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'I want criminals to feel uncomfortable and people who are reporting crimes to feel confident' - Breckland's top police officer on anti social behaviour and rural crime

PUBLISHED: 10:15 20 March 2014 | UPDATED: 10:15 20 March 2014

Temporary Chief Inspector Paul Wheatley, who has taken on the role of commander for Breckland. Photo: Morgan Hollis.

Temporary Chief Inspector Paul Wheatley, who has taken on the role of commander for Breckland. Photo: Morgan Hollis.

Archant

Victims of crime will be given the confidence to step forward and report issues disrupting their community, says Breckland's new police commander.

Tackling anti-social behaviour in Dereham and rural offences in the surrounding areas are also major priorities for temporary Chief Inspector Paul Wheatley, who has just taken over as the district’s top police officer.

Under the watch of the 39-year-old, officers across Breckland will aim to “reach out to communities” and give victims of crime the best possible service.

“I want criminals to feel uncomfortable and people who are reporting crimes to feel confident,” he said.

“My main priority in Breckland is to encourage people to have confidence in the police in the area they live.

“I want to reach out to these communities so they are confident in calling the police and know when they report crimes they will get the follow through they deserve.”

T/Chief Insp Wheatley, who has taken over from Chief Insp Ady Porter, has a history of working in communities affected by anti-social behaviour.

A major project he worked on in 2009 was tacking problems in Toftwood and since then he set up the district’s Operational Partnership Team, which focuses on tackling and reducing anti-social behaviour.

Already this year officers have made the Cherry Tree car park in Dereham a “respect zone” after cars were repeatedly revving their engines and causing a disturbance.

Despite incidents like this around the town, the number of reported anti-social behaviour incidents has gone down by 20pc in the last year – that’s 6pc less than in Breckland as a whole.

But the incoming police commander said, despite the reduction, the force still wanted communities to tell them when their lives were being affected by anti-social behaviour so figures could continue to fall.

“I want people to feel confident that they can tell the police what’s happening,” he said.

“I know the effect which anti-social behaviour can have on people’s lives – and it’s a major priority.

“If someone is a victim of a crime or anti-social behaviour we want to know about it.

“We want to understand how it impacts on them so we can help try and stop that problem.”

T/Chief Inspector Wheatley, who joined Norfolk Police in 2000 and has more than a decade of experience in Breckland, said he is relishing his new challenge.

“I have a passion and dedication for Breckland, not only as police officer but also as a resident raising a family in the district,” he said.

“I intend to continue the hard work of my predecessor in driving down crime and anti-social behaviour across Breckland.”

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