Cops "delighted" over new Kinver action group which parish council says doesn't exist! (From Stourbridge News)
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Cops "delighted" over new Kinver action group which parish council says doesn't exist!
1:07pm Thursday 22nd August 2013 in News
POLICE say they have set up a new action group to fight crime in Kinver but their parish council partners say they have never heard of it.
Staffordshire Police announced on August 8 that they had formed the new group with Kinver parish councillors to help crack-down on anti-social behaviour.
But Kinver Parish Council chairman Julian Hall revealed this week that no such group has been set up.
He told the News: “There’s no such animal in the world as it hasn’t been ratified.”
He said parish councillors had agreed to a meeting with Inspector Donna Gibbs, who was Commander of South Staffordshire Local Policing Team until taking up a promotion in Tamworth this week.
But he stressed: “We’ve agreed to a meeting not an action group.”
He added that police are invited to the parish council’s recently formed own police committee but he added: “We don’t think we’ve got an action group – it can’t be until it’s ratified by the parish council on September 3 or at the next police committee meeting in October.”
There was no comment on the matter from Staffordshire Police as the News went to press, but in their earlier statement headlined ‘Police and Parish Council Form Action Group’ Insp Gibbs was quoted as saying: “We are delighted that Kinver Parish Council is forming an action group with us and our partners to address long term solutions to ASB.
“ASB is very low in the area, but if one person feels uncomfortable by the actions of a few, then we need to address those issues.”
Meanwhile - minutes from the parish council’s newly-formed police committee show worries remain over policing issues in the village which no longer has its own cop shop.
At the Kinver Parish Council Police Committee’s last meeting concerns were raised over the library being the base of choice for village crimefighters since the closure of the High Street police station.
The minutes state: “There are no private facilities and the officers have to share a staff room/store room with the library staff. Councillors believe there are no suitable places for meetings in the library at all, contrary to the statement made by Insp Gibbs.”
The scathing minutes also criticise a lack of help from police over anti-social behaviour around the Kinver Sports and Community Association (KSCA).
The committee notes say the “only option” suggested by police, to install a barrier, would not end drinking, drug taking and vandalism.
And they state: “Members feel that we are left out on a limb with no support or help and little has been done to solve the problem.”
The minutes also say members need specific guidance from police over what cameras to buy to enable any footage captured to be used as evidence.
And they urged Kinver crimefighters to keep the council informed over crime crackdowns so “information could be passed on to residents who along with members perceive that nothing is being done”.
Insp Gibbs, however, is quoted as saying police “regularly collect community contact sheets” and “the public are not worried”.
Concerns were also highlighted about incidents that are known to have occurred not showing up on Neighbourhood Watch lists.
The minutes state: “In April there were three robberies and another at the end of May, plus an attack on someone’s driveway, but these were not shown in the figures.”
The committee also said: “Crime statistics show an increase in the crime rate in the area.”
But Insp Gibbs said “the figures seem high as they balance out during the year, and also because they are based on such small numbers.”
The July 31 meeting also heard PCSO Paula Wilkes has been given access to a partially marked police vehicle.
But she does not have “exclusive use” and “must pre-book it” by putting in a request to Insp Donna Gibbs - a situation branded “ridiculous” by parish council chairman Julian Hall and “totally pathetic” by resident and Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator Bob Clarke.
Despite concerns over anti-social behaviour in the toilets at Kinver Edge and Highgate Common, Staffordshire Police say Kinver has one of the lowest levels of ASB in the country - and they are committed to cutting crime further.
Chief Superintendent Jon Drake, head of Local Policing Staffordshire South, welcomed the new Kinver Parish Council Police Committee and described the latest meeting as “very constructive”.
He added: “It was an opportunity to discuss concerns relating to crime and disorder in the area.
“Discussions took place regarding a specific anti-social behaviour hotspot area and we looked at ways for all partner agencies to work together to find long term solutions. An action plan is being developed and issues will be addressed."
Mr Clarke, however, feels “the time has come that the parish council should make a formal complaint to the police commissioner” over the state of policing in Kinver.
Villagers with crime concerns should call 101 and speak to officers or PCSOs covering Kinver.
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