectorate has previously raised concerns over the impacts of an “erosion” of neighbourhood policing.

Andy Fittes, General Secretary of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “The findings of the survey are disappointing but come as no surprise.

“There is no getting away from the fact that we simply do not have the resources to patrol as we once would have done.

“Police chiefs are having to make tough choices and to prioritise things like terrorism and public order events and ensure that the critical incidents such as responding to 999 calls are dealt with.

“All these have to take priority over walking the beat and carrying out the sort of proactive policing that the public wants.”

But Richard Garside, Director of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, said cuts to police officer numbers have resulted in a reduction in unnecessary patrols.

He said: “Mere visibility is not a useful measure of effective and accountable policing.”

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