Shefford police surgery hears of crime fears

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Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, met with the residents of Shefford to discuss local policing issues, during her seventh public surgery in the county.

It’s the second time she has met with residents, following a heated meeting earlier in the year after residents raised a petition calling for action over what they described as a crime wave.

At the surgery, on November 26 at the Shefford Town Memorial Association, residents raised concerns about anti-social behaviour, drug and gang prevention issues, the Watch schemes and the increasing population of the town and surrounding areas through new build housing, as well as increasing demand on the police.

Ahead of the meeting, the Commissioner went out with a 999 Response officer, responding to emergencies in the area.

“It’s really important for me to hear at first hand from residents about the issue they have and almost equally important for me to be able to explain to them what police services they have and what the police can and can’t do. They cannot be the first, and not last, port of call for all the problems of other agencies like social services and those whose responsibility it is to deal with mental health issues,” said Mrs Holloway.

“The Mayor, Paul Mackin, and Clifton councillors also had the chance to speak to me about the improvements that targeted police action from last year in Shefford and very recently in Clifton have had in cracking down on anti-social behaviour.

“On the more negative side, I was able to report back to the top of the Force concerning an emerging problem of intimidating group of young people gathering behind Morrisons and in the void off the High Street beside the former Conservative Association Office.

“These will now be subject to problem solving by the local Community Hub Team and the Chief Constable himself went to see the Mayor immediately afterwards which, I hope, will demonstrate to residents that I take their concerns seriously.”

Following the surgery, Commissioner Holloway was joined by members of the Town Council to discuss local policing for the area.

She also heard from representatives of Croudace Homes who have experienced window breaking and youths getting into the new Community Centre they have built alongside 78 new homes at The Orchard in nearby Meppershall, which she also raised with the Force Executive the following day.

“The people of Shefford and the surrounding area have a Community Hub Team which is dedicated to problem solving on their behalf, led by Insp Nick Masters and operating out of Biggleswade Police station. If they have a recurrent problem, they can ring 101 and ask for Nick or a member of the Hub team there. If there is an urgent, life threatening matter or a crime actually in progress they should of course ring 999,” said the PCC.

To report any concerns or crime via the online reporting tool, visit the Bedfordshire Police website - www.bedfordshire.police.uk/report/Report. The service allows the public to report anything from fraud and hate crime to vehicle collisions and terrorism. The online reporting tool can also be used anonymously.

Mrs Holloway has been holding a series of surgeries with the public around the county, with meetings having already taken place in Luton, Dunstable, Leighton Buzzard, Bedford, Sandy, Biggleswade and Shefford.

The next public surgery is due to take place in Houghton Regis.