Barnstaple councillors on the beat

CIVIC officials have been getting a first-hand a taste of front-line policing on one of the busiest nights of the year.

CIVIC officials have been getting a first-hand a taste of front-line policing on one of the busiest nights of the year.

But despite its reputation for festive high spirits, the so-called "Factory Friday" was relatively quiet for councillors who joined beat officers on the streets of Barnstaple town centre and the Forches estate on Friday night.

"The town centre was very well-attended and there were lots of people out celebrating, but there were very few incidents of disorder," said Forches beat manager PC Andy Wills.

"The night went very well and although there were several arrests, there were no more than on a usual Friday night.


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"We also used the Section 30 dispersal order to remove a small number of troublemakers from the town centre and this seemed to work."

Cllr Sue Haywood, who was one of six local ward members from Devon County, North Devon and Barnstaple Town Councils to stay out with officers until the early hours of Saturday morning, praised the police for their role in keeping order.

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She said: "There were a lot of people out enjoying themselves and there was a really good atmosphere in the town.

"But apart from a couple of Section 30s, it was very quiet really. The police presence in the town was like a well-oiled machine and it was a privilege to see it in action."

Cllr Haywood said it was important for elected members of the council to experience the role of the police.

She said: "We've been out and about with the police on a number of occasions now and I think our relationship has improved as a result.

"It's essential that we see the side of the job from the police's point of view."

PC Wills added: "The initiative allows us to share the experiences and problems that we have with the councillors. Working together gives us both a better awareness to tackle the problems in the community - it's important that we engage with the council to explain the issues we face.

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