Alok Sharma, the Member of Parliament for Reading West, last week chaired a public meeting with for residents in Purley with Thames Valley Police.
Superintendent Jim Weems, Area Commander for the West Berkshire area informed those attending the meeting that both overall crime and burglaries of dwellings had fallen both across the whole West Berkshire area and in the Pangbourne and Burghfield neighbourhood, which includes Purley.
Recorded crime was down by 5% across West Berkshire 2015-16, compared to the year before and was down by 8% in the local Purley area. Burglaries of dwellings are down by 25% in the local Purley area and down by a massive 30% across the West Berkshire area.
Superintendent Weems also set out the Police’s priorities for the West Berkshire area, which includes: rural crime, violent crime, serious organised crime (including cyber-crime), burglary, drugs offences and hidden crime (including sexual offences, FGM, domestic abuse and modern slavery). Superintendent Weems made clear that the Police were not complacent about levels of crime and were constantly looking at new ways to adapt to reduce crime and prevent it from taking place in the first place.
Head of the local Neighbourhood Policing Team, Inspector Chris Ward, provided an overview of how his team were seeking to improve police visibility and engagement with the public through social media, ‘Have your say’ meetings and neighbourhood action groups, as well as ways to help build community resilience against crime.
Members of the public had an opportunity to ask questions and raise any issues of concern, which included a discussion about how the police and other agencies were working with schools to warn about the dangers of ‘sexting’ and other online crimes.
Alok Sharma said: “It is extremely good news that crime is continuing to fall both in Purley and across the West Berkshire area and this meeting was an excellent opportunity for residents to hear an update about the work the Police are doing locally and their plans for the coming year. The discussions were extremely informative for everyone attending and I know the Police will be following up on some of the individual concerns raised. My thanks to everyone who attended the meeting and to Superintendent Weems and Inspector Ward for their valuable contributions to the meeting.”
Photo: Alok Sharma chairs the public meeting