THE Filey area is to get a significant shot in the arm from new policing arrangements which will effectively double the number of officers on the ground.
Sgt Chris Gosling, who heads up the local Safer Neighbourhood Team, said the restructuring meant some areas would see a reduction in staff, but Filey had “gone the other way”.
The changes come in spite of the introduction of cost-cutting measures across the force, which will probably see a reduction in the number of hours Filey police station is open to the public.
Sgt Gosling told this week’s town council meeting: “Last summer we had a visit from the Chief Constable and his deputy who realised how big our area is when you include the holiday camps, and because of all that we got an extra eight members of staff for Filey.
“Up until recently I had no responsibility for the response team, but now I’ve got 15 members of staff working from Filey, meaning I’ve got two officers starting every shoft for response work.”
Until the changes, anyone making an emergency call to the police, however close to Filey police station, could have to wait for specialist response officers to reach the scene from the other side of the borough. This is because there was just one officer based in Filey and one in Eastfield overnight, meaning they could end up being sent “anywhere”, according to Sgt Gosling. Now there will be two at each police station, effectively doubling the cover.
The sergeant, who lives in Filey himself, said there would now be a more integrated approach so that response teams would be working with the ethos of Safer Neighbourhoods, so they look at the problem in the long-term rather than simply passing on the information.
The meeting heard the only downside would be the reduction of Safer Neighbourhood community officers from four to two, to enable patrol officers to be on duty round the clock.
In another change to the system, each officer will be assigned to work a particular area during their down time, and there will be managers appointed to each council ward, as is already the case for Hertford. “There will be an officer allocated to each holiday camp, and reducing crime in the camps will have a knock-on effect in the areas where we live,” added Sgt Gosling.
Welcoming the changes, Cllr Sam Cross said: “I think we all want more police in Filey and I think it’s an absolutely brilliant thing. There was always a concern officers were coming from Eastfield.”
In the meantime, the police’s top priority for all wards in the area remains speeding and Sgt Gosling said at least half his officers would be trained to use pro-laser devices, or speed guns.
Councillors raised concerns about speeding and dangerous driving on Muston Road, particularly near the railway crossing, making it difficult for traffic turning into Clarence Drive. Boy and girl racers were also mentioned, although Sgt Gosling said it was not just a minority of young drivers that were a problem - some older drivers were also irresponsible and would continue to be targeted.
He added that several cars had been confiscated from “young lads” over the last few months under legislation which allows the police to issue special warnings for reckless driving.