Last week the PCC, Mark Shelford with support from Keynsham Town, Councillor Andy Wait convened a public meeting to discuss anti-social behaviour and shoplifting concerns in Keynsham town.
Over 50 people attended the public meeting held at the Royal British Legion Club. Among them local traders, councillors and residents who shared concerns at the on-going safety and shoplifting around the High Street. Other issues highlighted were vehicle vandalism and lack of visible police presence in and around the High Street.
In his address to concerned residents and traders, PCC Mark Shelford reinforced that prevention and fighting crime and supporting and working with communities, victims and partner organisations are two priorities in his Police and Crime Plan. And as such, the PCC facilitated the public meeting to find ways of how to work together with the police to prevent crime and keep community safe.
Bath & Northeast Somerset area commander Chief Inspector Scott Hill and Keynsham Inspector Jon Nash and Keynsham Town council clerk Dawn Drury also attended the meeting.
Officers reassured attendees that Keynsham is now a priority for policing, with officers being drawn in from other parts of the district. But the officers stressed that there is no quick fix as they want to stop the problems, rather than just relocate them. Officers told the meeting they take seriously concerns raised and acknowledged that the lack of continuity around sergeants in Keynsham has been a problem. However, they assured the public that a new, experienced sergeant is coming into Keynsham soon.
Chief Inspector Hill, who has just become the force’s lead on anti-social behaviour (ASB), stressed that he is keen to get on top of ASB problems in Keynsham:
“We need to identify who the offenders, who are often young people, again it comes down to our intelligence from the community and our interaction with shopkeepers. If we get that intelligence into who those individuals are we can target them effectively and use ASB legislation that is available to the police.”
However, residents felt strongly the police should be able to deal with the problems as the offenders are known and several incidents have already been reported to the police.
The PCC appealed to residents to report all incidents and told they can pass information anonymously via the Crimestoppers number – 0800 555 111 or report online.
Keynsham Town Council Clerk Dawn Drury told the meeting through their Time Out Youth Service working with other agencies, a lot of youth work has been taking place in recent months and young people are engaging.
In his final remarks Mr Shelford said: “It’s really helpful certainly for me and for the police officers to know your concerns face to face.” He recommended that a follow-up meeting is held in six months.