“People take photos and kids wave”
As the Broads Beat patrol passes under the bridge in Norwich, warm greetings are exchanged with boat owners, holidaymakers, and residents. It’s obvious that they’re a welcome sight and a valued service on the Norfolk Broads.
PC Paul Bassham, Beat Manager, told us that Norfolk Constabulary has patrolled the Norfolk Broads since the 1820s. In the mid-1980s the boats were decommissioned due to lack of funding, but their presence was missed. In 1995, with the support of local government and sponsors, the policing team returned to the Broads.
They’re now the only inland waterways police and one of only 14 remaining marine units in the UK. According to Natural England, Broads Beat is the longest running police and public sponsorship scheme.
The team patrol all 7 rivers that connect the 63 broads in the Norfolk Broads National Park. As well as preventing and investigating crime, the team provide safety and security advice to boat owners and businesses along the river.
“The boat is a floating police car, a high-profile presence patrolling the broads,” said Paul. “People slow down, take photos and kids wave. The marinas are also pleased to see us, and we go to all the regattas and boat jumbles.”
Without sponsorship and local support, Broads Beat wouldn’t exist. “We’ve come a long way over the years through the support of sponsors like Broom,” adds Paul. “A lot of people from other forces have contacted us to talk to us about sponsorship.”
The Broom team are delighted to re-new sponsorship of Broads Beat to help keep the service going. We support them by maintaining their boats to ensure they are kept in top condition.
Broads Beat has been particularly busy this year as more people have escaped to the broads, where social distancing is more easily maintained. We thank Broads Beat for their hard work and support this summer and expect them to be kept busy again next year.