Response from Chief Inspector Mark Thorley

The Parish Council recently wrote to Chief Inspector Mark Thorley regarding the issues of antisocial behaviour and vandalism in Werrington.  He was invited to meet with residents to discuss the matters and explain the Police’s response.

We have received the following response.

Cllr Griffiths, I acknowledge receipt of your letter regarding the above which I have passed on to Sgt Andrew Bland for his information and attention.

I am aware of the incidents of ASB and vandalism that have taken place in the Werrington area and I am also very much aware of the hard work, effort and commitment shown by the local officers to tackle these issues.  This has included regular patrol plans, dispersal authorities, civil remedies and sanctions for identified problematic individuals, along with action being taken with those found to have committed criminal offences.

The area had a problem profile raised last year which I review each fortnight to ensure activity to reduce incidents and pursue offenders continues to be undertaken.

Repeat locations have been identified and where appropriate cameras have been installed to gather evidence to identify offenders and where appropriate prosecute offences. This is proving effective and has captured offenders who the officers are actively trying to identify.

In the past two months local officers secured the use of sporting facilities at nearby Moorside high school free of charge, they have reported this back to local councillors and residents asking for volunteers to help put this in place and have not had one reply or offer of help to date. If you could assist with this I know it would be appreciated and go a long way towards alleviating the issues.

The issues in Werrington spiked in August last year and have not reached anywhere near those levels since, ASB for the area currently sits at just above average levels and has been around that level since October last year.

There are regular surgeries held at the library, at least two per month, where residents can speak to the local officers face to face and discuss the issues they have. I am told that the last surgery on Saturday just gone attracted only one visitor who wished to talk about a neighbour dispute not ASB.

PCSO Goodwin attended the Parish council meeting prior to Christmas and was of the opinion it had been agreed a public meeting was not required, which had been communicated to Sgt Bland and there for not progressed.

I am also aware that during a further recent council meeting one of the councillors suggested that the amount of Policing in the area left some residents feeling like it was a “Police state” which suggests that the patrols put in place are visible and also denotes the priority it has been afforded.

It is accurately reported to me that dependent upon where you live in the area you may feel that there is too much policing for no good reason or you may feel ASB is a major priority and more resources required.

I am made aware that there are also some miss conceptions held in the locality regarding just what the issues are, which has been amplified by miss reporting and rumouring on social media such as Face Book. The officers continue to work hard to address this miss information and reassure residents that some of that discussed is not actually correct.

ASB issues are not specific to the Werrington area and resources being limited have to be used elsewhere if and when appropriate, however I am satisfied that Werrington has continued to receive high levels of presence and focus, which will continue for the foreseeable future. I am happy that this is reflected in the reduction of incidents since the spike in August.

We are at the time in the year when ASB will increase as the nights draw out and the Easter holidays approach, my team are already working towards trying to reduce this by visiting local schools to provide input around the issues children’s behaviour can cause, the sanctions they may receive if found by Police and advising them of other activities they can consider becoming involved in.

Kind regards,

Mark Thorley.

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