Calls are being made for more police resources to crack down on “a rise in crime” in the Ribble Valley.
The leader of Ribble Valley Borough Council, Coun. Ken Hind, believes there’s been an increase in rural crime in recent months due to a number of reasons.
However, a superintendant has stressed the Ribble Valley has a “dedicated and strong” policing team, while Labour officials have accused the local Tories of being “hypocrites”.
Coun. Hind said: “Crime has increased by 31.22% over the last year in the Ribble Valley as the police commissioner strips out resources from the rural areas to transfer to urban areas.
“There are a number of features of the rise of rural crime ...the first is the closure of the police station front desks, the second is the reduction of police officers in the area although the numbers will go up in the near future due to pressure and the third is that calls from the public to the police are answered in Preston! Officers in mobile vehicles are sent from Blackburn or Colne to deal with incidents as far away as Longridge.”
He added: “Greater resources spent in our towns like Clitheroe, Whalley and Longridge will contribute to reducing the growth of anti-social behaviour, violence, drug dealing and low-level crime generally.”
Responding, Supt Russ Procter, of Lancashire Constabulary’s East Division, said: “Ribble Valley has a very dedicated and strong local policing team supported by response teams from across the East Division.
“We have recently invested a further three officers to increase numbers based in Clitheroe Police Station - which is a positive and keeps the local footprint of police Officers and PCSO’s.”
Meanwhile, Mr David Water, vice-chair of the Labour party’s borough branch, said: “The local Conservatives have produced figures indicating that crime in the borough has risen by 31% over the last 12 months. There have also been numerous reports of an increase in anti-social behaviour. There appears to have been a reduced police presence in the area over the last few years and that is a real concern for residents. But I find it somewhat hypocritical of the Tories to try to pass the blame for this onto others. In the last three general elections they campaigned for cuts in public expenditure; they voted for cuts in public expenditure; and they have delivered cuts in public expenditure.”