Marlborough policing under the spotlight at the Town Council meeting
The cuts to the Police Budget are beginning to bite. Deputy Mayor Lisa Farrell expressed the widespread concern across the Town at Monday evening's (5 March) Town Council meeting.
"With all of these Police stations shutting we seem to be seeing less and less Police on the ground and it takes 20-25 minutes to get here from Swindon or Devizes. It's a big worry for the whole community of this town" she stated.
"There have been a lot of burglaries around Marlborough recently, bikes have been stolen, vans have been broken into, it has become very worrying to us in this town on not seeing many Police" she added, whilst asking how staffing levels had changed over the past two years. She expressed concern for the Police: "it's not easy being so short staffed".
Police Community Co-ordinator Constable Paul Brewster explained that money was tight due to the budget cuts, explaining that "We are trying to get the resources across the county as best we can", adding further that the nature of crime and required response has changed: "there are so many aspects to Policing that don't involve anybody walking the streets with all of the public protection demands we have now. Trying to police cyber crime, internet, child pornography type issues tie up Police officers who can never be walking the streets as they are behind a computer all day." "You can add the attempted assignation of Russian Spies to that list" added the Mayor (referring to the earlier news that a former Russian spy had been found, apparently poisoned, in Salisbury).
The havoc created by last week's extreme weather highlighted the fact that Police response vehicles only have a couple of 'Police Slow' signs with plastic sheets to cover the front of the sign to change them to 'Police Road Closed' signs.
PC Brewster agreed with the Mayor's question "Do you feel that there was a general lack of resource all over on that night?", explaining that the whole system was overwhelmed and unable to cope, even though plans had been made to maximise available resources to deal with the Siberian onslaught. "You can put signs out, saying road closed, and you are relying on the public to read this signs and do what the sign says" he added, whilst noting that many drivers just drove around the signs, some of whom found themselves stranded later as the conditions worsened. "There could never have been enough Officers to police last Thursday's conditions" he added.
Subsequent to the meeting marlborough.news have been informed that a specialist unit, a CommunityTasking Team (CTT) has been created in Devizes to address exactly the issues about which Deputy Mayor Lisa Farrell expressed concern, particularly all types of burglary, aiming to use the available but reduced resources to greatest effect.