Thoughts on “Safer Neighbourhoods”

From the point of view of living in safety, the Boroughbridge area is one of the safest in the UK: our crime rate is exceptionally low. There’s a humorous, local view that it’s all down to PC Neil Waite, our popular and well-respected guardian of law and order (who is not far from retirement, by the way!); but that’s only true in part….

No one knows why Boroughbridge is a haven of peace and tranquillity compared with many other towns. One contributory factor is perhaps an effective Safer Neighbourhood Group (SNG). “What’s SNG?” It’s a group of people, including representatives of the police, fire service, neighbourhood watch and the local councils, who meet twice a year to mull over issues of law and order. The SNG is currently chaired by County Councillor, Nick Brown, strongly backed by secretary, Jim Bolland, and meets in the Jubilee Room

You may take the view that merely talking about crime is unlikely to deter local, would-be criminals (there are some, by the way; but they tend to maintain a low profile). However, support for the police and getting together to discuss “issues” of law and order is a significant factor in a community which, for most of the time, is law-abiding by consent.

The key, current priorities of North Yorkshire Police are:

•Rural crime – combatting crime which affects farms; mainly theft of machinery and stock

•Technology – which focuses on use of cameras (yes, drivers hate them, but it works!)

•Vulnerability – safeguarding children from abuse; not what one might expect, perhaps, but a comment on a serious social problem which also includes cybercrime, all too obvious from reports in the media

Police numbers are on the increase. The police were expecting 40% “cuts” but, since the Paris terrorist attacks, there has been considerable investment in recruiting. There are, for example, nationally many more armed officers, especially in London; but even in North Yorkshire there are now eight officers who are fire-arms specialists

A final point: anyone can attend the meetings of the SNG; you don’t have to be a police officer or local councillor. If you are concerned about any issue which touches on safety or law and order, please feel free to attend and have your say; you’d be most welcome.

John Helliwell