Monday, 23 October 2017

Crime up 19 per cent but town is still very safe, says police chief

CRIME in the Henley area has increased by 19 per cent.

CRIME in the Henley area has increased by 19 per cent.

Henley police chief Mark Harling told a meeting that there were 610 offences reported between April and September, compared with 514 in the same period last year.

This was in the Henley police area that covers the town and 22 surrounding parishes.

Insp Harling told the town council’s town and community committee that some of the offences included minor violence involving drunken young men.

“We are talking about ABH where someone might have a black eye or a cut lip,” he said. “Some are connected with the night-time economy, which is very successful in Henley and generally very safe.



“If you are going to be a victim of these crimes you are likely to be between 18 and 25, male and intoxicated.”

Insp Harling also spoke about the value of police community support officers.

He gave a recent example where four officers followed a man who had stolen a bottle from a supermarket.

Insp Harling said: “He had been followed by staff when he smashed the bottle and threatened them. The PCSOs found him and surrounded him. Remember, these are not officers who have batons, although they do have stab vests.

“They dealt with the situation, calmed him down and followed him to his address. Police arrived, took him into custody and he was sent back to prison.”

Insp Harling said the PCSOs also helped to look after young people who gathered in Mill Meadows during Henley Royal Regatta, kept in touch with vulnerable people and issued parking tickets.

Councillor Kellie Hinton said: “The PCSOs really are a pillar of support. They are also involved in community groups. I see Tarran Golby at the YMCA, Tesco and the school then doing something else in the town centre.”

Councillor Will Hamilton said the ruling Conservative group supported the PCSOs but was unhappy at providing funding instead of the police.

Currently the town council contributes £17,000 a year, half the cost of one of the three officers in the town. There are another five PCSOs in the parishes.

Insp Harling said: “The town benefits from all the PCSOs in the area.”

The committee agreed to recommend continuing the subsidy in next year’s budget.

Councillor Dylan Thomas asked about a persistent problem of noisy motorbikes in Fair Mile, saying the riders used it like a race track.

He said: “I have made 14 calls to 101 about this in the last three months. How many calls do I have to make before some kind of speed camera is put in place?”

Insp Harling said he was aware of the problem and it existed along the A4130 through Nettlebed and beyond but police could only monitor the road at certain times.



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