Opinions of Newark residents on police station relocation aired on live stream with Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner
The new Police and Crime Commissioner said she will leave no stone unturned in the fight against crime and anti-social behaviour that has plagued Newark.
Caroline Henry made the pledge at the first of several question-and-answer sessions being held over the potential relocation of Newark Police Station, as well as her wider police and crime plan to be published in November.
Also on the live stream last night (Wednesday), Chief Constable Craig Guildford said he would do whatever in his power to increase resources at Newark, but recognised savings needed to be made.
Mr Guildford said: “We work very closely with the council. If we were to move to the new location, we would be closer together — improving the joint working. It’s the conversations you have over a coffee that make a big difference.”
Of police potentially getting stuck behind the level crossing barriers, he said: “We can influence Network Rail to ensure the barriers are right and working.
“We have people at different sides of the town, perhaps some additional resources from elsewhere as well.”
Mrs Henry said: “I made a promise I would be a listening commissioner. What matters to you is what matters to me.
“As we emerge from coronavirus, now, more than ever, we need visitors back in our town centres. We need to get them buzzing with activity once again.
“I will be unapologetically tough on crime and anti-social behaviour and will leave no stone unturned in the fight against crime and vandalism that has plagued Newark.
“I will work on measures to make it difficult for those who seek to cause damage, and will continue to push the police for more officers on the street.”
Of reinvesting any money saved through the proposed relocation, Mr Guildford said: “Any money saved throughout the time I’ve been chief has been reinvested, predominantly in new officers and IT.
“I’m aware the public sector will certainly have to trim its hair post-covid to repay the £470bn. I’d much rather take any further savings in bricks than I would in people, thereby maximising the number of officers.
“My preference is more on the beat, less square feet.”
Asked if Newark had become a backwater in policing, he said: “Newark is my local nick. I’ve only ever increased the resources at Newark; brought the CID and local intelligence back to Newark, as well as Reacher teams. I also created the town centre Pc role.”
One resident asked if Newark police were best serving its community when officers have to travel to Nottingham or Mansfield to take offenders into custody.
Mr Guildford said custody figures had fallen significantly and that to run a suite was a huge investment.
“It’s a decision that needs to be taken carefully,” he said. “From Newark, we can rely on other parts of the force to help, particularly operational staff — dogs, firearms, public order, traffic and road crime.
“It’s not just the cops that book on at Newark, policing is complex.”
Of spending more resources on fly-tipping, Mrs Henry said: “We work with our partners on this issue. I hate fly-tipping and littering.
“We’ve received a report from the farmers in the area who say what an issue this is and I will absolutely be putting something about this in my police and crime plan.”
Plans to work with Newark Ambulance Station, opposite the police station, were explored, however, the ambulance service said it had plans of its own.