The new inspector at Barnstaple is looking forward to having a patch of her own after more than a decade of emergency response policing.

Emma Carpenter is the new sector inspector at Barnstaple Police Station and will be responsible for the town area for at least the next six months while Inspector Earl Napier is on other duties.

Until now, Insp Carpenter, aged 35, has been an 'operational officer' reacting to emergencies and she says she is pleased to finally have a community to call her own.

For the past two years she has been serving as the critical incident manager covering the whole of the Devon patch but based in Barnstaple.

She joined Devon and Cornwall Police in 2006 and started at Torquay, then after four years moving on to Mid Devon and East Devon, where she was promoted to sergeant.

Then she moved to Exeter before spending four years as a sergeant at Bideford before being promoted to inspector.

She said of her new role: "for me this job is an opportunity to work closer with the community within Barnstaple and North Devon and to work in partnership - that's the most exciting part of the role.

"I wanted to do a role that allowed me to problem solve and really tackle issues rather than just deal with them in the here and now.

"I have line management over all the staff, which is great, so I enjoy the health and wellbeing side of looking after the officers.

"It's nice to actually own a patch, as before I covered such a vast geography."

Insp Carpenter said she was keen for the neighbourhood team to have a proactive approach to tackling the 'county lines' issue where drug dealers recruit people from out of area to transport drugs into the region.

She said: "they keep trying and targeting some of our most vulnerable in the community and that's why I want to make it really difficult for them to get in."

She is keen to work with local agencies and voluntary services to support people rather than going down the criminal justice route - prevention rather than reaction.

She is also the mental health lead for the Local Policing Authority and said they had good relationships with North Devon District Hospital and the mental health services.

She added: "If it's got to the point where police are involved they are in serious crisis and that's what I mean about the early help.

"We work with The Mooring mental health crisis café which has been set up at Braddon House and it's somewhere police can take people or they can refer themselves.

"For example, if we have got someone on the bridge it's a cry for help and we can get them the support they would have got at the hospital but somewhere that's far more beneficial for their own mental wellbeing."