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Rural policing on agenda after Countryfile feature
4:00pm Wednesday 23rd January 2013 in News
A VILLAGE parish council will consider whether to write to West Mercia’s police and crime commissioner Bill Longmore asking for better rural policing after being inspired by a feature on the BBC’s Countryfile.
Kempsey Parish Council received a welcome letter from Mr Longmore, which also asked them about any issues they may have.
Mr Longmore was elected as the new commissioner for West Mercia in November.
The issue of better rural policing was raised at a meeting of the council last week by Councillor Ann Patrick after she watched an episode of Countryfile which focused on rural crime.
Coun Patrick said: “We do actually have a lot of that in this area.
“It would be quite interesting if we suggested to him about following Hertford-shire’s example and set up a rural crime division.
“Most of this area is rural.”
Vice-chairman Councillor John Michael agreed and said he would like to see enhanced cover.
He said: “We don’t have a local bobby anymore, I would like to see more presence.
“The cutbacks have gone a little bit too far. A lot of parishes are probably unhappy with the coverage.”
But chairman Bob Bowley asked the council what people would be prepared to pay to see enhanced policing.
He said: “Are we prepared to accept that it will have to cost a bit more?”
While Coun Michael suggested that special constables made up of volunteers could be used as an extra presence in the village, Coun Bowley said there would still be a cost element involved as volunteers would still need training, equipment and transport to get them around rural areas.
He said: “I do think we need to make some comment on the cost of it.
“Parishioners can have what they want if they are willing to pay for it.”
Coun Patrick suggested a one per cent increase would make a “huge impact” and said she would rather pay the increase “for the cover that we need”.
New councillor Trevor Geens, who was co-opted onto the parish council on Monday night, suggested a better response from Worcester could be suggested rather than having someone who was “walking about not necessarily doing anything”.
A working party group was set-up to discuss the issue further.