Police ask Banbury community to work in unison
Police representatives, councillors and residents gathered at the Sunshine Centre last week to discuss ongoing concerns of criminality in he Bretch Hill area of town.
The meeting specifically concerned antisocial behaviour in the Ruscote, Hardwick, Hanwell Fields and Neithrop (RHHN) areas of Banbury.
Attending was Labour Cherwell District councillors, Sean Woodcock and Mark Cherry, Labour town councillor Surinder Dhesi and Conservative CDC councillor Tony Ilott. In addition Mark Ames representing Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue, neighbourhood Sgt Andy Bayliss of Banbury Police Station and residents were present.
The meetings, held roughly every three months, are a chance for residents and councillors to raise concerns with the emergency services about anti social behaviour (ASB) and other criminality in the area.
It is also a platform for the police to detail the work they are doing in combatting the area’s ASB.
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In year to date comparative analysis between April 1, 2016 to January 28, 2017 and April 1, 2017 to January 28 of this year, Sgt Bayliss presented statistics showing a decline in reported ASB in all but two categories.
Burglary from a home had risen from 50 to 58 reported cases within the same ten month period, an increase of 16 per cent.
Robbery, too, had seen a rise with an additional three cases being reported compared to the previous ten month total of nine
Criminal damage, including arson, bicycle thefts, drug offences and shoplifting all saw reductions ranging from a 4 per cent drop in bicycle thefts to a 35 per cent reduction in reported cases of criminal damage and arson.
Illegal parking statistics were also presented. Each month the police must aim for a minimum of 93 hours to be spent enforcing highway laws in regards to problematic parking.
During the three months where statistics were presented, November 2017 saw police officers dedicate 101.5 hours to parking, issuing 197 tickets.
During December 2017 just 50 hours were spent on parking issues, a shortfall of 43 hours due to illness and staff holidays over the Christmas period. 98 tickets were issued within the month.
January saw the police hit their own target spending 93 hours on parking issuing 183 tickets.
Of crimes residents and councillors wanted tackling drug offences were given top priority, both the selling and consumption of illegal drugs.
Sgt Bayliss also urged residents to be on the look out for signs of cuckooing, the commandeering of a property, often by out of town gangs, for the purpose of selling drugs.
Frequent visitors at all times of day and night is one potential clue and given the information by the public the police have powers to close such properties.
Sgt Bayliss said: “If you see drug dealing taking place call 999, it is a criminal act in progress.”
The 90 minute meeting concluded with residents and councillors agreeing with the police that drug offences and ASB around Kennedy House and Bradley Arcade will be prioritised.
A police website, www.police.uk, is a tool the force are urging people to use to find out about crime in their area and report criminal activity. The next meeting for RHHN will be at the Sunshine Centre on Wednesday, May 9 from 6.30pm.
A meeting for rural residents is scheduled for April 30, between 6.30pm and8pm at Banbury Fire Station.