Private security patrols could help stamp out lawlessness in Long Sutton if the public agree to help foot the bill.
District and parish councillor Jack Tyrrell spoke out as “professional” house burglaries grip the town, saying he believes Long Sutton is being targeted because police are rarely seen on the streets.
He also highlighted a catalogue of crimes over the last five years, where ATMs have been ripped from the walls of shops and a bank, and motorists driving at excessive speeds.
Coun Tyrrell said: “We haven’t got any police, everybody knows that.
“We (the parish council) used to have security firm watching over the parks and we could have a similar kind of thing with people from a security firm walking round the town.”
Coun Tyrrell realises that would mean people paying twice for policing, but says district councillors could contribute from their ward budgets to fund security guards – perhaps leaving households in Long Sutton, Little Sutton, Lutton and Tydd St Mary paying £3 a week.
I want to be able to go home and know my house is safe because there is someone (a security patrol) there.Coun Jack Tyrrell
The councillor is concerned about a current spate of burglaries.
He says blue paint is being marked on the ground at the back of houses to indicate “good” properties to target, which makes the break-ins seem professional rather than the work of kids.
“Somebody also saw two blokes in waxed jackets with a Land Rover and they weren’t farmers,” he said. “There’s no police. What risk is there? The chances of you getting caught here are slim.”
He believes the break-ins have made residents fearful of what might happen and they would feel safer if there were security patrols going around their homes.
Coun Tyrrell said: “I want to feel safe. I want to be able to go home and know my house is safe because there is someone (a security patrol) there.”
He has asked residents to write to The Spalding Guardian if they would back a scheme for private security patrols.
Last Wednesday a resident was left to clean-up his father-in-law’s Long Sutton house after it was ransacked by burglars – the man, who asked not to be named, had previously criticised police for doing too little to warn the public about break-ins.
A senior police officer told the Spalding Guardian he has “yet to be convinced that security patrols on local streets paid for by the local residents is a viable tactic”.
Police Supt Paul Timmins said: “Long Sutton and Sutton Bridge are policed as part of the South Holland Policing area. Since April last year we have recorded 426 crimes, a rise of seven per cent.
“Burglary offences have also increased recently.
“As part of our response to this we have had additional police patrols that have effectively doubled the number of patrols in the area.
“Over the last week there have been no reported dwelling burglaries and a number of persons have been arrested and are currently on bail whilst enquiries continue.
“We have worked with our communities to build a good understanding of the issues. We use Lincs Alert, Twitter, the local printed press and our own website as ways to inform local residents around our activity. We should also acknowledge the fact that other crimes areas such as criminal damage and vehicle crime have reduced significantly over the past year in Long Sutton and Sutton Bridge.
“The idea of privately paid-for patrols by commercial companies is one that has been around for a while. As Operational Policing lead for the East of the County, I work alongside strategic partners from the public and private sector to help reduce crime and disorder. Whilst I acknowledge that the private sector has an important part to play in assisting public services, I have yet to be convinced that security patrols on local streets paid for by the local residents is a viable tactic.
“Issues of personal safety, accountability and interoperability exist.
“Nationally crime is rising at a faster rate than what we experience in Lincolnshire. We always look for ways to improve our response to crime and disorder and work tirelessly to prevent offences from happening in the first place. We still live and work in an area of the county that is amongst the safest in the entire country.”
• If you support Coun Tyrrell’s call for a private security firm to patrol the area, please write to The Spalding Guardian, Priory House, The Crescent, Spalding PE11 1AB or email firstname.lastname@example.org Please include your name, address and contact details, which are not for publication.