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 STOKE-ON-TRENT, NEWCASTLE-UNDER-LYME, STAFFORDSHIRE MOORLANDS, SOUTH CHESHIRE

TOWN CENTRE FOCUS PAYS OFF


Work to make Newcastle town centre feel safer day and night is paying dividends, according to a new report.

Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council’s joint work with Staffordshire Police has resulted in improvements in instances of anti-social behaviour, robbery and general violence.

The results follow a series of initiatives including creating Public Space Protection Orders, police officers flooding the town centre on Friday and Saturday nights, and issuing 47 formal individual warnings and 26 community protection orders to troublemakers.

Gill Heesom, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Community Safety and Wellbeing, said: “We are determined that Newcastle’s town centre is open to all day and night and that residents, shoppers and visitors shouldn’t be put off by a minority of people behaving badly.

“A greater presence of police officers, town centre marshalls, street medics and the Safe Space at the top of Ironmarket are just some of the measures we have put in place.

“Although there is still more to be done, by working together and pooling our resources and information, we are making a difference where it matters.”

The report says that as well as providing a physical presence, the targeting of community safety and enforcement activity in the town centre was paying dividends.

For the last 12 months, anti-social behaviour is reported to be down by a tenth, robbery down by 18 per cent and burglary of commercial premises by 12 per cent, while possession of weapons is down by 5 per cent, and general violence by 20 per cent – although cases of serious violence were up by 6 per cent.

Initiatives have included:

• Money from Safer Streets funding to increase CCTV, fitting gates to alleyways and raising awareness of what can be done against anti-social behaviour;

• ‘Precision Policing’ which analyses reports and data to focus on places and times when offences are more likely to happen;

• ‘Operation Saltmine’, funded by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, bringing targeted patrols by uniformed officers;

• Weekly planning meetings to share information and agree priorities.

Chief Inspector John Owen, from the Newcastle-under-Lyme local policing team, said: "It is incredibly pleasing to see that crime, anti-social behaviour and calls for service across the town centre are all significantly down since we implemented our new policing model in June 2022.

"As a partnership, we have worked really hard to respond to concerns, but we know that there is still more to be done.

"The town centre faces challenges like every other across the country – they are totally different to how they were 20 years ago and we all need to collectively respond to those changes, including tackling priorities on a proactive basis like serious violence.

"That is why we will continue to collaborate with the community and with businesses, as we remain focused on addressing their concerns and working towards a safer town centre for everyone."

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