23rd Sep, 2020

"We have probably let Evesham come off our radar" - Police chief admits

THERE will be more police officers patrolling the streets of Evesham in the next few months police chiefs have said as they admit they let the town ‘come off our radar.’

This is despite West Mercia and Warwickshire Police forces facing cuts to officer numbers of up to 220 in the next 12 to 18 months.

But Chief Inspector Neil Austin told councillors on Evesham Town Council last Monday that it was important response officers continued to be based in Evesham.

He told the meeting residents will see an increase in officers patrolling the streets in the next two to three months, despite there possibly being a reduction in the number of officers on shift.

Chief Insp Austin made the announcement after councillors raised concerns about police numbers in the town. In responding to councillors the top police chief admitted officers have let the town ‘come off our radar’ in the past few months.

“I think it is really important, personally, that Evesham town is the focus of our attention,” he said.

“There are a lot of people who live here and lots of issues in the town so I think it’s an opportunity for us to get back into the town, work better with partners and try and improve the relationships that we have.

“In simple terms I hope you’ll find in the next three months there will be more PCs and PCSOs walking around town.

“I recognise from some of the issues raised that we haven’t got everything right. We have probably let the town come off our radar in the last two or three months.

Chief Insp Austin also told councillors the force is trying to find ways of saving money in other areas in order to reduce the number of officers that will be cut.

“The reality of it is there maybe a slight reduction in police officer numbers, but it is a sign of the times.

“My only caveat to it is we police South Worcestershire and obviously Worcester is our busiest area, then we have Evesham and Malvern.

“I think Evesham is a little bit different compared to Malvern and Droitwich because it’s further away from where Worcester is.

“Therefore I think it’s important we keep response officers here. We are working at it.”

Also at the meeting, the Chief Inspector revealed there has been an increase in total crime of five per cent this year in Wychavon- some of which he claimed was down to changes in police recording processes.

There has also been a reduction in the number of burglaries this year, but in the last few months the force has seen a significant increase in both motor vehicle and bike thefts.

The top police chief revealed there had been a ‘slight’ increase in anti-social behaviour in Evesham which he said was mainly ‘youth related.’

“The levels of crime in Evesham are low and this is a very safe place in the country to live,” Chief Insp Austin added.

“I’m quite pleased I’ve been invited today because it has enabled me to look at a few local issues and to be made aware of the local feeling.

“It has made me realise we need to put a few things in place. I’ll be speaking to Inspector Gary Morgan to look at how we can try and get that feel back in the town, that confidence back in the town, the visibility back in the town and hopefully reassure you we are out there doing a good job and keeping you all safe.”

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