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Sunday, 16 June 2019

Policing Bath: what should the priorities be?

We would like to see more resources given to policing the city centre.

However, we are concerned with the nature of the debate which is now taking place.

Firstly, the fear of crime still remains a greater problem than actual crime. The fear of crime has both economic and socially damaging effects on our community. The way in which the current debate is being conducted is in our view increasing the fear of crime.

Secondly, we need a much more serious debate about where any additional resources released by central government should be spent.

The main focus to-date has centred upon providing a new police station but should this really be the priority?

We would like to see more and better-equipped officers. While we wait for these to be provided better CCTV coverage is key to ensuring limited resources are effectively deployed to combat on-street crime and disorder.

However, what is really likely to make the biggest difference is proper investment in mental health and substance misuse services and programmes to tackle the mental illness issues which are the root cause of most crime and anti-social behaviour.

Indeed proper investment in mental health services would in itself free up police resources as the current poor provision in this area too often means that police become the default service responding to mental health crises for which they are ill equipt and ill-trained.

It is very important to residents that this debate is properly conducted and does not become just another political football.

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