West Cornwall MP Derek Thomas has highlighted the furore over the proposed move of St Ives and Hayle’s popular police sergeant to press the Home Secretary for greater support for frontline police services.
Last week Mr Thomas accompanied Devon and Cornwall’s Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC ) Alison Hernandez to a public meeting in St Ives where they were able to see for themselves the strength of feeling over the possible removal of Sergeant Mike Friday’s current role as a neighbourhood sergeant.
In July it was announced that the role was being abolished following a spending review and, from next year, Sgt Friday is due to be transferred to Camborne where he will work as a custody sergeant.
The proposal has been met with widespread disapproval in Hayle and St Ives with around 5,000 people signing a petition calling for him to continue in his current position and many others paying tribute to him on the Facebook page Saving Sergeant Friday (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1663536700638392/).
During Parliamentary Questions in the House of Commons with earlier this week, Mr Thomas sought assurances from Home Secretary Amber Rudd on behalf of community police and support officers that their roles have a secure future.
“In Devon and Cornwall we are seeing valued frontline police officers moved to what can only be described as 'back office’ roles,” Mr Thomas said.
“This is the case of Sgt Mike Friday, who is a popular neighbourhood policeman but is being moved from neighbourhood policing to the custody suite.
'These decisions, made in Exeter, against local opinion, demonstrate the failure of decision-makers within Devon and Cornwall Police to understand the importance of neighbourhood and community policing.
“Around 5,000 local people have signed a petition opposing this measure as a result of which I asked the Minister to outline what support the government can offer neighbourhood police officers and staff so that their roles can continue.”
PICTURE CAPTION: Derek Thomas MP with the newly elected Police Commissioner, Alison Hernandez and St Ives Mayor, Cllr Linda Taylor.