Thursday, 13 August 2020

Mayor ‘fed up’ with police excuses over ‘crimewave’

Mayor ‘fed up’ with police excuses over ‘crimewave’

HENLEY has been hit by an outbreak of petty crime.

During the month from May 18 to June 15, there were 11 thefts from vehicles, nine domestic incidents, eight assaults, five thefts, four burglaries, four cases of criminal damage, three bicycle thefts, two incidents of drink/drug driving, two public order offences and two car thefts.

There was one drug seizure, a case of shoplifting and a robbery.

Police also reported three cases of missing persons, three road accidents, three child protection incidents and an adult protection case.

The figures were revealed in a police report to a meeting of Henley Town Council’s town and community committee.

Councillor Will Hamilton told the virtual meeting: “There definitely is a crimewave coming through Henley at the moment. I absolutely support the police in what they do — they are under pressure at the moment and they are having to deal with some horrendous things.”

Mayor Ken Arlett said: “There’s so much petty crime going on in this town and we’re not doing anything about it and I think that’s very sad.

“I’m fed up listening to excuses, not just by the police, but by South Oxfordshire District Council. The excuse is covid-19 all the time and I do not believe it is an excuse.

“There’s so much petty crime which it wouldn’t take a lot to solve by a couple of police officers out there and I think they probably know who the villains are.

“There’s a very small minority causing a lot of problems, petty problems, and I think it’s about time they did something about that. A lot of this crime could be solved in no time at all if the police really wanted to. I’m fed up of hearing they’re too busy. I never hear what they are too busy doing.

“I spoke to a young Pcso the other day in the Market Place and he was so helpful it was unbelievable. The problem is one day he’s here, the next day he’s in Goring, the next day he’s in Woodcote. He’s probably here only one day a week.”

Councillor Ian Reissmann said: “There is not a crimewave in Henley. There are some incidents — they do need sorting out — there is not a crimewave. Cllr Hamilton should be careful not to talk down Henley and not to spread scare stories. It unnecessarily distresses people.”

He said that as the council part-funded a Pcso, it was entitled to expect the police to explain what they did and to listen to councillors’ concerns. Cllr Reissmann added: “While you can refer to these as petty crimes, they are distressing to people who suffer them. We shouldn’t just diminish them by listing them here and describing them as petty, they are important.”

Deputy Mayor David Eggleton said the police were under pressure and did a good job, adding: “Henley is policed quite well under the circumstances.”

Town and community manager Helen Barnett said that two senior officers couldn’t attend the meeting as one was on duty in Abingdon and the other had a day off.

She said: “I think they would like to defend the position that Cllr Arlett has put because they are working quite hard to try to solve all the crime.”

Police said a man had been arrested in connection with theft from vehicles and officers were working with British Transport Police to identify a man who stole two bicycles from the station on May.

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