Crime and policing have become a Number One concern in the under-policed villages and farms of far north Northumberland. Will the Chancellor release resources in his Budget to make our region safer? Concerned parishes are taking matters into their own hands…
THE FIRST PARISH COUNCIL to tackle the crimewave in far north Northumberland has discovered disturbing changes in Northumbria’s ability to police rural areas.
A special meeting between councillors, police and victimised members of the public in Cornhill on Tweed established that:
Cornhill no longer has its own Beat Officer. The position has been discontinued, explained its last occupant, Pc Don Perry who now works of 700 square miles from Berwick as far south as Swinhoe and westward to Rothbury.
The structure of the local force is changing as officers leave and are not replaced. Government cuts have reduced resources and the reduction in manpower by natural wastage is due in part to the Force’s inability to fund pensions.
Police are being asked to provide cover for the Ambulance Service by attending medical emergencies when they are closer to the scene than paramedics Officers are trained in first aid and carry defibrillators in their vans.
Cornhill parish council, anxious to make policing more visible, are writing to local MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan and to Northumbria Police Commissioner Vera Baird.
Cornhill Shop owners Morag Pitman and her daughter, Julie Jones, described the difficulty in getting through to the police during a recent break-in. Pc Parry said the 101 telephone number went straight through to Scottish Police, due to the area’s Scottish telephone code:(01890) making it necessary to ask to be put through to Northumberland Police.
Morag said it had taken 15 minutes to get through to the correct area (weekend calls and duty covered by Berwick Police Station) and that while this was happening the thieves smashed the shop window and the shutter over the cigarette stand and stole the shop’s cigarettes and tobacco.
Julie Jones said all her house lights were on in her house next door to the shop and she was quite aware of what was happening, but unable to do anything about it; by the time police arrived, the thieves were long gone.
Pc Parry said that in any emergency people should dial 999. Scottish Police were also thin on the ground, he said, and could not cross the border, even though Coldstream is less than a mile from Cornhill.
There have been at least eight more crimes in the locality since the Cornhill Shop raid four weeks ago – the latest involving theft of a full set of wheels from a sponsor’s brand new display Mercedes at the Hirsel Golf Club in Coldstream – and councillors felt there should be a real deterrent to prevent burglaries.
It was unanimously felt that the reduction in police numbers was due to government incompetence, which should be emphasised to parliamentary candidates prior to a General felt that people,
Councillors also felt that elderly people particularly were reluctant to report anything suspicious and were advised to seek help from neighbours or to contact councillors who could then pass messages to the police.
A ‘how to complain’ leaflet is to be produced to deal with deficiencies policing, to be distributed to all households.
Will the Chancellor of the Exchequer release adequate funding in his Autumn Budget to adequately police areas like far north Northumberland.
by the time you read this we will know. . .