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Broads police marking 20 years patrolling afloat

The Broads Beat is celebrating 20 years of patrolling the waterways. Photo: ITV News Anglia

Many will be heading to the Broads in Norfolk and Suffolk this summer which will undoubtedly mean a busy time for the police officers who patrol the waterways.

This year the Broads Beat is celebrating a special anniversary.

For the past two decades, a succession of police officers have been patrolling the Norfolk & Suffolk Broads, involved in a whole range of tasks.

River searches, crime prevention or simply to provide help and advice.

If you're on a boat, it's sensible to wear a life jacket. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The personnel may have changed but the message remains the same. If you're on a boat, it's sensible to wear a life jacket.

This summer is the 20th anniversary of Norfolk Police's Broads Beat team.

It'll be responsible for the 125 navigable miles of waterways connected to the Broads, and on request, can patrol in Suffolk too.

The Broads Beat is responsible for the 125 navigable miles of waterways connected to the Broads. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"Combined with Norfolk and Suffolk, we had almost £1.2 million of marine theft, so we play a vital part in trying to combat that crime. Giving us the boat allows us to patrol areas that people can't get to by land."

– PC ISH NAJJAR, Broads Beat

Ish Najjar is the one full time officer on the Broads Beat.

His colleagues are deployed from other areas of the force.

With seven rivers to cover and the busiest time of the year approaching, it's a challenge.

The Broads Beat patrols seven rivers on the Norfolk & Suffolk Broads. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"We've got some 3.5 million people over the month or so arriving onto the Broads in Norfolk so it's going to be extremely busy. "It's community engagement, tackling anti-social behaviour, working with the boatyards around the meet and greets. We do with all the hen and stag parties as they turn up on a Friday night .

"We want to try and encourage tourism back into Norfolk but we are very conscious that criminals have become more adept at using the different networks we've got to get around the county and certainly some of the recent crimes we've seen you can only access the scene by water."

– Insp TERESA EAGLETON, Norfolk Police
Police officers have been patrolling the Broads since the early part of the last century. Credit: Norfolk Police
Police officers patrolling the River Wensum in the centre of Norwich. Credit: Norfolk Police

Police officers have been patrolling the Broads since the early part of the last century but in 1983 because of financial reasons the service was stopped.

It was resumed in 1995, this time working in partnership with local firms who helped fund the scheme. That's how it runs today.

Click below to watch a report on the Broads Beat by ITV News Anglia's Malcolm Robertson