Sharma holds fifth public meeting for residents in Birch Copse and Westwood wards

5th June 2013

Alok Sharma, the Member of Parliament for Reading West, has held the fifth in a series of public meetings across the Reading West constituency for residents to hear from senior police officers from Thames Valley Police. The meeting took place on Thursday 30th May at The Cornwell Centre, Home Croft, off Clements Mead in Tilehurst.

The meeting gave local residents in Birch Copse and Westwood the opportunity to raise policing issues with the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner Anthony Stansfeld, the Police Area Commander for West Berkshire, Superintendent Robin Rickard, Neighbourhood Sergeant, Michael Adams and Susan Powell, Safer Communities Partnership Team Manager at West Berkshire Council.

Anthony Stansfeld opened the meeting by explaining his role as the first Police and Crime Commissioner and outlined his priorities for the Thames Valley, which include household burglary, protecting vulnerable people and rural crime.

Superintendent Robin Rickard then explained that the crime was down for the fourth year in West Berkshire, with reductions in overall crime of 18 per cent, shop theft down by 30 per cent, violent crime down by seven per cent and burglary, which has been a priority area for the force, down by 28 per cent.

Susan Powell outlined how the Safer Communities Partnership identifies and seeks to address local community safety priorities. The Safer Communities Partnership brings together West Berkshire Council, Thames Valley Police, Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service and Thames Valley Probation who work collaboratively to ensure that West Berkshire continues to be a safe place to live, work and visit.

Alok Sharma chaired the subsequent discussions, which included questions on flytipping, drug related crime, the logistics of 999 calls, police response times, dangerous cycling, engagement with young people, burglary from sheds and garages, speeding and the definition of reasonable force for defending properties.

Alok Sharma said: “This meeting was another excellent opportunity for the most senior police officer in West Berkshire to hear residents’ concerns about local policing issues and to enhance the dialogue between the police and the wider community and I will be following up on a number of the issues raised with local residents.”

Police Area Commander for West Berkshire, Superintendent Robin Rickard said: “This valuable meeting compliments the wide range of public consultation activities that the police in West Berkshire are committed to. The benefits of meeting local residents with Alok Sharma, MP, cannot be underestimated as residents concerns often concern more than one agency. The concerns and issues that we discussed at the meeting last week help agencies to ensure that resources are in the right place working with communities to solve problems.”

Susan Powell said “This was a very valuable meeting enabling residents to raise their concerns about community safety issues. The Safer Communities Partnership recognises the importance of listening and seeking to address those issues that are important to residents.”

Photo: Alok Sharma chairs the public meeting, with Susan Powell Safer Communities Partnership Team Manager at West Berkshire Council; Anthony Stansfeld, Police and Crime Commissioner for the Thames Valley; Police Area Commander for West Berkshire, Superintendent Robin Rickard and Neighbourhood Sergeant, Michael Adams.