Tag Archives: police

Police Cuts for Woodbridge

Police cuts in Suffolk: we’ve heard the headlines. A ‘re-design’ of the force to save £20m will lose police officer, PCSO and civilian posts.  Having talked to local officers it seems that the Woodbridge and District policing scenario will change – and not for the better. As follows:

From 1 April, the Woodbridge and District  SNT will be reduced to  a Sergeant, one or maybe two Police Officers and three PCSOs.  Currently there is a Sergeant,  three Police Officers and seven PCSOs.   So thats about half the current staffing levels. (There is a possibility for Woodbridge to keep a match-funded  PCSO, but  it seems as if – match funding or otherwise – they will only be able to concentrate on what have been agreed as Suffolk-wide police priorities. Parking is not one of them!)

The SNT  will remain in the new building so recently opened  at the fire station in Theatre Street, Woodbridge.

However, I am appalled to discover that – although the relocation was ‘sold’ to the community and to their county councillor and  the premises built specifically as a ‘convenient public access location’ which was only opened on 20 May 2015-  it will no longer be a public access location!

(‘Better access for the public’ was one of the key benefits of the move – see my blog entry on the subject – June 14. This is the reason that the move from the old police station site got my support.   I have not been officially told about this change of use – and my calls on the subject have not yet been returned. Presumably those at the top are embarrassed?)

Our only public access  to Suffolk police will be  at the three main police stations (Ipswich, Bury and Lowestoft), although there will be ‘intercoms’ to police headquarters to use at the front doors of other buildings . One hates to point it out, but this is  ab-so-lut-ely no different to phoning the police from your home or from your mobile . (Indeed it would seem rather less useful than a loud scream for help).

And what you do if you lose something valuable or find something valuable I cannot imagine.  These are not in the PCC’s priorities either!

Our reduced SNT will not be covering the same area – oh no. It will be covering an increased number of parishes – about 40 in total ,  including  Martlesham and the villages to the north of Ipswich (Tuddenham, Westerfield, Playford etc).

Responding police officers (Neighbourhood Response Teams (NRT), for this area will be based at Police Headquarters. However, as well as covering the Woodbridge, Felixstowe, Martlesham and Kesgrave areas they will also have to police East Ipswich.

“Chances of seeing a policeman in a car will become vanishingly small,” I was told.

PCSOs within SNTs will no longer work past 6pm.  Only the police officers will work evening shifts as per their shift pattern.  NRTs will of course work 24 hours.

What’s been happening May-June 2014

FIrebreakers1 (1024x692)Proposed Woodbridge Fire and Police station merger  Woodbridge residents were invited to a drop in session on Thursday to view proposals to extend and merge the existing fire station with the police station. Plans and information were unveiled at the event and representatives from both services –  together with myself – were on hand to discuss the proposals.

Suffolk already has four shared stations at Ixworth, Elmswell, Debenham and Framlingham. The aim of the Woodbridge plans is for the services  to become even more cost effective, allowing the services to work much more closely together .The funding for the Woodbridge project will be shared between the two services and it is hoped that the government will provide grant funding for the building works

Although there were concerns – mainly about parking and increased transport – response to the consultation was broadly favourable.

The design includes:

  • An extension to the front of the fire station, which would provide new office accommodation for Suffolk Constabulary.
  • Provision for five new car parking spaces for police use and cycle parking to the rear of the site.
  • A new garage to the rear of the station to accommodate an emergency vehicle, and
  • Much improved facilities for staff and the community and better access for the public

If approved, the work would commence in summer 2014 and will be completed for March 2015. There would be no disruption to fire and police services during the building works

People can continue to provide feedback via email: Fire.BusinessSupport@suffolk.gov.uk, quoting ‘Woodbridge Consultation’.

End of CSD – Customer Service Direct  On 1 June SCC moved CSD – Customer Service Direct – back in-house.  CSD,  in which BT had a majority stake alongside the county and Mid Suffolk councils, handled SCC’s  financial administration, IT, and personnel functions. The councils’ call centres were also operated by CSD

The cost of the contract was initially £301 million, but this increased to £427 million over 10 years as more functions were added to the service.

A hard lesson has been learned here. Proof, if proof was needed, that outsourcing services doesn’t always make savings and is not always best.

