Police numbers 'not up to strength'

PUBLISHED: 07:22 14 May 2008 | UPDATED: 21:49 15 June 2010

THE Axminster policing area is understaffed and the town's station is unmanned nearly half of the time possibly resulting in slower response times.

THE Axminster policing area is understaffed and the town's station is unmanned nearly half of the time - possibly resulting in slower response times.That's what town councillors heard at their monthly meeting, held on Monday night.PC Darren Herridge, Neighbourhood Beat Manager, said "Staffing levels have been running below strength for some time. "Personally, I think we have the right amount of officers, but they are not deployed in the right areas. "When the public ring, they want an officer there immediately." During the meeting, he explained Axminster was two officers short. The town should have five.The shortfall meant the station was left unmanned for 40 per cent of the time. At times, officers from Seaton and Honiton were providing cover.PC Herridge said that, while the staffing was not satisfactory, senior managers were tackling the problem.But Deputy Mayor Councillor Ronald Jones said the police were doing a good job, regardless of their staffing levels and praised their detection rates.He said: "I think the police are doing a great job, considering the shortage. It's a hard job when fully manned." PC Herridge reported a quiet month, with no crime patterns arising.

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