Norfolk Police Flop With Criminal Travelling Gang Is Shocking

Norfolk Police Flop With Criminal Travelling Gang Is Shocking

By Andrew Young-

Norfolk Police flopped big style, after allowing a gang of travelers to go on the rampage because they failed to grasp the “community tensions”. A review found that they left a seaside town in lock down.

Shops, bars and restaurants were forced to close on one of the busiest weekends of the year after 23 motor homes parked up during Cromer’s August carnival this year.

A total, 37 crimes were reported to police including a rape, threatening behavior and thefts. One pub landlord was pulled over the counter as some of the travelers demanded money. An Indian restaurant was “ambushed” after around 40 people stormed the restaurant, stealing alcohol and upsetting diners.

The force’s internal review published yesterday revealed the appalling failure of commanders to recognizing the tensions in the town meant they sent too few officer leaving those on the ground tackling the problem in an “impossible situation”.

Three people were arrested in connection with the rape, but everyone else escaped arrest or conviction for all the other crimes that weekend.
The constabulary wrongly assessed events in isolation , and shamefully posted a message on social media stating that the anti-social behavior was “low level”.

The review added that Norfolk Police had been told by Suffolk Police that the group of travellers had left Lowestoft after causing some disruption there and were heading to Norfolk, the report said. The blunder is shocking and inexcusable, a police force should be more professional and competent to make these types of errors. Unsurprisingly, none of the officers have been disciplined for the extraordinary failing.

Furthermore, the information was “not recorded on official systems” in a way that allowed it to reach key people within Norfolk Police, and resulted in senior officers making initial decisions without knowing all of the facts.

That weekend, North Norfolk District Council wrote to Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Local Government, outlining their “difficult weekend” and calling for councils to be given more powers to be able to move travellers on more quickly.
The report said the force was now aware of “a change in the nature of certain travelling groups”, referring to how new travellers were coming to the county more regularly.

Recommendations ere made in four main areas that include the sharing of intelligence, leadership decisions, social media messages, and how unauthorised encampments are dealt with.

An independent review into the decisions made by individual commanders is ongoing, but nobody should hold their breath that any serious action will be taken against any of the officers or the force as a whole.

Chief Constable Simon Bailey said: “As I have said before, we got this wrong and I feel terribly sorry that the people of Cromer feel let down by our response.
“Moving forward, it is important that as an organisation we take any learning opportunities, put measures in place and make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

It is a travesty and a disgrace to the Norfolk Police that an error and failing on such a large scale could occur.

In total, three people have been arrested in connection with the rape, but no one else has been arrested or convicted for any other crimes that weekend.

Because the constabulary wrongly assessed events in isolation they even posted a message on social media stating that the anti-social behavior was “low level”.

Norfolk Police had been told by Suffolk Police that the group of travelers had left Lowestoft after causing some disruption there and were heading to Norfolk, the report said.

This information was “not recorded on official systems” in a way that allowed it to reach key people within Norfolk Police, and resulted in senior officers making initial decisions without knowing all of the facts.

The review found that police decided that the local council should take the lead to move the travelers on, a more bureaucratic and lengthy process. The group arrived on a Friday and left Sunday evening.

That weekend, North Norfolk District Council wrote to Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Local Government, outlining their “difficult weekend” and calling for councils to be given more powers to be able to move travelers on more quickly.
The report said the force was now aware of “a change in the nature of certain traveling groups”, referring to how new travelers were coming to the county more regularly.

The review makes recommendations in four main areas: the sharing of intelligence, leadership decisions, social media messages, and how unauthorized encampments are dealt with.

An independent review into the decisions made by individual commanders is ongoing.
Chief Constable Simon Bailey said: “As I have said before, we got this wrong and I feel terribly sorry that the people of Cromer feel let down by our response.

“Moving forward, it is important that as an organization we take any learning opportunities, put measures in place and make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

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