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Rochdale police column: Dispersal order for Littleborough, shoplifting in Kingsway and the Milnrow and Newhey Street Watch scheme

Date published: 15 April 2019


Inspector Robert MacGregor, of the Rochdale East Neighbourhood Policing Team, on what the police are doing to tackle local issues across the borough.


I hope that over the last week that residents of Littleborough will have seen more police and felt reassured that we are aware of the issues occurring and will take action to deal with problems affecting the community.

Although the work is still ongoing, I wanted to provide an update on our plans for the next week for Littleborough, as well as some other issues we are dealing with.

In Littleborough, a dispersal order has been authorised covering Hare Hill Park, Station Road, and the wider Littleborough area in the evenings this week: it will be used where necessary.

Officers have told me that where young people have been told of the dispersal order that they have been willing to move on without needing to be formally issued with a dispersal notice, so the tactic is proving effective without notices needing to be issued.

I should add that the officers have also told me that the vast majority of young people in the area who they speak to are polite and respectful and causing no problems whatsoever – we are not interested in ‘policing’ these young people. It is the individuals who feel they can cause damage, abuse people, and steal from shops which we are looking for.

The Hollingworth Lake Fun Fair has now arrived, and I hope that children and adults alike are able to enjoy themselves there over the Easter holidays. I think I would be naïve if I did not expect there to be at least one or two issues at the fair, but we will try and strike a balance between being available if there are problems, but at the same time avoiding heavily policing a family-friendly community event.

You will see police regularly checking in at the fair, but I will not be asking for a constant presence by officers. If there are crimes or disorder in the vicinity, then we will review our approach.

For my final point in relation to Littleborough, I would like to correct one accusation that was made regarding how this increase in staffing has been achieved with a suggestion that I was trying to spend the annual overtime budget for the neighbourhood before the end of the financial year.

The increase in patrols has required officers to work on their days off, but the officers who have offered to do this have done so and simply reallocated their rest day to a day in the next few weeks.

 

A knuckle duster seized near the Hollingworth Lake Visitors Centre
A knuckle duster seized near the Hollingworth Lake Visitors Centre

 

This week I have authorised only three hours overtime for one neighbourhood officer – PC Lucas McGregor – whom was dealing with a suspect arrested in possession of drugs and a stun gun/knuckle duster near the Hollingworth Lake Visitors Centre.

The item seized is pictured above. I hope that the community will agree that this arrest was well-worth the three hours overtime.

In other activity by the Neighbourhood Team, PCSO Shaw and PCSO Ali held a meeting with businesses on the Kingsway Retail Park.

The stores at that location are experiencing problems with shoplifting and we hoped to discuss ways of working together to try and improve the situation. I understand that this meeting did not go as well as we had hoped, with differing perspectives on what resources should be allocated to the problem by the police.

There are very difficult decisions to make in relation to demands on police, and in spite of wanting to do our best for everyone, we have to concentrate our resources on the issues causing the most harm to the community – issues that are particularly affecting Littleborough, Milnrow and Newhey at the moment.

I do understand the frustration the stores in the retail park must feel and I have asked that the Neighbourhood Officer covering the retail park speak again to the stores about the problem to try and find a way forward which does not take resources from other neighbourhoods.

Finally, we are nearing the launch of the Milnrow and Newhey Street Watch scheme. In a nutshell, Street Watch is a citizenship scheme which the police support but are not in charge of. It is a way for residents to build closer links with neighbours and to look out for each other.

If successful, I hope to roll out this scheme across other neighbourhoods which I am responsible for.

In the meantime, if you are interested in the work being done and want to know more, you can join the Facebook page ‘M&N Resident Watch’ to get updates.

Thank you for your support.

Inspector Robert MacGregor
Rochdale East Neighbourhood Policing Team

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