Seven of Norfolk Constabulary’s Public Enquiry Offices (PEOs) will close as part of plans for future policing in the county.
This follows the most extensive review of the service in the force’s history leading to a new model fit for 21st century policing based on the changing nature of crime and future financial challenges.
An in-depth review into how frequently members of the public visit the PEOs found a drop in use and in addition that the majority of the demands of the footfall attending could be met elsewhere.
As part of the savings required owing to reductions in the Constabulary budget, the decision was taken by Chief Officers to close the PEOs achieving £320,000 worth of savings. The PEOs will officially close on 31 March 2018. However, all will remain open as operational bases for police officers and staff.
Great Yarmouth, King’s Lynn and Norwich (Bethel Street) PEOs will remain open. Their opening hours from 1 April 2018 are:
- Mon – Wed: 9am – 5pm
- Thurs – Sat: 9am – 6pm
- Sun: Closed
Engagement surgeries will also be held on a regular basis across the county providing opportunities for residents to meet their local officers face to face.
These will be based at police stations in the following locations:
- Cromer, alternating with North Walsham – Wednesday: 1pm – 3pm
- Dereham biweekly – Tuesday: 12pm – 2pm
- Diss – Friday 10am – 12pm
- Downham Market – Thursday: 11am -1pm
- Fakenham – Wednesday: 1pm – 3pm
- Hunstanton – Wednesday: 11am – 1pm
- North Walsham, alternating with Cromer – Wednesday 1pm – 3pm
- Thetford everyTuesday 12pm – 2pm
The closure of PEOs affects 26 members of staff who were put at risk when the new model was announced in October. As always, the Constabulary will seek to keep redundancies to a minimum and the remaining roles are ring-fenced for the affected staff.
Deputy Chief Constable Nick Dean said: “As part of the 2020 review, we were required to look at the entire policing model including our Public Enquiry Offices.
“Traditionally, our PEOs have provided a key contact point for our communities. However, the vast majority of people now prefer to contact us by telephone or online.
“Our new improved website, which was launched in 2016, has been designed to assist those who are comfortable with self-service and can report issues such as anti-social behaviour and non-urgent crime through online forms.
“It is, however, crucial that we provide opportunities for face-to-face advice for residents who prefer this approach, which is why we will be holding these engagement surgeries.
“I cannot ignore that these changes affect staff roles and I want to take this chance to say how grateful I am for the professionalism, loyalty and dedication shown not only in recent times, but in all the months and years of service.
“All the changes we’re making as part of the new policing model will have an impact on our communities, but our priority is to make sure we continue to deliver a responsive, relevant and viable police service for the people of Norfolk.”