Recorded Crime in the Ribble Valley increases by 31.22% Ribble Valley Conservatives demand Fair Share of Policing Budget as Police & Crime Commissioner Reduces Rural Policing

Following a spate of break-ins into Town Centre Businesses in Clitheroe culminating in the theft of the safe from Blueberry’s Cafe in the Marketplace together with a couple of days takings the Clitheroe Town Action Group is demanding an enhanced police presence in the Town particularly on the weekends and in the evenings. The Clitheroe Town Action Group was set up by a group of prominent Clitheroe Traders and Local Councillors to lobby for the Regeneration of Clitheroe Town Centre, Improvements In the Street Scene including addressing Clitheroe’s crumbling pavements and Upgrading Local Amenities such as Benches and Town Centre Car 

Kevin Horkin, one of the leading members of Clitheroe Town Action Group (C-TAG) states, “This is a serious issue. Something needs to be done about it urgently. With the closure of the Police Desks in Clitheroe and Longridge and the shutting of the Police House in Whalley it feels like we have no police presence in the Ribble Valley. The deterrent effect on criminals has been lost. The danger is that the war on criminal behaviour will be lost.”

Kevin continues, “To that end C-TAG have undertaken the most detailed research into the Crime Statistics carried out to date and we tasked our Chairman, the former Chief Data Officer of Business Link NorthWest, Ged Mirfin, with carrying out this exercise so we are confident in the findings.”

Councillor Ged Mirfin, Chairman of the Clitheroe Town Action Group states, “I have crunched the figures on the crime statistics for the Ribble Valley for the past 12 months and there are some real causes for concern.”

Ribble Valley Crime Stats

THE TABLE IS ATTACHED BELOW FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO VIEW IT IN MORE DETAIL!

Councillor Mirfin continues, “Recorded Crime in the Ribble Valley has risen by 31.2% over the proceeding 12 months. Residents should be concerned but not frightened. Recorded Crime in the Ribble Valley is only 45.2% of the average for the rest of Lancashire.”

Councillor Mirfin further continues, “The concern is that there is a disparity between the number of Calls made to the Police over the last 12 months - 8,750 and the number of Recorded Crimes - just 2,255 - a ratio of just 1 in 4 or 25.77%. This needs explaining!”

Kevin Horkin, the former Chair of the Ribble Valley Community Safety Partnership, states, “It is perfectly evident that there is a problem with response times. Crimes are being reported but by the time the police show up from either Blackburn, Colne or Preston the perpetrators have disappeared.”

Kevin continues, “The Ribble Valley has become a much more violent place. The Crime Statistics breakdown for individual Wards shows that particularly in those in and surrounding the key entertainment destinations (read drinking locations) of Clitheroe, Longridge and Whalley not only is the most frequent category of recorded criminal activity Violent Crime but in many of those Wards there has been an increase in reported instances of Violence against the Person, Criminal Damage and Anti-Social Behaviour. What this suggests to me is that we are importing much of the bad behaviour from anti-social elements from outside the Ribble Valley who are drinking heavily particularly on Fridays and the Weekends.”

Kevin further continues, “When I was Chair of the Community Safety Partnership I campaigned actively for the curbing of street drinking and much tighter shared reporting of the behaviour of groups of so-called undesirables by pubs and clubs and of course an extension of the use of CCTV Cameras - if they were working and properly maintained.”

Nigel Evans MP for the Ribble Valley is particularly scathing about the policies of the Lancashire Police & Crime Commissioner. Nigel states, “The deliberate progressive withdrawal of Police from the Streets of the Ribble Valley in particular Clitheroe, Longridge and Whalley by the Labour Lancashire Police & Crime Commissioner, Clive Grunshaw is directly related to the rise in crime. The closure of Police Desks in Clitheroe and Longridge also hasn’t helped. Outsiders are under the impression that there are no Police in the Ribble Valley particularly on the weekends. The result has been an increase in Burglary, Theft from Vehicles and Stolen Vehicles in outlying Villages. That is why we need to re-open the Police Desks as soon as possible. I will be communicating this fact in my forthcoming meeting with the Minister of State for Policing: Nick Hurd.”

