Mon, 08 Feb 2021
Police have hit back at social media critics who claim their response to antisocial behaviour in Hungerford is inadequate.
Some residents have posted about ongoing problems with a group of youths reportedly committing acts of vandalism and intimidation in the town.
Many went on to criticise the police, including one former officer who complained: "Times have changed. I don't know any of the local police who patrol the town and I suspect nor do the ratepayers who live here.
"Something has gone wrong."
Another posted: "Group of teenagers in the bike shelter at the John O'Gaunt School, kicking the shelter... an hour trying to get through to Thames Valley Police; given up with them."
Nevertheless town mayor Helen Simpson urged residents to report issues and posted: "Some of these kids have got themselves into deep water and owe money to older peers due to drugs.
"Knives and bottles used as weapons is inexcusable though.
"I don't want to witness a life being lost in our community."
In a report to Hungerford Town Council's monthly full, online meeting on Monday, the police team stated: "We are a rural neighbourhood policing team made up of five Pcsos, two Pcs and a sergeant.
"Due to the ongoing Covid situation we continue to work out of the tri-station in Hungerford.
"This has been our home since March 2020 and will remain so for the foreseeable.
"Our patrol area covers many miles. From Hungerford to Lambourn; from the Downlands to the Oxfordshire border to as far as Aldermaston and Midgham, incorporating all the rural villages in between.
"We cannot be everywhere, which is why it is important to officially report to us."
The statement added: "Social media: while it is a great resource if used correctly, over the last couple of weeks we have been made aware of different posts on social media discussing ‘crime' in the town, namely criminal damage, antisocial behaviour and the lack of police.
"In the last month for Hungerford town we had one reported theft of a trailer and just two reports of antisocial behaviour.
"These have been at The Croft and the cricket field on Bulpit Lane.
"There has not been a single report of criminal damage since January 1.
"Therefore the demand is elsewhere, which takes us out of the town.
"As I have said many times – if it isn't reported to us, it's not happening.
"We work from a patrol plan.
"This is regularly updated from the calls and online reports we get in so that as a team we can focus our attention on problem areas."
You can report online at Thames Valley Police's website.
If it is urgent continue to call on 101 (non-emergency) and 999 in an emergency or if a crime is in progress
Alternatively, the independent Crimestoppers charity can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online.