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Stratford retailers want to see more police on the town centre streets

WARWICKSHIRE’S police and crime commissioner was told officers need to be more visible in town to prevent issues, such as people climbing onto shop roofs, when he went on a walkabout in Stratford.

Philip Seccombe joined one of the regular walks in which business owners and retailers have the chance to meet the police and explain their concerns about crime in the town.

The group which took a tour of Stratford with the police and crime commissioner.
The group which took a tour of Stratford with the police and crime commissioner.

As well as the police and crime commissioner for the county, the walk was joined by 16 people from various organisations or businesses in Stratford.

One of the key issues raised was about the presence of police officers in the town centre.

Amy Rogers, store manager of Crew Clothing in Bridge Street, said: “We’ve had people on the roof of the shop and needles out the back. We feel as though we have a duty of care and don’t want people to hurt themselves. I have lived here all my life and I love Stratford and it would be nice to see more police around.”

Her words were echoed by other retailers who said that a greater police presence would be welcomed, as would faster response times from the force when crimes are reported.

Inspector Ben Hembry, Stratford District Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) Inspector, said he is only too aware of the issues as they have been raised on previous occasions, and he reassured those on the walk that the police were trying to be more visible in the town.

He said: “It’s important we have high visibility and that people know our names so crime can be reported with confidence on 101 or directly online.

“The SNT will be seen in the community problem-solving and there are different ways and different approaches to do that. These walks are very useful but they must remain unrehearsed and unscripted so we can genuinely learn more as we work together.”

Mr Seccombe’s visit to Stratford was an opportunity to broaden the discussion on police issues and crime – particularly to the issue of Stratford Police Station which has been closed to the public since the summer – and car theft.

He reassured the Herald: “Stratford Police Station is staying but it’s rarely used by the public at the front counter, however, there is an ongoing consultation as part of an operational review and
that will involve budget
consultation as well.”

He added: “There is a problem with car theft which our car crime teams are policing. Models like Range Rovers and Porsches are being stolen to order from outside homes and more vehicle security led by manufacturers could help.”

Another guest on the walk was Stratford mayor Cllr Kevin Taylor.

He said: “This is the first one I’ve attended but I am kept aware by businesses and I think many of them collectively share the same concern about street crime. This type of event is very important because it can help unify all of those involved and find the best way to resolve the issues."

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