Community Safety has always been a major priority in Northampton and at this time, violent crime in the town is at its highest reported level for some time. Figures compiled by the Herald & Post this week found that 56 of the 128 crimes recorded by police in Bridge Street from January to May were incidents of violence or sexual offences. I think the Police and Community Safety partnership do a wonderful job; these teams work hard to improve the security in our town despite increasing demands and resource deficits.
The night-time economy has always been important to Northampton especially when you consider we are becoming a University town. Northampton has great choice of excellent restaurants, bars and our wonderful theatres which attract a wide range of visitors in the evening and these businesses need people to feel safe when visiting our town centre. Understandably violent crime gives rise to the fear of crime especially given the recent media coverage.
In my role as Labour's Shadow Portfolio Holder for Community Safety I am involved in most areas of community safety around the town. I get to meet and talk with some very interesting people with the aim of learning about and contributing towards a safer town. This includes discussions around forthcoming initiatives and projects with the NBC Head of Community Safety and her team and other Borough Councillors and colleagues. I meet regularly with PCSOs in the town and local residents in my ward, to talk about their experiences and anxieties and take up some very difficult safety related issues raised by people who visit my advice surgeries.
I think we can all contribute to make our communities safer. That's about supporting people who live near us who may be vulnerable, looking out for opportunities to raise safety awareness with those around you and reporting any incidents that raise concern. The Police need to know what is going on in your area. Without this information, it is difficult to understand a pattern of car and opportunistic or distraction thefts, antisocial behaviour and in some cases, substance abuse. I hope to meet with the new Police and Crime Commissioner in the near future.