Police minister praises community effort

IPSWICH: Neighbourhood policing is vital in the battle to keep communities safe - that was the message from the policing minister during a visit to the town yesterday.

IPSWICH: Neighbourhood policing is vital in the battle to keep communities safe - that was the message from the policing minister during a visit to the town yesterday.

And David Hanson insisted there would be no forced merger between Suffolk and other police forces.

During his visit to the Triangle Estate, the minister met shopkeepers in Dickens Road and community representatives as well as members of the safer neighbourhood team in South West Ipswich, which he said had made a major impact on crime reduction. “We are determined to ensure police forces are working hard to deal with the crime and anti-social behaviour issues that matter most to communities.

“It is really important that people have the confidence to play their part by reporting crime when they see it. Neighbourhood policing teams are leading the way in making sure this happens.”

Suggestions that super police forces are needed both to improve efficiency and reduce overheads are being dismissed by ministers, who say there will be no pressure on police authorities to create regional constabularies.

Mr Hanson dismissed suggestions that Suffolk would join a super force covering Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire.

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“If local police authorities and chief constables wish to merge, we will not stand in the way,” said Mr Hanson. “There is �500,000 set aside to help facilitate proposals - but I can give you a cast iron guarantee that we will not force the issue.”

He played down warnings from the Suffolk police federation that front line services in the county were at risk because of a lack of funding and said it was up to the chief constable and the police authority to manage the government's 2.5per cent increase.

He said: “Policing will not be affected next year.”