Tensions high at meeting with local police chief

Supt Sharn Basra
Supt Sharn Basra

Concerned members of the public aired their frustrations at a meeting in Leighton Buzzard with south Bedfordshire’s head of local policing last night.

Supt Sharn Basra hosted the meeting at Mentmore Pavilion, reassuring locals that measures were being taken to address the town’s policing needs.

With 40 new police officers in training for the force, Supt Basra also stated there would be two further intakes of 20 recruits each for the autumm – to be shared across Bedfordshire.

Supt Basra said: “I have a real desire to make community policing work, get PCSOs into areas where they are seen, make people safer and build that confidence.”

Several members of the public spoke out at the meeting claiming to have reported crimes that went uninvestigated.

One woman even claimed an off-road biker had attempted to run her over earlier that day and discussed the case with Supt Basra after the meeting.

Some attendees talked about the increase of anti-social behaviour, particularly among young people with “no respect for anybody”. It was claimed fear of reprisals was holding people back from reporting crime.

Supt Basra said: “We can’t do our jobs without community intelligence... we need the support of people to come forward and provide that evidence of anti-social behaviour.”

Also in attendance at the meeting was Insp Anita Clarke, head of the police unit in the town.

Speaking after the meeting, she said: “I think people were on the whole supportive, I think clearly they have some issues but I think we hit the same notes.

“The police in this day and age has to be a joint effort between partners, police and community.”

There is to be another public meeting in several weeks time, allowing more members of the public to meet the officers.