Mon, 12 Nov 2018
POLICE are tackling issues raised by Thatcham’s Community Forum a year after it was established.
The forum was set up last year to enable residents to raise concerns and suggest solutions to issues affecting them with the police, councils and other agencies.
Speaking to the Newbury Weekly News when the forum was launched, the neighbourhood inspector for Thatcham, Mark Tucker, said the aim of the forum was for the community to help resolve issues.
He said: “This is really about the community building resilience and ideas about how they can improve their community, not just the police and council doing it, but everybody working together.”
Residents raised concerns about drug-dealing, motorcycles and groups of young people in the Broadway at last month’s forum.
Pc Lisa Anderson, from the Newbury and Thatcham Neighbourhood Team, said that these issues “seemed to be creeping back up again” and that officers needed to look at conducting another police operation the Broadway.
She said that the forum was a good way for residents to alert the police to problems in the community.
“Some people wait for this meeting to tell us stuff because they like to see someone in person – it’s definitely useful,” she said.
She added that some forum members had been speed indicator- device-trained and that eight volunteers had used the device around Thatcham last week.
Residents also heard from Pc Matthew Allen, from the problem- solving team, about police closure orders, which restrict access to properties.
Speaking to the NWN, Mr Allen said that one operation had seen access restricted at a property in Beancroft Road following antisocial behaviour and drug use.
“The address had reports going back over a year of noisy parties, drug use and antisocial behaviour linked to drug use – cannabis and class A drugs.
“Local officers and residents gave us information and we went to court and got a full closure for three months.”
Mr Allen said that closures carried out across the district had all been linked to anti-social behaviour, drug use or dealing.
He said: “Depending on the issues that affect the address, say it’s using county lines dealers, we want people to still live there but get rid of the dealers.
“Sometimes residents themselves are involved in drug-dealing.
“We have had one [case] where there was a resident who was being targeted by local drug-dealers and he wanted it to stop. In that [closure] period he sorted himself out and got off drugs in three months. [Closure orders] are not just there to punish people.
“It’s getting rid of people who have a negative impact.”
Speaking on the work of the forum, member Chris Watts said: “This is a forum for people to come along and express a view, not just to the police but to other people interested in the community.
“If there’s a group of like-minded people who have a particular problem they can get together, contact various agencies and see what can be done and see what powers are available.
“They can hear from police why they aren’t able to respond to long-term issues of noise and anti-social behaviour in times people would like.
“The community is willing to spend time and effort where these issues arise.
“It’s a community effort. The police can’t do it on their own. Neither can the council.
“Residents have to stand up and say there’s a problem and address that problem to the right agency.”