We want to close door on trouble
GREAT Yarmouth's new top police officer has said he will be fair but firm when it comes to dealing with crime in the district. Superintendent Jim Smerdon sent a stern and simple message to people coming to Yarmouth to commit crime - “don't bother”.
GREAT Yarmouth's new top police officer has said he will be fair but firm when it comes to dealing with crime in the district.
Superintendent Jim Smerdon sent a stern and simple message to people coming to Yarmouth to commit crime - “don't bother”.
Supt Smerdon is no stranger to Yarmouth - having served in the area as chief inspector in 2003 - and he takes over the mantle from Jo Parrett.
When he was last in Yarmouth Supt Smerdon said the town had problems with high crime rates in the summer - something he is keen to keep down.
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Supt Smerdon said Yarmouth, as with other towns up and down the country, suffered problems with outside drug dealers coming into the town, something he will not tolerate. “We want to keep that door firmly closed,” he said.
The type of crime police want to hit hard this year is anti-social behaviour - particularly those crimes associated with the night time economy.
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Supt Smerdon referred to hard-hitting posters which have been put up around the town in the last couple of weeks explaining what sort of behaviour police expect and the sort of service locals and visitors can expect from officers.
“We are serious about that message,” said Supt Smerdon. “We expect people to behave. People who misbehave can expect fixed penalty notices. We want people who live here and visit to be able to enjoy themselves.”
And if police have information that a person is being a “total nuisance” Supt Smerdon said he would not be afraid to be “slightly draconian” by banning them from licensed premises across town. And that warning also applied to licensed premises that don't play by the rules.
Over the past four years crime rates in the Yarmouth area have fallen, and continue to do so. Supt Smerdon said: “We will endeavour to keep it that way.”
Supt Smerdon took the realm from Jo Parrett. He said: “Jo did a brilliant job and the systems she put in place are working.”
He stressed the importance of members of the community working with police to cut crime.
“We have worked with local people to reduce crime and I would encourage the local community to continue helping us. The Safer Neighbourhood Teams are working really well and reducing crime in Yarmouth involves a lot of work from those teams.
Supt Smerdon has been with the force for 27 years - first starting out with the Met police in London where he served for eight-and-a-half years, mainly as a detective.
He worked in mainly east London before decided to move to Norfolk due to family reasons.
His first role in the county was as beat officer in Loddon before moving to Norwich where he spent two years on traffic.
He spent several years at Norwich - establishing a pro-active team to deal with drugs and car crime and set up the Drugs and Serious Crime Squad where he worked for three years.
He added: “Yarmouth is a shining example of a seaside resort and everyone is a stakeholder in the town - businesses and local people have a role to play in making sure Yarmouth is a nice place to visit.”