When anti-social behaviour broke out in Cullercoats earlier this year concerned residents met to discuss their fears for the summer. Ironically the long hot weeks have seen a steady stream of visitors and so the spikes which can be difficult to manage have not happened.
I have met the police to discuss their policing plans on a number of occasions and sought reassurances from both the Chief Constable and Police and Crime Commissioner about resources for policing at the Coast. After all as the regeneration moves forward at a pace, we need and want visitors to come.
There are worrying signs on crime levels. Car crime, at least theft from vehicles appears to be rising again as the crooks harness new technologies to overcome enhanced vehicle security. Falling crime levels in the recent past have relied on falling car crime to reduce the figures overall.
The Office of National Statistics recently reported that violent crime is rising and detection rates are falling. That’s the result of real terms funding cuts and fewer officers on our streets – not just my view but a view endorsed by Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary and the Met Police Chief.
I’m not a distant critic of the police as much as a critical friend. During the recess I’ll be joining them to see at first hand the difficult job they do and hopefully get the reassurances I and my constituents require.