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'No need for beat bobbies'

A MIDDLEWICH residents' association chairman has claimed a high-ranking police officer told him the town doesn't need a beat bobby.

A MIDDLEWICH residents' association chairman has claimed a high-ranking police officer told him the town doesn't need a beat bobby.

And a former town mayor has called on the Government to put more officers on the street.

Bill Blunn, chairman of Newton Residents' Association, said: 'I was told by a high-ranking police officer that Middlewich doesn't need a beat bobby because it has the lowest crime rate in Cheshire.

'I told him that is because nobody bothers to report crime because they get little response.

'At the weekend I needed to call police out to about 30 youths in the park near the high school. I telephoned the Northwich number we have been given and couldn't get an answer.

'Then I called a Chester number given to me by our Community Action Team officer.

'I waited 20 minutes while the lady on the line tried to get hold of a local officer, without success.'

Cllr Dave Sutton, who serves on Middlewich Town, Congleton Borough and Cheshire County councils, has written a letter containing a petition with thousands of signatures, to Home Secretary David Blunkett demanding more police officers for the area.

Cllr Sutton is hoping Mr Blunkett will deliver on his promise to get tough on crime by getting more bobbies on the beat in Middlewich.

He said: 'I'm asking the Home Secretary to put more police on the streets.

'Middlewich is a much bigger place than it was five years ago, but we have fewer police officers.

'But if everyone is paying £70 out of their Council Tax for a police service and there are more people, where is that money going?'

He added: 'The problem is when you do manage to get hold of the police they say they are going to come out, but then something more important happens and they can't get out because there are simply not enough of them.

'Middlewich police station is unmanned, so we have to go through to Northwich or Winsford.

'It is a vicious circle. If you have yobs outside your house and threaten them with the police, they can get away with goodness knows what because they know the police won't come.

'It is not the police's fault they want to help but there is simply not enough of them.'

A spokeswoman for Cheshire police said she could not find anything to suggest a senior police officer had said Middlewich did not need a 'beat bobby'.

She said the Congleton and Vale Division would be allocated extra officers under the Government's Crime Fighting Fund.

She said: 'We have two probationary officers waiting to join in December, a further two in March and eight currently in training who have been allocated to the division.

'Our Community Action Teams are responsible for crime in the community.

'The CAT team covering Middlewich will eventually have six officers and it may well be that some of those waiting to complete their training are allocated to the Middlewich area.

'The town will be given officers, it is just a question of when.'


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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