Getting heard by the Police

Some of the issues that our community faces ultimately require a Police response. That’s why this week I took time to meet with the Police Inspector responsible for our patch.

As a local councillor the ability to build relationships with other professionals is very important. By talking to the right people, in the right way, I can ensure that your concerns are heard. In responding to issues residents have raised with me on numerous occasions I felt it was time to arrange a proper face-to-face meeting with an officer of sufficient rank to get to the bottom of a few things.

The two issues that I chose to focus on are really quite different in nature but they represent the two things that residents speak to me most about. In both cases I have heard concern from residents that sufficient action doesn’t appear to be taking place.

Firstly, anti-social behaviour (ASB), especially involving young people and often located around the town centre / metro, as well as at the coast. Yes, neither the town centre nor the coast are actually in our ward, however, if something is of concern to you as residents, I want you to know I will try to do something about it, wherever it may be. In particular I’ve had local parents telling me they are worried about their own youngsters heading out and about in case they might get caught up in an incident. On the issue of ASB I was reassured that the Inspector was treating it as “top priority” and was able to refer to ongoing operations designed to disrupt the patterns and identify the offenders. Significant leads are currently being followed up and the expectation is that within the next few days and weeks some significant breakthroughs are likely to appear in the news. I’ll keep you posted as and when I receive an update.

Secondly, speeding, especially in residential 20 zones. As I’ve said before, I don’t think that local residents should be made to pay the price for selfish drivers who wilfully ignore speed limits. Speed bumps, chicanes and the like are expensive infrastructure that just adds cost to your council tax. Better to hit the speeding motorists in the pocket by catching and prosecuting them. I confess to being concerned to find out that the Police do not train local bobbies in the use of speed guns. Only traffic cops have that training and as we know they spend all their time on the A19 and the A1. At the meeting I couldn’t have made the point more strongly that you as residents want to see police being located in hotspot areas to zap high-speed drivers. She agreed to put me in touch with a colleague in the force who has special responsibility for a scheme called Community Speedwatch. I’ll let you know how I get on with him.

Finally, I asked the Inspector “And what can I do to help you?” After all, every relationship is built on give and take. She replied by asking me to share information with residents about the new Northumbria Connected website. This is a two-way police information sharing platform. It is designed to help communities to report incidents directly to their local neighbourhood teams, and for targeted information to be shared back with you too. One of the special features of the website is that you can sign up with your email and receive alerts into your inbox on matters that you feel are relevant to you and your area. Please do give it a try!

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