As reported in the Dispatch last week, Hucknall residents are fed up up with the rise in incidents of anti-social behaviour (ASB) and criminal damage that have been happening in the town over recent weeks.
In particular, they blame former Labour Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Paddy Tipping for overseeing the closure of the town’s police station.
And now, veteran councillor Jim Blagden (Ash Ind), who represents Hucknall Central, has hit out at the current Conservative PCC Caroline Henry and the town’s MP Mark Spencer (Con) for what he says is ‘silence and a lack of action’ over the issue.
Coun Blagden said: “This is not the first time that silent Spencer or his Conservative colleagues have refused or not commented on serious issues impacting Hucknall residents.
"Residents are getting in touch on a daily basis with their concerns about crime, fear of crime and the lack of police resources in Hucknall.
"Let’s be clear – the responsibility for policing lies with the Conservative PCC and the Conservative Government.
"We have no police station in the heart of Hucknall, we hardly ever see police on the beat and they have ignored our calls for a public meeting to discuss the issue in Hucknall.”
Official figures show that crime and ASB has dropped 23 per cent in the past year.
However, perception of crime has risen with residents commenting on incidents on a daily basis.
And Coun Blagden and his fellow Hucknall Independents are now putting calling on Mr Spencer to end his silence and answer five key issues they want to address:
Will he back a campaign to get a policing base that the public can access in the heart of Hucknall? In 2019, he was elected on a manifesto to recruit 20,000 new police officers – how many of them have been deployed in Hucknall? Why, since 2010, are there less full-time police officers in Nottinghamshire? Why have you not raised issues about crime and anti-social behaviour affecting Hucknall in Parliament since being elected? Why are you remaining silent on the serious issues of crime and anti-social behaviour in Hucknall?
Coun Blagden continued: “The council is doing its bit through the employment of a community protection team.
"We don’t have to do but choose to do so.
"I don’t want to get into a political slanging match but the reality is that the Conservatives are meant to be the party of law and order and our MP should be answerable.
"If silence and lack of action from our MP solved crime then Hucknall would be a safer place.”
Replying, Mr Spencer said: “Anti-social behaviour is a real terror across Nottinghamshire.
"I know that Nottinghamshire Police are working hard to tackle ASB.
“This Government is working to empower police forces, giving them the tools to protect hard working people and pursue those who have chosen not to follow the law.
“The Government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 contains a number of measures that will tackle crime and protect communities.
“I am sure that Hucknall residents will be pleased to know that more than 13,500 extra police officers have been recruited across England and Wales since 2019.
“While I would welcome a policing base in Hucknall, the main priority should be getting more police onto the beat, on our streets and protecting residents.
"I will continue to raise my concerns, and those of my constituents, about ASB and other criminal activity with the Home Secretary and her ministers.”