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On the beat - how police officers in Diss keep the town safe

PUBLISHED: 15:08 15 March 2018 | UPDATED: 16:29 15 March 2018

Police have a number of things to deal with in the market town of Diss which you might not expect. Pictured are Pc Baker and Pc Smith on Diss beat management attachment. Photo: South Norfolk Police Twitter

Police have a number of things to deal with in the market town of Diss which you might not expect. Pictured are Pc Baker and Pc Smith on Diss beat management attachment. Photo: South Norfolk Police Twitter

Archant

It may appear to be a quiet market town in the East Anglian hinterland.

But despite its peaceful nature, a huge amount of work goes on behind the scene to keep the town of Diss and its residents safe.

Despite the front counters closing to the public at the town’s police station a couple of years ago, keeping the town safe has remained as much of a full time job for officers as it ever has.

And with the role of police community support officers (PCSOs) set to be scrapped across the county, officers are only likely to have to up their game to keep the streets of Diss free from crime.

There are a number of issues occupying the time of officer in the town, some more surprising than others.

Given Diss’ rural setting, it is perhaps not a shock that the town’s community engagement officer also doubles up as South Norfolk Police’s wildlife officer.

Pc Jim Squires, who has trodden the market town’s beat for more than 20 years, also coordinates the policing of wildlife crime in the district.

This includes issues such as hare coursing in the fields and farms surrounding Diss, deer and muntjac poaching, the killing of bats or damaging their resting place and badger baiting.

Given the nature of the roads in and around Diss, traffic offences also take up a significant amount of police time - with officers frequently Tweeting about how they have caught speeders, drink drivers and other motoring offenders.

But the town is also not immune to high-level drug offences - including, on some occasions, Class A drugs coming to Norfolk through “county lines”, when London gangs exploit youths to traffic drugs into rural towns and cities.

Officers conduct regular foot patrols through Diss, which they find is an excellent way to get to know the community they serve.

This is often broadcast on the South Norfolk Police Twitter account, which posts regular updates of the officers’ activities and occasional selfie.

Soon the police station will be opening its doors to the public once more on Fridays from 10am to midday and they welcome anyone and everyone in for a conversation.

And while catching criminals always remains top of the job description, one feels that it is communication - whether in person or on social media - that really helps police to gain the trust of residents, keep Diss safe and ensure they enjoy the town more.

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