A sudden increase in burglaries during January has provoked a strong response from Leighton’s outspoken critic of the town’s policing.
Leighton-Linslade Mayor, Councillor Amanda Dodwell, claims there has been a rise of 76 per cent in burglaries during the first month of the year, as domestic break-ins reach 44 in comparison to December’s 25.
But the town’s Sergeant, who is based at Leighton’s police station, challenged the figures by explaining that those numbers are not just house burglaries, but include unlocked sheds and garages.
Mr Rivers said: “If we refer back to when we had a spike in burglaries in November, we reacted and the burglaries reduced. With January, I wouldn’t say it was a spike, but we reacted and got the results.
“The sergeant reviews the crime on a daily basis. He identifies trends and put things in place to deal with those trends.
“You are always going to get peaks and troughs from month to month, but what we can look at is the long term and we are running at 14 burglaries per month on average.”
In December police officers were forced to crack down on people failing to double-lock their front doors after a spate of burglaries that saw up to 33 break-ins (23 domestic and seven others).
Mr Rivers added: “While there seems to have been an increase in January, if you compare the figures for February and March so far, they are down considerably by 50 per cent.
“However, we would like to take this opportunity to echo the message we have said before – lock your doors and if you see something suspicious call the 101 number.”
But Mrs Dodwell, who gathered the figures on the police.uk website, which is run by the Home Office, said: “Yet again we see unacceptable increases in crime in our town.
“I am pretty sure that Bedfordshire Police will be able to explain these figures away, whether it be due to the dark nights, statistical anomalies or some other vague excuse.
“The bottom line is that we had well in excess of one break-in per day throughout January, and the number of burglaries has been on the increase since last summer.”