Police staffing levels in Amble have not changed, Neighbourhood Sergeant Ian Forster told the latest meeting of the town council in response to concerns about a lack of officer presence on the town’s streets.
Mayor Coun Jane Dargue said that she has received feedback from the town that the police aren’t seen out and about as much any more.
In reply, Sergeant Forster said: “There is me, plus we have two PCs and two PCSOs tasked to the neighbourhood team and that hasn’t changed in a number of years.
“There has been changes to staff and we have one new PC and a new PCSO. They will assist with being visible and we endeavour to get them out.
“We also have 24/7 response officers based at Alnwick and supervision is shared with Berwick, and we cover an area across to Elsdon and down to Widdrington. We can get support from elsewhere if we need it.
“There is also the other side of policing – safe-guarding and visiting victims.”
Coun Jeff Watson said that, under the circumstances, he believed that Amble is getting fair representation, while Coun Dargue conceded that resources are stretched.
Sergeant Forster said that over the last month, there had been 58 crimes in the town, but these were ‘extremely low level’. He also did a comparison between the last six months and the same time period last year.
He said that in the period this year, there had been five house burglaries, 11 burglaries other than dwellings and seven shoplifting offences. In the same time last year, there were four house burglaries, 26 burglaries other than dwellings and 13 incidents of shoplifting.
○ Amble county councillor Terry Clark said people were queuing at the door to see him at his latest surgery.
He told members that residents had raised numerous concerns, with a number of issues relating to Church Street.
These included buses and wagons speeding along the stretch, as well as parking problems, with one complainant inquiring about the possibility of having a residents’ parking scheme in the street.
Away from Church Street, Coun Clark reported that missing drain covers along King Edward Street have been made safe, following concerns raised by a resident.
He also said there was an issue with moss on the pavement along Amble’s shopping street. The meeting heard that it was down to birds picking moss out of gutters, and then dropping it, but it is the businesses’ responsibility to clean their gutters.
○ A trader has complained about the one-hour time limit along Amble’s main shopping street, claiming that the restriction is impacting businesses.
Coun Helen Lewis said: “I was approached by a business who said that an hour isn’t long enough and, as a result, people are saying ‘I won’t stop in Amble, I will go to Alnwick instead’.
“I said that Amble has two four-hour car parks and also one with no restrictions, but if they felt that strongly about an hour not being long enough, they should start a petition to the county council.”
Coun Dargue said the one-hour restriction was designed to make it fair for everyone and encourage a quick turn-around as Amble is very busy.
Deputy Mayor Coun Craig Weir said that, as he understood it, Amble Business Club had endorsed one-hour parking at meetings of the Amble Parking Group.
○ The town council will write to Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group to ask what plans it has to extend dental provision for NHS patients.
Coun Martin Horn raised concerns about the lack of capacity in the town, especially in light of the Coquetdale Dental Practice closing in Hadston.
○ Coun Watson said that a new contractor has been appointed to finish off installing modernised streetlights in the town.
○ A petition to change a cycle route in Amble, to stop vehicles and cyclists travelling in opposite directions along the one-way system, will be presented by Coun Watson at next Thursday’s North Northumberland Local Area Council meeting.
○ Coun Horn asked what measures were in place to enforce the town’s new 20mph limit.
Coun Dargue said it was down to the police and highways, adding that the CCTV system, which has number-plate recognition, could also be used.
○ Coun Weir said that residents have raised concerns about the location of the police telephone outside the Fourways 2 building and asked if it could be put in a more private place. Sergeant Ian Forster said he would feed the concerns back and see what could be done.