Call for action after sharp rise in Biggleswade and Sandy crime

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Crime in Biggleswade and Sandy has risen by almost 70% according to latest figures released by Bedfordshire Police.

In April last year reported crime stood at 101 for the month, but in March this year, 170 crimes were reported.

For the year as a whole, anti-social behaviour is top of the list with 449 crimes reported between April 2016 and March 2017. There have been 237 incidents of shoplifting reported and 205 incidents of violence and sexual offences.

The figures were presented to Biggleswade Town Council last week with Cllr Peter Biernis describing them as “staggering”.

He is now calling on the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway to come forward with a plan to tackle the issue.

The figures only dipped below 100 per month twice - in May and October.

In just over 51% of the reported crime no suspect was identified and in 21% (199) police were unable to prosecute the suspect.

70 offenders were dealt with by the police, with drugs posession warnings, penalty notices, cautions and 37 local resolutions recorded.

46 offenders were charged and 73 cases were dealt with at court. Of those 25 were sent to jail, nine were given community sentences and six were found not guilty.

None of the offenders was sent to crown court.

A total of 63 crimes during the period are under investigation but no further action is being taken on 73.16% of crimes reported (687).

For April 2017 154 alleged crimes were recorded for Biggleswade and Sandy, compared to 1,390 across Central Bedfordshire.

There was an arson attack on April 9, six assaults where people were injured, two fraud cases, one hate incident, one recorded for possession of an offensive weapon, four public order offences, six sexual offences, one threat to kill and 47 thefts from shops and stalls in Biggleswade, mainly in the London Road, Market Square and Church Street areas.

Cllr Biernis said: “I walk around the Town daily sometimes twice a day. I consider myself pretty street wise and see young people openly smoking and using drugs and people openly drinking in the street. I understand some local retailers in the Town Center often face people coming in filling bags up and just walking out. If challenged they just face abuse.

The PCC seemed to have moved away from local policing and intelligence gathering. The officer on foot spending time getting to know locals etc they also get to know the people to watch and keep an eye.”

Community Policing Inspector Nick Masters said: “There has been an increase in reported crime in Biggleswade and I understand that this has caused concern to local residents. Many of the offences relate to retail crime and I want to reassure the public that we are working hard to tackle and prevent crime in the town and surrounding areas.

“Bedfordshire Police is working with local authorities and other partner agencies to support each other in a long term approach to reducing criminality in our neighbourhoods.

“Officers are working closely with community members and business owners to prevent crime and improve security of properties. As always we would like to encourage victims of crime to come forward and report it to us so that we can work with the public and partners to fight crime together and keep our county safe.”

Bedfordshire Police would like to invite Biggleswade residents to an upcoming community engagement event in Biggleswade Retail Park on Sunday 11 June between 12pm and 2pm.