Gordon Hook

Liberal Democrat County Councillor for Newton Abbot South and District Councillor for Buckland and Milber Learn more

Support the Police

by gordonhook on 25 September, 2018

An ill-informed letter of such ill thought out content appeared in the local MDA newspaper recently (the week before last) that it was disappointing that the paper published it. The essential message appeared to be that the town was being overrun by gangs of young criminals bent on mayhem. It implied that the police were useless and we, the people, should rise up and take the law into our own hands with vigilantes roving the streets to sort out these youths. I would wish to totally and utterly disassociate myself from such garbage. Perhaps I should say that the letter came from a local Conservative councillor, so perhaps it isn’t surprising that I would be appalled by the whole tone and content of the error-ridden script.
As a Conservative perhaps he doesn’t have the wit to look beyond the fact that groups of disaffected youths gather in town. I, of course, acknowledge that happens: I similarly accept that a few of these can cause trouble, but it is wrong to tarnish all with the same brush. Any trouble has been the product of the few not the many. The police are on hand and do intervene and it is our collective responsibility to support them in their efforts, doing a job I am grateful to them for doing.

Talking your town down ( “Newton Abbot is becoming a no-go area for respectable families”) is at best unhelpful and actually fundamentally wrong. I have never felt threatened in Newton Abbot, and yes I do go out in the evenings!
Let’s look beyond the cheap headline, bearing in mind that the police cannot respond to public criticism, I am happy to speak up for them.
Contrary to what some would have us believe the police are having a real impact on crime fighting….let’s deal in facts. Car crime, for instance, has fallen by 66.77% over the last 28 days and by 49.9% over the last 12 months. Shoplifting has fallen by 30.8% over 12 months, while criminal damage is also reduced…by 17.1% over 28 days. These are facts, demonstrating the effectiveness of our local police force. Despite appalling cuts to their budget; despite an overstretched workforce, who are expected to do more and more for less and less, with less support from their political masters and with lowered morale they continue the fight to keep us safe in our beds at night, and Conservative councillors opt to be critical when it’s their Governments cuts to police budgets that have produced a service that is less than the police themselves would wish. Look around and ask why do groups of youths gather on our streets, why do some turn to crime, why is it that in some areas ( eg anti-social behaviour) crime figures have risen? Could it be anything to do with reduced police budgets? anything to do with cuts to schools and the massacre of the youth services? Conservative politicians need to learn there are consequences for their actions in slashing budgets and if there are problems perhaps it’s pigeons coming home to roost.
I want residents to support the police; I want more cash to be found to support all the vital blue light services and I do not want elected representatives of the people advocating illegal vigilante action.

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