East Anglia supports city riot police

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POLICE officers from Suffolk and Norfolk have been helping to quell the London riots.

Suffolk Police said a 32-strong police support unit went to London on Monday to help the Metropolitan Police and were replaced on Tuesday by another team who stayed to cover Wednesday’s night shift. Norfolk Police also confirmed on Tuesday that they had sent officers, but declined to comment on numbers.

The Association of Chief Police Officers, which helps co-ordinate joint assistance, said the cost is normally met by the force the officers were being asked to support.

Back home, the two forces issued joint statements on Tuesday appealing for calm and promising additional police patrols in town centres. They also denied rumours on social networking sites that there had been trouble in the two counties.

In a statement on Wednesday, attributed to Suffolk’s assistant chief constable Paul Marshall and Norfolk’s assistant chief constable Charlie Hall, they said: “We understand how distressing these rumours must be to residents of Suffolk/Norfolk and can assure people there is no substance in them. We have sufficient police officers to maintain a high-profile presence whilst at the same time assisting the Metropolitan Police.”

As the police gave reassurance, Bury St Edmunds based Towergate Insurance’s chief executive Paul Whittaker urged businesses to make sure they had adequate cover for riot damage and to ensure business continuity plans and stock lists were updated and kept off site.