Councillor Ged Mirfin states, “Ribble Valley is still basically a very safe place to live. A number of Wards (seven): Bowland, Newton & Slaidburn, Chatburn, Dilworth, Ribchester, Sabden and Whalley actually saw a fall in crime last year. Statistically Ribchester is the safest place to live in the Ribble Valley.. Four Wards in particular however represent cause for concern: Derby & Thornley in Longridge which includes all the pubs and clubs on Berry Lane, the Clitheroe Town Centre Wards of Primrose which has seen the highest number of recorded crimes (234) in the Ribble Valley and St. Mary’s which has seen a very high number of calls to the Police (748) but far fewer recorded crimes and Whalley where the highest number of calls to the Police (1,212) have been made but a low ratio of arrests (216). Worryingly the largest increase in Recorded Crime last year in Whalley has been for Drug Offences.”

Kevin Horkin states, “Clearly the Lancashire Labour Police & Crime Commissioner, Clive Grunshaw doesn’t understand Rural Policing which is why C-Tag is proposing the establishment of a Ribble Valley Police & Crime Tsar to work full-time to address the growing problem of Anti-Social Behaviour in the Borough. If Grunshaw is unwilling to do anything about it we may as well do it ourselves.”

Kevin continues, “We are also proposing much closer coordination between the Work of the Public Safety Partnership and the Police & Crime Panel And the Council. At present issues to do with Police & Crime are not addressed in any of the Council’s Committees. We believe there needs to be an outlet for Public Concerns, particularly in Clitheroe, Longridge & Whalley so that Borough Councillors are able to represent the views of their constituents on these issues. That is why we are proposing the renaming and redesign action of the Licensing Committee to Public Safety And Regulatory Affairs - which is a strategy that has been adopted by a large number of councils across the country who have chosen to focus on policing and anti-social behaviour.”

Kevin concludes, “Finally C-TAG recommends that if Clive Grunshaw is unwilling to re-open the Police Desk in Clitheroe this should be relocated in the Council Offices as a shared facility in the same way that the Job Centre is facilitating public access and rebuilding intelligence networks which have been disrupted following its closure. We don’t believe this will be overly expensive a Committee Chairman on Ribble Valley Borough Council receives £6,000 Making this an affordable option if this individual feeds in to the Committee structure and is successful in garnering public support for much more active and responsive policing in the Ribble Valley.””

Nigel Evans MP for the Ribble Valley states, “I really support these proposals from C-TAG and will be pressing Ken Hind, the Leader of Ribble Valley Borough Council to take them to the Conservative Group at the earliest possible opportunity. Not only are they affordable but they provide an outlet for public concerns and a way of putting pressure on an under-performing Lancashire Police & Crime Commissioner who has clearly under-delivered on behalf of Ribble Valley Residents.”

Nigel continues, “You have to ask what it is exactly we are getting for our money. Total Receipts from the Police Precept in the Ribble Valley are estimated to be in the region of £8.5M and for that we have just 9.3 officers on duty in the largest Borough in Lancashire covering 225 square miles. with a population of  58,800. This equates to one officer for every 24.2 square miles or 6,322.6 residents. It’s just not good enough - all we want is our fair share and that is down to Clive Grunshaw.”

Ged Mirfin, who is also Deputy Chairman (Political) of Ribble Valley Conservative Association states, “The Conservative Group on Ribble Valley Borough Council will be Making Police & Crime a Key Part of its Election Manifesto for 2019. after the damage done to policing in the Ribble Valley by Clive Grunshaw. Law & Order has always been a fundamental part of Conservative Party Policy & we intend to take a much more zero tolerance attitude to Anti-Social Behaviour going forward.”

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Ribble Valley Crime Stats 28.5 KB