Claims safety report is 'trying to hoodwink residents' over crime worries in Hartlepool

The proposed community safety plan for Hartlepool has been criticised following claims it is “trying to hoodwink residents” over crime worries in the area, according to a councillor.

Tuesday, 17th September 2019, 2:29 pm
Hartlepool Borough Council
Hartlepool Borough Council

The Community Safety Plan 2017-2020 had been updated to show progress to date and refresh targets in relating to tackling crime and disorder in Hartlepool.

Having previously been discussed by several council committees, the document went before a full meeting of Hartlepool Borough Council to be formally adopted for the following year.

However Coun Lesley Hamilton hit out at the document, stating it was down playing crime concerns and does not show the impact of government cuts on policing.

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She said: “I think it’s very commendable that the aim of the report is to hoodwink the good people of this town into thinking the police and statutory enforcement agencies have a handle on major issues regarding crime and disorder.

“I also feel it doesn’t give a thorough and in depth analysis of crime and anti-social behaviour in the town.”

The safety plan lists crackdowns on acquisitive crime, domestic abuse and substance misuse as some of the priorities and states it wants to increase public confidence through ‘communication of positive achievements in regards to preventing crime’.

Coun Hamilton pointed to a recent Audit and Governance Committee meeting where police stated anti-social behaviour in Hartlepool was one of the highest rates in the country .

At that meeting Matt Reeves, local neighbourhood inspector from Cleveland Police, recognised the town faces ‘some significant challenges’ but said officers are working on engagement with residents, adding more police are being recruited and a PCSO again responsible for each ward.

Coun Hamilton said: “Increasing crime and anti-social behaviour is costing the council and police major resources and money which they don’t have.

“My personal view is that despite the many efforts by our police and our PCSOs and anti-social behaviour officers, crime is a major concern and to sugarcoat with positive messages is quite arrogant and misleading.

“People need to know the damage 10 years of government cuts have done in terms of increasing crime and anti-social behaviour across many parts of this town, and in my view it is not reflected appropriately.”

Coun Mike Young, deputy leader of the council, said: “There are some fair observations, I think the report in places is laid out poorly and needs to be addressed.

“What I would say it is the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) and Cleveland Police who supply a lot of this information that forms the basis of the report so I think it would be for us to go back and see what that information is and take the points back to the PCC and see what comes back.”