Senior police officers in Horncastle have responded to claims they are struggling to contain a spike in anti-social behaviour in the town and insisted: “We do listen – and we do care!”
Police are still investigating a number of incidents after two particular nights of trouble earlier this month.
Officers arrested one person into a related matter of ASB and the investigation is ongoing into the previously reported incidents which included fire damage to a charity shop, damage to vehicles and a pensioner’s house window being smashed.
Police have now issued a new appeal for witnesses after two more recent incidents – the theft of a public seat from Boston Road and a car being vandalised in Coronation Road.
Police were also criticised by some residents and councillors at the monthly meeting of Horncastle Town Council last Tuesday.
Residents had hoped to quiz a force representative about the incidents – and their response – but no-one was present.
That prompted one resident to say: “Police don’t care. All these things are happening and what are they doing?”
Several people suggested other incidents had happened recently, but had not been reported.
Mayor Coun Fiona Martin described the ASB as a ‘mini crime wave’ but added it was ‘out of character’ for Horncastle.
She – and other councillors – admitted they were ‘deeply concerned’ about the incidents and police resources allocated to Horncastle.
Councillors voted to invite Wolds Division Inspector Sarah Constantine to their meeting next month.
Inspector Constantine told the News said she was aware of some of the comments made at the meeting and in social media posts.
She stressed police ‘try’ to have a representative at council meetings but it is not always achievable due to ‘other ongoing operational commitments.’
Insp Constantine added: “The neighbourhood team and myself are available for contact via various channels including the email addresses which are readily available on our website, via 10 1 on the telephone, post or by contacting the enquiry office.
“Any issues can be raised directly with the team at the time.
“We rely on the public to report matters to us so resources can be appropriately deployed.
“We do care and we do listen to people. We (officers) live in this community.
“We are part of the community and we are doing everything we can to tackle anti social behaviour, where we have sufficient evidence to do so using both criminal and civil legislation where appropriate and working with our partner agencies.”
She confirmed patrols had been stepped up, and ASB is one of the priorities for local resources while on patrol.
Inspector Ed Delderfield, in charge of the Wolds Response team, will increasingly be based in Horncastle. The move is part of a new senior command structure in East Lindsey.
Apart from her ‘day’ job, Insp Constantine is a leading figure in an on-going review looking at the force’s neighbourhood policing policy.
• Meanwhile, Horncastle-based Sgt Jacquie Barnsley has been promoted to the role of ‘acting inspector’ and will head police operations in Skegness.
Insp Barnsley has previously worked in Skegness.
Her posting is for six weeks but it is hoped she will then return to Horncastle, where she is a key part of the neighbourhood team.
She said she was looking forward to her: ‘new challenge.’