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Lack of beat bobbies causing concern

PUBLISHED: 23:59 20 December 2002 | UPDATED: 13:14 03 March 2010

VILLAGERS in parts of Suffolk have voiced their concern at the lack of beat bobbies patrolling rural areas.

They claimed some community police officers were forced to cover more than a dozen villages each, leaving villagers' homes more exposed to criminals.

VILLAGERS in parts of Suffolk have voiced their concern at the lack of beat bobbies patrolling rural areas.

They claimed some community police officers were forced to cover more than a dozen villages each, leaving villagers' homes more exposed to criminals.

In February 2001, members of Suffolk Police Authority voted unanimously in favour of a rise in the annual council tax bill to finance the extra police officers requested by former Suffolk Chief Constable Paul Scott-Lee.

The rise meant an extra 100 beat bobbies could be put on Suffolk's streets over a three-year period.

Lyn Gurling, chairman of Lavenham Parish Council, said: "We paid extra council tax last year so we had more police officers and they are supposed to be in the pipeline, but I think they have been distributed in the towns.

"We do not have enough police presence in the village during the daytime. Our rural community police officer has got 13 villages to look after."

Acting Inspector Geoff Nunn said the long-term aim for Lavenham was to have two community police officers covering the village.

He added the village's present bobby was supported by response officers who attended incidents in the village when needed.

County councillor Jeremy Pembroke decided to take the issue of beat bobbies to Deputy Chief Constable Gillian Parker after hearing concerns by villagers in Boxford.

Inspector Lincoln Pratt, whose Hadleigh sector includes Boxford, said there had been a slight gap between the village's former beat bobby leaving and a new officer starting.

But he pointed out the community beat bobby attended parish councils meetings at least once a month and provided a written report.

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