There’s been plenty of reaction to our article earlier this week in which the Assistant Chief Constable of Beds Police told the LBO there was a “misconception” that Leighton Buzzard is poorly policed.
After criticism about the perceived lack of a police presence, ACC Sebire said that she had reviewed the policing arrangements in Leighton Buzzard and was satisfied that the town is adequately resourced.
That provoked a surge of criticism from readers, and prompted ACC Sebire to send us a statement elaborating on her views.
It reads as follows:
I wanted to write to residents in Leighton Buzzard to give some balance to the discussions around policing in the town and to reassure everyone living here about all the positive work that is being carried out by officers.
Firstly, I would stress that I’m fully aware of the concerns in Leighton Buzzard and have met a number of residents over the past few weeks which shows my personal commitment to tackling these problems.
It is totally understandable that people feel concerned and in no way do I underestimate the impact crime and anti-social behaviour has on people’s lives.
The way we police has changed significantly in recent years, partly due to funding, and partly down to the way crime evolves.
Terrorism, cyber crime, child sexual exploitation, historical abuse, hate crime, safeguarding – these are all challenges we must now be able to respond to.
But that doesn’t mean that ‘traditional policing’ isn’t still an important part of what we do.
I said last week there was a misconception around policing numbers in Leighton Buzzard, and that we had adequate numbers to police the town.
It’s important I clarify what I meant by that. We have recently introduced a dedicated policing team in the town, which deals with community issues such as anti-social behaviour, theft and criminal damage.
They are working hard to build relationships with residents, businesses and other partners to help problem solve at an early stage – dealing with issues before they escalate.
They are supported by our response officers who are deployed across Bedfordshire, attending incidents which require immediate attention, such as serious assaults or where there is a threat or risk to someone who is vulnerable.
We also have specialist teams who investigate crime across Bedfordshire and there have been numerous investigations carried out in Leighton Buzzard.
We can also respond to local issues where needed by increasing patrols which we have done in Leighton Buzzard over recent weeks.
But in order to ensure we have the right numbers in the town, we need to fully understand what the issues are, so need people to report crime to us – and we also need help from local people to combat crime.
You are our eyes and ears and the closer we work together, the safer we can make our neighbourhoods.
We are holding an event with the council on 16 June, for people to come and discuss local matters.
I shall be there and it would be great if people come along to say hello and meet their local officers and raise any issues or concerns.
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