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Villagers hit out at police response

PUBLISHED: 01:32 05 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:37 03 March 2010

VILLAGERS have criticised police officers for taking too long to respond to a suspected knife attack and have taken their protests to the chief constable.

VILLAGERS have criticised police officers for taking too long to respond to a suspected knife attack and have taken their protests to the chief constable.

Parish councillors from Great Finborough, near Stowmarket, have written to both the local police commander and the Suffolk's Chief Constable Paul Scott-Lee expressing their concern following the late night attack.

Villagers claim the police took 30 minutes to respond to an assault, despite having the sector's police station based just three miles away in Stowmarket.

They are also worried at an apparent lack of police cover in the village at night-time, after an early morning car theft on one of the estates.

In an article in this month's village newsletter Great Finborough residents are informed of their parish council's concerns.

"Early morning car thefts in Middlefield Drive and a late-night assault at the other end of the village, promptly reported, produced response times of 40 minutes and 30 minutes respectively," the article says.

"The parish council did not think this was good enough and agreed to protest in writing to the local commander, copied to the chief constable.

"If, as seems to be the case, the area is inadequately covered at night, we should know that and have an opportunity to press for greater resources.''

Parish council chairman Peter Labdon said they are uneasy with police response times during recent weeks and wants to know that the force has "sufficient resources to respond to emergencies that arise.''

Despite the criticisms Inspector Ivan Smith has reassured people that while his Mid Suffolk sector is a large area it is adequately covered by police at night.

He described the call to report the assault as "confusing" and there were also reports of a knife and he said officers do not simply "charge in'' in such situations.

Insp Smith also defended the force's actions in the case of the car theft and said while people who reported the incident may have thought officers were not responding, the incident was being dealt with elsewhere and the suspects were pursued by the police helicopter.

"It might be that we have an apology to make, but looking at this it looks like we gave a measured response because of the circumstances," he said.

"There is adequate cover at night. Mid Suffolk is a huge area, but they can be assured there is adequate cover.''

Wendy Kerr, police spokeswoman, added that a 39-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the assault in High Road, Great Finborough, on Saturday, September 15, between 9.30pm and 10pm.

She declined to give further details of the victim, but said the arrested man is due to answer police bail later this month. No charges have been brought.

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