Crime rises in security guard village
By Patrick LowmanCRIME in a village blighted by young vandals and rowdy youths has jumped dramatically despite the introduction of private security guards to patrol its streets.
By Patrick Lowman
CRIME in a village blighted by young vandals and rowdy youths has jumped dramatically despite the introduction of private security guards to patrol its streets.
Glemsford Parish Council is now set to discuss the merits of keeping on the guards after end year crime figures suggested they may not be providing an affective deterrent.
Last year, the parish council become the first in Suffolk to employ private security firms to patrol its streets in bid the overcome the problems being caused by the unruly youngsters.
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Councillors decided to go forward with the controversial move after youngster's wrecking sprees cost the authority more than £10,000 in repairs.
The village hall, sports pavilion, library and doctors surgery have all been targeted on numerous occasions in recent years.
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The guards were originally employed to patrol the streets for 12 hours a week, but this was cut to six hours after an initial trial period.
Questions are now being asked about whether it is worth spending taxpayers' money to employ the guards in the light of the latest figures.
From April 1, 2003 there have been 142 reported crimes in Glemsford, compared to 127 the previous a year.
Between February 3, and March 8, 2004, there were 16 crimes compared to only 10 in the same period last year.
Offences have included criminal damage, such as vandalism to a bus shelter, the library and the village hall. There has also been several arson attacks on cars and property in the Kings Road area and public order offences.
Despite the concerning figures parish clerk Sara Turner, said the blame was down to a low police presence and not the security guards.
"Our biggest problem is a low police presence, we just never see an officer here. When the security guards first arrived crime did go down, but we have cut their hours and the crime has gone up again. I have looked at the recent offences and they all happened when the guards were not on duty.
"The figures do prove we still have problems so the council will need look at the situation again. The councillors will discuss the situation at its next meeting."
Meanwhile, Sudbury police chief, Insp Louisa Pepper said: "It is concerning that the numbers of reported incidents in Glemsford have increased in the past year, however the Community Police Officers working in the area have been encouraging people within the communities to report all crimes to us and this may have had a reflection on the figures.
"We are working closely with the parish council at ways to improve the area and reduce the levels of nuisance, low level crimes."