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Labour questions Kingswood crime rise

The South Gloucestershire councillor who leads on community matters for Labour has quizzed police bosses on their response to a recent increase in crimes recorded in Kingswood. At the beginning of June the Kingswood Safer Stronger Group was told that crime figures had increased significantly in Kingswood in the most recent three month reporting period, with ABH and GBH rising from 18 to 35 compared to the previous period, and with criminal damage still being a big problem.

Boulton_-_020.jpgOverall incidents of crime were reported to have increased to 464 in the reporting period from 394 in the previous period.

Armed with these statistics, South Gloucestershire Labour’s Deputy Leader and Communities lead, Councillor Ian Boulton (Labour, Staple Hill), this morning probed police chiefs at the meeting of South Gloucestershire’s district-wide Safer & Stronger Communities Strategic Partnership. The senior police present put the increase down to crime in the area’s night-time economy and outlined the action that the force planned to take.

The police pledged to work more closely with licensees to tackle the issue and to take a more robust stance towards the problem. This would involve a new operation and the police expressed a desire to involve local councillors in developing future work in this area.

Speaking after the meeting, Councillor Boulton said:

“The police force got the message that we are concerned about this reported increase in crime. I am pleased that officers have identified some of the causes and have already thought about ways in which to step up their enforcement, and we shall support them in any way we can.

The police could have done more in the past by commenting when licences from problem establishments came up for renewal; it was very difficult for councillors to object if the local police had not done so too. I believe this message has now been heard and hopefully we will see the police and the Council working more closely in taking more of a preventative approach that will help to keep our streets safer.”

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