Potters Bar group launches petition to ‘fully fund’ police amid crime spike fears

PUBLISHED: 11:05 07 March 2018 | UPDATED: 11:17 07 March 2018

Darkes Lane in Potters Bar.

Darkes Lane in Potters Bar.

Archant

A petition has been launched demanding more money for the police after reports of masked men targeting homes in Potters Bar.

Chris Cook, an administrator for the town’s neighbourhood watch group, has started a campaign to pressure Home Secretary Amber Rudd into “fully funding policing” nationwide.

He said: “It is essential that resources are made available to apprehend criminals as quickly as possible and take them out of circulation.

“Too often it seems that a situation must reach a crisis point before resources are made available.”

It comes after three masked burglars broke into a home in the Oakmere estate area last Friday (March 2), waking up a woman in her 90s when they ventured into her bedroom at around 6.10am.

After she screamed they ran out of the room, down the stairs and out of the front door, a police spokeswoman said.

Inspector Pete Edwards from the Safer Neighbourhood Team said: “Thankfully the victim was not harmed during the incident but she was understandably left distressed by the ordeal.”

He said that the raid, along with two aggravated burglaries in February, had understandably sparked fears in the community, but stressed that a specialist team of detectives are working hard to capture the criminals.

Police were also alerted to a separate report of two masked men knocking on a door in Marshe Close and hiding at 10.45pm the same day.

They were then confronted by a resident and ran away, but police initially concluded that it was “likely to be antisocial behaviour by youths”.

However, one Potters Bar resident fumed: “This was not antisocial behaviour.

“These idiots were knocking on my neighbour’s door and hiding – this is because when they would have opened the door they would have pushed passed them.

“Antisocial idiots don’t climb four flights of stairs, pass seven doors and then starting hiding and knocking on one door.

“This was very serious and it’s disgusting that this is not being followed up properly.”

The police spokeswoman said that having conducted further interviews, new evidence was disclosed and the crime has now been listed as common assault, but officers are not linking it to the Oakmere estate burglary.

Father-of-four Mr Cook, 61, said that as well as more officers on the streets, extra money should be pumped into bolstering other areas, such as the number of detectives and call handlers.

He also proposed that some homeowners be given grants to improve home security, which would free up police resources.

“It is clear from the crime statistics that a significant proportion of offences relate to antisocial behaviour, which ties up valuable police resources,” Mr Cook continued.

“We would propose that government looks closely into the drivers of such behaviour and develops both a strategy and system for reducing it.”

However, a spokesman for Herts Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd said he does not feel Hertfordshire needs more central government money, as recently-expanded powers to locally raise the police precept have helped maintain the county’s strong financial position.

He added that the local police officer base has been maintained over the last five years, and said the precept rise will raise around £5.6million.

The spokesman said: “With the precept increase and the additional funding he’s happy with the funding at the moment.

“He thinks that locally directed and accountable funding is the way forward. It gives PCCs the flexibility to do what they think is right for their region.”

For more information and to sign the petition visit: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/fully-fund-policing-in-england-and-wales?source=facebook-share-button&time=1520014074

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