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Series of burglaries prompts proposals to establish Neighbourhood Watch scheme in Long Melford

A recent series of residential and commercial thefts in Long Melford has prompted proposals by the local parish council for a new Neighbourhood Watch scheme and special constable to be introduced.

The parish council agreed at a meeting earlier this month to make preliminary inquiries about setting up a formal Neighbourhood Watch network in the village, following a proposal by Cllr Lisa Tipper, in an effort to deter criminal activity.

It comes after several incidents over the last few months, including a sequence of break-ins at three businesses in Hall Street between August 31 and September 2, which police believe are linked, as well as a house burglary in the vicinity of Roman Way this month.

General Views - Neighbourhood Watch Sign. (22216568)
General Views - Neighbourhood Watch Sign. (22216568)

Cllr Tipper said: “I think there is an increase. There has been quite a lot of burglaries recently, and I know I have seen some odd people and suspicious vans that look like they might be casing houses.

“Villages that have Neighbourhood Watch schemes have less incidents of burglary. It’s a network of people that works together to prevent crime.”

In a separate motion, the parish council also voted to reach out to Suffolk Police about the possibility of introducing a special constable in the village, after deferring a decision on whether to allocate funding for a police community safety officer (PCSO).

Long Melford previously had a PCSO, which shares some but not all powers of police officers, jointly financed between the council, Suffolk Police and Ormiston Sudbury Academy, before being withdrawn after the funding arrangement could not be extended.

At this month’s meeting, councillors suggested the presence of a special constable, a role with more powers than a PCSO, could be more effective.

Cllr Elisabeth Malvisi said: “I don’t agree with the PCSO route. They are not guaranteed for coverage of our area, but we would be funding it, whereas a special constable is allocated to Long Melford and couldn’t go elsewhere.”

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