Wed, 11 Sept 2019
POLICE are apparently “not interested” in offences reported to them on land owned by the Town & Manor of Hungerford.
The claim was made by the Constable of the Town & Manor, Nicholas Lumley, on social media and again at a meeting of Hungerford Town Council on Monday night.
His comments came after another cow was struck on the common in August by a motorist who did not give their details, but drove off with a smashed windscreen and badly-damaged vehicle.
Mr Lumley told the meeting: “There have been four instances [of cow strikes] in four months.
“Despite reporting it to police, they seem to be taking no action.”
He also posted on social media: “I have reported six offences on Town & Manor land to the police in the past four months... they are not interested.
“They will be, when someone gets killed hitting a cow with a car.”
Following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s recent pledge to recruit 20,000 more police officers by 2022 – at a cost of more than £1bn – Thames Valley police and crime commissioner Anthony Stansfeld admitted: “There are certain areas of crime we are not covering as well as we should do.”
Speaking to the Newbury Weekly News last week, Mr Stansfeld said: “We should hopefully know tomorrow how many extra police officers we will get, but there’s a fair indication it will be somewhere between 500 and 800 in the Thames Valley.
“When you look at it, that should mean an extra 30 or 40 in West Berkshire, which will make a significant difference.”
Last December this newspaper reported that police had solved just two of the 79 crimes reported during September 2018 in the Hungerford and Lambourn Valley.
More than 40 crimes were recorded in the Hungerford area alone last September, including offences of burglary, violent or sexual assault, shoplifting, drug possession, criminal damage or arson and antisocial behaviour.
Of those, just one person was charged with a crime and taken to court, for an offence of burglary in Lambourn.
Overall, five more offenders have since been identified, but none have ended up in court.
One was cautioned for criminal damage, another for a drugs offence and a third for criminal damage or arson.
A case of violent or sexual assault was referred to a non-police agency and another offender agreed to apologise to his victims for causing criminal damage.
All the other 73 crimes so far remain unsolved.
In June this year, according to Thames Valley Police figures, 122 crimes were reported in the Hungerford and Lambourn Valley area and none have yet been solved.
At the town council meeting, the neighbourhood police team acknowledged in a written report: “It was recently reported that 122 crimes were reported... and that no one has been prosecuted.”
While neither confirming nor disputing the figures, the police statement added: “There can be various reasons [for this].”
For example, “a single domestic incident could also involve an assault and a criminal damage – so, figures-wise, this is three crimes for the one incident”.
In other instances, said the report, victims will not support a prosecution or will refuse to make a statement.
Another reason could be that, while there is currently insufficient evidence to charge anyone, the investigation was still ongoing, added the report.
A spokesman for the Thames Valley branch of the Police Federation, Craig O’Leary, has previously told this newspaper that the force had been forced to “cut its cloth” according to cuts for the past decade, leading to tough decisions as to how best to allocate limited resources.
He said: “It has meant diminishing numbers of officers in neighbourhood teams who are dealing with more crimes.”