Police face a battle to regain the trust of Deepings’ residents after its community safety group cast a “no confidence” vote against them.
Claims of increased disorder, drug dealing and “intimidation” over the summer led members of Market Deeping and District Neighbourhood Policing Panel to show their dissatisfaction with police by the vote at their September meeting.
We have seen no police presence in the Deepings since we lost one of our PCSOs, in spite of being promised cover until a new PCSO is appointedCoun Andrew Bowell, Chairman of Market Deeping and District Neighbourhood Policing Panel
Members blamed the summer crime wave on a dwindling police presence in Market Deeping and panel chairman Coun Andrew Bowell said: “Residents of the Deepings nol onger report crimes on 101 because the police do not respond.”
Coun Bowell, also Chairman of Deeping St James Parish Council, added: “We have seen no Police presence in the Deepings since we lost one of our PCSOs, in spite of being promised cover until a new PCSO is appointed.
“Also, over the summer we have seen an increase in anti-social behaviour, drug taking and dealing, with those responsible doing what they want with the confidence that they will not be caught.
“We want the police to take action before someone gets injured or killed, but our police station (in Market Deeping) is now unmanned and the cause of this problem is the lack of police officers as funding has been cut to dangerous levels.”
Another panel member, Deeping St James parish and district councillor Judy Stevens said: “We are concerned that since we have lost one of our valued PCSOs, we have not seen them on the streets of the Deepings for the crucial summer holiday period.
“This has led to an abnormal amount of anti-social behaviour, intimidation and a feeling amongst the public of being left to their own devices.
“We are constantly told to call 101 but when we do, the results are a long time spent hanging on the phone and no visible results.
“Of course we are aware of funding levels but we have also experienced a growth in the population of the Deepings in recent years and we don’t feel this is being responded to.
“In short, we are not prepared to say nothing about what we consider is very bad value for our council tax.”
Coun Ashley Baxter, South Kesteven district councillor for Market and West Deeping, said: “It comes as no surprise that residents in the Deepings are fed up with being ignored by Lincolnshire Police.
“Currently our police presence consists of just one PCSO who is doing her best but, in reality, has less authority than a traffic warden.
“The Police and Crime Commissioner has visited the Deepings for the odd photo opportunity but the response to recent incidents of hare-coursing and illegal trespass has been woefully inadequate.
“Whilst it is technically possible to hold the police and PCC to account, surely no one really expect residents to attend their meetings which are held quarterly in Louth.”
In response to the councillors’ complaints, the Deepings’ new policing inspector Local Inspector Reid Martin has pledged to lead “good, proactive work” in tackling the area’s crime problems.
Inspector Reid Martin, who is also community policing inspector for Bourne and Stamford, said: “The local PCSO for the Deepings area works tirelessly for her community so it is obviously very disappointing to hear that some residents have a lack of confidence in their local policing.
“However, we do recognise that staffing levels are not as we would like and these frustrations are shared across all police forces as it is a national issue and not one that just affects Lincolnshire.
“The Deepings area is regularly patrolled by response and traffic officers, as well as dog handlers, and there is good, proactive police work happening.
“Of course, much of this activity takes place at night leading to a perception by the public that there is a lack of visibility.
“But with a large geographical area to cover and limited resources, we must direct patrols to the places, and at the times, where they can be most effective.
“We must also be realistic about what current funding levels allow us to do and we are meeting with South Kesteven district councillors next month to discuss this further.
“I will also be able to provide more detail about the next intake of PCSOs currently in training and how many will be coming to South Kesteven to boost our neighbourhood policing numbers.
“In the meantime, a PCSO has been temporarily reassigned to support the local Market Deeping PCSO until the new intake arrives next year.
“Rest assured that the area continues to be on the local daily tasking of officers who are directed to ongoing issues in our communities.
“This is specifically to tackle anti-social behaviour and so reporting of such incidents is encouraged.
“This will then allow us to build a better picture of the situation so that resources can be directed appropriately.”