The PCC – and Thoroughfare Parking  At the Suffolk County Council AGM in May, the Police and Crime Commissioner  Tim Passmore presented details of his year, saying “ My role is to ensure the policing needs of our communities are met as effectively as possible, bringing communities closer to the police and building confidence in the system. My job is to listen and respond to the needs of the people of Suffolk; bringing more of a public voice to policing.  If you have an issue that you would like to raise, please contact me via the website, www.suffolk-pcc.gov.uk or call 01473 782777 .”

I took him at his word, and, meeting him shortly afterwards I raised the issue of police enforcement of parking in the Woodbridge Thoroughfare. He promised to look into this urgently.

Suffolk Reading Scheme This year’s reading scheme will be on the theme of the Mysterious Maze. As ever, the Woodbridge Library is on the lookout for volunteers to help local children read their books over the summer holidays.

Suffolk Records Office consultation  Suffolk County Council received over 500 responses to a recent consultation to improve Suffolk Records Office opening hours.

The consultation was on proposals to reducing weekday opening hours, improving the service on a Saturday and developing a key online presence.66% of respondents felt the proposals would bring a positive improvement to the service.

There was a majority of support for closing the office one day a week to allow improvements to the online accessibility of information and digitised materials. Respondents also showed great support for an improved Saturday service and later opening times, although some felt not opening until 10am was too late. In consequence SCC will bev blooking to open each  record office branch for 35 hours a week: 9.30am – 4.30pm, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Let’s Look Out for Each Other Cycle-Drive campaign   SCC has launched Let’s Look Out for Each Other  – an educational campaign that encourages both cyclists and drivers to share Suffolk’s roads. Each week approximately four cyclists are injured in Suffolk with almost three cyclists killed or seriously injured every month.

4% of adults in Suffolk cycle at least five times a week – as opposed to the national average of 3%; and 20% of adults in Suffolk cycle at least once a month -5% above the national average of 15%

Driver error has been attributed to 68% of all collisions in Suffolk.  In 77% of cyclist casualties at or at or near a junction, the cyclist have not been culpable; however, in 2 of the 3 recently recorded fatalities the cyclist was at fault.

Roadsafe top tips for drivers and cyclists when using the road are:

Cycling:

  1. Ride positively, decisively and well clear of the kerb – look and signal to show drivers what you plan to do and make eye contact where possible so you know drivers have seen you
  2. Avoid riding up the inside of large vehicles, like lorries or buses, where you might not be seen
  3. Always use lights after dark or when visibility is poor
  4. Wearing light coloured or reflective clothing during the day and reflective clothing and/or accessories in the dark increases your visibility

Driving:

  1. Look out for cyclists, especially when turning – make eye contact if possible so they know you’ve seen them
  2. Use your indicators – signal your intentions so that cyclists can react
  3. Give cyclists space – If there isn’t sufficient space to pass, hold back. Remember that cyclists may need to manoeuvre suddenly if the road is poor, it’s windy or if a car door is opened
  4. Always check for cyclists when you open your car door
  5. Avoid driving over advanced stop lines – these allow cyclists to get to the front and increase their visibility

Further information can be found  at http://www.suffolkroadsafe.net/cyclists/ or http://www.suffolkroadsafe.net/drivers/

County Councillor’s Surgery  My surgery dates for the next few months are:  Saturday 21 June, and Saturday 19 July. There will be no surgery in August. Surgeries are at Woodbridge Library 10-12 as ever. All welcome

 

Police? Not an emergency? Dial 101!

New Non Emergency Telephone Number for Suffolk Constabulary

101

the non-emergency police number

Suffolk Constabulary have  a new Non-Emergency number which you can ring at any time of day and night. When you need to contact the police, but a 999 call is not appropriate, dial 101.

101 can be used by both mobiles and land-lines.

Dialling 101 will get you through to your nearest police station. The number will shortly be usable throughout the whole of the UK.  This means that if you dial 101 in Woodbridge,  you get through to the Martlesham station, but if you were in  Devon and needed non-emergency contact with the police, the same number 101 would get you through to their nearest police station.

Each call will cost 15 pence regardless of time of day or length of call