Thin blue line could become a bit thicker

THE thin blue line in Spalding is to get slightly wider as town police ring the changes in response to residents’ concerns.

More officers are to be deployed on the frontline from the beginning of October as Spalding police chiefs look at ways of addressing prominent issues in the town such as street drinking, graffiti and boy racers.

Changes were outlined by Sgt Stuart Brotherton to a meeting of Spalding and District Area Chamber of Commerce, where he said: “I am not sitting here making out there is no problem because there is, but the extent is a matter of perception.

“There is an endless list of things that need doing with a limited number of officers, so something needs to give, but our officers are working their butts off to get the job done.”

But he said he was hopeful people would notice a positive impact from the beginning of next month, when constables currently attached to Neighbourhood Policing will go back to what he called the “thin response line”.

He said: “So we will have more officers on urgent response and the test for us will be to see how effective that is.

“We will have to suck it and see.”

Sgt Brotherton also defended the police against some of the criticism they have received for a perceived lack of response to issues of street drinking and anti-social behaviour within Spalding, as highlighted by The Spalding Guardian’s We’ve Had Enough campaign.

He said officers can only respond to incidents they are made aware of and said many people do not bother to pick up the phone to report things.

And he said: “Priorities have to remain priorities. If we get a call that someone is lying on the ground with a head injury after being attacked and another call from someone complaining about anti-social behaviour, of course the attack is going to be our priority.”

Chamber member Pete Williams, of The Punchbowl, New Road, said many people got fed up with ringing police with the same old complaints.

He said: “We find we get a better response from the police by going to the press to highlight the problems. We don’t want to make the police look bad but the truth is the police are underperforming because of the restraints placed on them by the Government.”