POLICE and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe has admitted the response to crime from his officers ‘just isn’t good enough’ – and neither is the police non-emergency 101 number.
His acknowledgement came after intense questioning by Sambourne councillor Philip Bond, himself a retired police officer, as Mr Seccombe, the PCC for Warwickshire Constabulary, met with local councillors from Studley, Mappleborough Green and Sambourne.
Coun Bond skewered the PCC after the meeting heard that just seven police constables, backed by two sergeants and 17 PCSOs in the Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNT) covered the entire Stratford district area stretching to some 378 square miles (979 km2).
“Given the police constables covering the entire Stratford area with the SNTs, it’s unsustainable policing,” said Coun Bond.
“These officers will go on holiday, go on courses. Would you not agree that there are vast areas where at times you have no police officers?”
To which the PCC replied: “It is no worse here than anywhere else in Warwickshire, and it’s unfair to say that there are only seven officers as that is only one side of the equation as we have detectives and other officers outside the SNTs.”
However Mr Bond continued: “82 per cent of calls to the police come with ‘no further action’ – It is nil output. How do you feel about that?”
After saying that it was the Chief Constable’s decision where officers were deployed, Me Seccombe was finally pushed to admit that their response “is not good enough” but added that the way to get more ‘boots on the ground’ was to ensure that victims of crime reported the offences.
However district councillor Just in Kerridge said that wasn’t so easy when people had to deal with the police 101 service.
“The response on 101 is so poor you hang on, hesitate, and then think I simply haven’t got the time. We need more boots on the ground, they have to be here in Studley and elsewhere to deter criminals. They know there is no police here, and if a crime is not solved it carries on,” he said.
“If we have a spate of something that crime has to be solved otherwise it may not be back in Studley for a while but the criminals will just move on Henley or Redditch and then come back to Studley or Alcester in a month or so.”
To which Mr Seccombe replied: “I do not disagree with anything you have said.”
Earlier Coun Jim Bacon had questioned Warwickshire’s crime figures – which said crime had gone down whilst looking at the figures showed crime had in fact gone up, which Mr Seccombe put down to changes in reporting methods.