Questions over level of policing in Warwickshire town after knife incidents

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The level of police presence in Stratford-upon-Avon since incidents involving knives has been called into question.

The matter was raised at this week’s meeting of Stratford-on-Avon District Council where leader Councillor Susan Juned (Lib Dem, Alcester East) was asked by one of her party colleagues to endorse writing to Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Philip Seccombe.

It comes after armed police attended an incident of violent disorder in which five teenage boys were arrested on Bridge Street in May and the arrest of a 16-year-old for threats made with a pen knife in the town.

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In April, a 32-year-old male was arrested for affray after reports of someone brandishing a knife on Greenhill Street, Stratford.

When standing for re-election to the role of PCC this year, Mr Seccombe wrote that he intended “to reduce crime, anti-social behaviour and re-offending across Warwickshire with more officers, working with our criminal justice partners and listening and responding to our residents”.

Councillor Victoria Alcock (Lib Dem, Stratford Bishopton) said: “Residents in Stratford are very concerned that the rise of anti-social behaviour, and more worryingly serious knife crime, reported in the town recently has seemingly had no effect on the number of police seen in the town.

“Would the leader please support me in writing to the Police & Crime Commissioner to ask when he will provide the additional police support as mentioned in his election material?”

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Cllr Juned replied: “I would be glad to ensure our concerns are raised.

“We already have raised these concerns and have had a couple of meetings with the police recently, one where we were told that there is funding for additional anti-social behaviour patrols in the town.

“They are already taking place in specific areas but we need to get more information on exactly what is happening and keep that flow of information going between ourselves and the police.”

Cllr Juned also highlighted a briefing about Operation Talkative, which Warwickshire Police is using to target knife crime, and that a public consultation for Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) for the town centre had recently concluded.

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She added: “There is a link on the district council website for residents to report anti-social behaviour and they are encouraged to do this, but also to make sure that they report it to the police.

“The community safety team here at the council has been extremely well involved. One of things I have asked for is that there should be a briefing for the ward members that are affected, and that they should make sure that they share that with residents who are concerned.”