Following an angry meeting at the Bridgwater Town Development Forum this week where residents and town centre traders made their feelings known about the level of anti social behaviour the Police have responded swiftly with an increased and targeted presence in the key troublespot.
PC Dom Bryant was on patrol along Fore street from early this morning and had stationed his Mobile Police Station (his van) on Binford Place, identified by residents as the main point of concern.
Town Council Leader Brian Smedley said “The Police gave a commitment to the people at the Town Development meeting that they would prioritise this area and that’s exactly what they’re doing. We need to give them time to give this a chance to work. But we need to keep on top of the issue and so members of the public are invited to attend the next Town Council meeting on Thursday 3rd August at which the Police will again be in attendance and open to further questioning. What was effective was that people turned up to a forum where they could express their frustration directly at the people who mattered -not just the local Police chiefs but to the Police and Crime Commissioner, who was clearly taken aback by the level of anger from the public and took up the cases raised but who also clearly said the issue was resources, which we all appreciate, but obviously it’s time to end this crazy austerity policy which is one of the main reasons frontline services are struggling.”
Police outline their response
Sgt Joe Piscina explained what actions would be taken as a result of meeting with the Town Development Forum;- “I wanted to give you a quick update in the short term so that we can review how this is going in the town council meeting on the 3rd August.”
– Noisy/speeding vehicles Public have been urged to report incidents so that intervention work can be looked at by the wider force with options such as mobile camera, speed watch partners etc. In the mean time I am looking at getting Special Constables and PCSO’s to run an Op for a day or two and pull vehicles in for checks in problem areas. This will take some time to arrange due to other demand during the summer period but I think this will be more effective than simply having officers in a certain area.
– Binford Place, the operation is in the initial stages. We are making good use of the mobile Police station, extra patrols targeting this area, we will be using the mounted section to visit this week and PCSO will be attends all Blake Gardens events while we look to reduce this problem. Direction has been given to use our wide ranging ASB powers to remove problem people from the area and offenders from the previous incident two weeks ago will be reported for public order offences. Again we will revisit in the next meeting with my results.
– Travellers, a freedom of information request has been put in but I have gone through the figures (which can be found in the public domain on police.uk) regarding the crimes reported for Bridgwater Urban during the 10th and 19th May. As you can see from the attached document which covers crimes reported by the member of the public such as theft, criminal damage and public order, there was no spike in offending during the month of May (my graph covers a 6 month period). The information requested will go to the person requesting it but as I said during the meeting any crimes that come to my team will not be filed by myself if there is evidence linking a suspect whether they are a member of the travelling community or not. As my Chief Inspector has said we are working on new strategies for moving travellers on when they come into the Sedgemoor area but we always have to work with the law.
– Docks, we are winning this battle as we did with the youths in the town, we have taken the contact details for the residents living on the narrow boats and should they have further problems with the youths moving forward we will assist them immediately. The op continues in that area and in fact in the last week we have had zero calls to the docks itself which is great considering the weather was pretty good.