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Sudbury Town Council praises improvements to local policing as Insp Ben Hollands discusses new community model

An increased visible policing presence in Sudbury has been applauded by town councillors, following the introduction of a new model to improve police engagement.

Inspector Ben Hollands, locality inspector for Sudbury, highlighted the early success of the new county policing command (CPC) model as he addressed residents and councillors at the annual town meeting on Friday night.

Introduced in December, it saw 50 new community policing areas (CPAs) created across Suffolk - each overseen by dedicated officers - to enhance the understanding of specific local issues.

Inspector Ben Hollands said the new policing model was paying dividends.
Inspector Ben Hollands said the new policing model was paying dividends.

In Sudbury and the surrounding area five CPAs are in place, including two covering the town centre.

During the public meeting at Sudbury Town Hall, Insp Hollands said the new model had seen a significant increase in visible foot patrols by uniformed officers, helping to boost public confidence.

“The community policing teams put the community at the heart of everything we do,” he said.

“Their prime focus is around community engagement, prevention and problem solving, targeted activity and proactivity.

“Our level of community engagement has increased significantly. Community police officers are much more embedded and understand the needs of those communities.

“One of the bits of feedback we had is a lack of visible policing presence on market days. As a result, we now have a stall on the market for people to come and engage with us.

“It’s the biggest change in 10 years that Suffolk Police have implemented, in terms of the way uniformed police work in the county. At the moment, it’s a real success.”

Town councillor Ellen Murphy praised the change.

She said: “My main concern was always the lack of visible policing, especially on market days, but I’d also like to now change my mind and say well done to the police. I am so impressed.”

Town mayor Jan Osborne paid tribute to Sudbury Police for a doing a ‘grand job under challenging circumstances’.

“It highlights the fantastic working relationship and partnership the town council has with our police, especially with the new model in place,” she added.

“I’ve noticed the difference. I’ve seen more police on the beat. We have an officer who comes to our full council meeting, which is really appreciated.”

Addressing specific issues, Insp Hollands said the priority in Sudbury remained tackling drug offences, due to the influence on other criminality.

He referenced the recent success by officers, through proactive patrols and prevention advice, to clamp down on a spate of tool thefts from vans.

Insp Hollands said police were looking to run a pilot scheme in collaboration with Sudbury’s community wardens, which could be rolled out countywide if successful.

“Sudbury is really lucky, in that it’s one of the few towns within Suffolk that still has community wardens and is seen as a success story,” he added.

“We are going to have a pilot scheme going forward to build on that, in terms of what powers we can use and how we can support them.”