Anti-social crimes still big problem
Bedfordshire Police have made “little progress” tackling anti-social behaviour, a report discussed at the Police Authority meeting on Friday found.
Latest figures for Luton show there were 588 incidents of anti-social behaviour in August this year, which is an increase on the 578 incidents in August 2011 and the 419 in December 2010.
The force has pledged to make improvements, but with compulsory redundancies for cops who have completed 30 years’ service endorsed at the same meeting, it could prove difficult.
Chief Constable Alf Hitchock said: “Against a backdrop of budget cuts, Bedfordshire does have to prioritise what crime and incidents it investigates and serious anti-social behaviour remains a key priority for us and our partners.”
Luton does have a priority anti-social behaviour case management team which is funded by the council and the police, which the report said “is providing an excellent service to victims of ASB and is recognised as good practice.”
However, victims of anti-social behaviour have satisfaction levels below the national average, the HMIC report from June also found.
Chief Constable Mr Hitchcock said: “Victims being satisfied with the service they get from Bedfordshire Police is a priority for us, and I will always apologise to anyone who feels they may not have had the response they expected.”
Crime has fallen by 6.5 per cent in Bedfordshire overall, but compulsory retirement could see the loss of 98 officers and 56 community bobbies over the next few years to make savings of £7million.
Luton resident James Ashby said: “I think, like most Lutonians, I’d like to see a more robust approach to the street drinkers who blight the town centre. But the reality is, Beds Police are hugely over-stretched in Luton and probably do the best they can.”
Of the 1,222 crimes recorded in Luton in May 2012, 547 were anti-social behaviour offences, compared to similar levels of 526 out of 1,266 crimes in May 2012.
Luton resident Pasquale Failla said: “Crime in Luton has not reduced, far from it. I witness crime on a daily basis. To me being drunken and using abusive and offensive language in public places is a criminal offence.”
Some aspects of anti-social behaviour are picked up by the Community Safety Partnerships rather than the police.
Luton resident Nicola Nelson said: “There is a park down the end of my road which has quite a lot of middle-aged men sitting on the benches drinking alcohol every day. I find it strange they have chosen this location. As a result I don’t take my children to that park. Police have more important things to be worrying about other than these people but it may be nice to see some community officers out patrolling family parks and places like this.”
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Weather for Luton
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 11 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: North