Police bosses say Pinewood will not be ‘abandoned’ after budget cuts take place

Pinewood parish councillors have concerns about rising crime numbers.

Pinewood parish councillors have concerns about rising crime numbers.

Police chiefs have assured a parish council in fear about rising crime numbers that community policing is “here to stay” despite major planned changes to how the force operates.

Acting Chief Constable Gareth Wilson and Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore.

Acting Chief Constable Gareth Wilson and Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore. - Credit: Archant

Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore and Suffolk Constabulary’s acting Chief Constable Gareth Wilson attended Pinewood Parish Council’s monthly meeting on Monday after councillors wrote a letter to Mr Passmore voicing concerns.

Council chairman Robert Manning opened the meeting by explaining that crime in the parish had increased at a significant rate in the past two to three years while the visible police presence had diminished.

He added: “Because of this escalation in crime we find it difficult to understand why police officers are concentrating on cyber crime to the detriment of more traditional crimes that are increasing.

“We no longer have a police presence at parish meetings, only on rare occasions do residents see patrolling officers and no contact is made with the parish clerk. Is it the case that neighbourhood policing is a thing of the past?”

Mr Passmore said Suffolk Constabulary needed to save £20million from its £120m budget by March 2020.

He added the constabulary was going to have to make some “difficult choices” but stressed that safer neighbourhood teams and police community support officers (PCSO) would not be eliminated in Suffolk, although they would be subject to “alterations”.

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He said Suffolk Constabulary would not be amalgamated with other forces, and an announcement about all the changes taking place would be made before Christmas.

Mr Passmore added: “Rest assured you are not going to be abandoned and I would be ashamed of myself if I stood here and said that.”

Mr Wilson reassured that Pinewood was a safe area to live and said he could not afford to send a PCSO to every council meeting but if the parish had a particular concern then something could be arranged.

He added: “Absolutely in Suffolk community policing is what it’s all about but that doesn’t mean you need to have someone visible to you 24-hours a day.”

Babergh Inspector Danny Cooper was also at the meeting and said he would try to get a member of the team to contact parish clerk Sandra Peartree on a monthly basis to discuss any crime issues arising in Pinewood.

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