AFTER a Saturday night on the town with local police officers Mayor of Barnstaple Ian Roome is adamant that there is no room for cutbacks in local officer levels. With fears that Government financial restraints could force reduced staff numbers Mr Roome t

AFTER a Saturday night on the town with local police officers Mayor of Barnstaple Ian Roome is adamant that there is no room for cutbacks in local officer levels.

With fears that Government financial restraints could force reduced staff numbers Mr Roome told the Gazette that the night he and Mayoress Linda Lewis spent with local officers had given them an insight into what their work entailed and how resources were already stretched.

The Mayor and Mayoress joined police on the streets of Barnstaple from 10pmon a Saturday night to 3.30am on Sunday.

"I wanted to find out what sort of situations they face in town at night," he said.

"We came across a variety of misdemeanours, including drunk and disorderly behaviour, which led to the arrest of one man. We were called on to help co-ordinate a search for a missing person in the Ilfracombe area, which included the police helicopter. We also noticed areas of graffiti and there was a person exposing themselves. Most of the problems were alcohol fuelled.

"I was surprised by the numbers of young people out in town and how some areas become particularly busy. All in all, it seems there are just a few people who cause trouble. The large majority behave themselves. Barnstaple is a safe place and it was nice to see how good policing helps to keep it safe.

"We went out with Sgt Paul Jones and PC Mel James and were impressed by their professionalism.

"It was a busy night and it gave us an insight into what the police do and how their resources have to be managed, especially if there is a lot of trouble, as Barnstaple holds the only detention cells for the North Devon area.

"I am fully in support of maintaining all our police manpower. We need all our police officers and PCSOs in North Devon.