Patrols get the credit for drop in disorder crimes

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HIGH-profile police patrols have seen a dramatic fall in disorder offences across the Morpeth sector.

There has been a 55 per cent reduction in anti-social behaviour incidents since October when 102 offences were reported, down to 66 incidents in November and 46 in December.

The fall is particularly noteworthy as it has come at one of the busiest times of the year for policing, with Hallowe’en, Guy Fawkes Night and the Christmas period all seeing more revellers on the streets.

The month-on-month reduction has been linked to targeted police patrols and action, especially over the last month.

Morpeth Neighbourhood Sergeant Sharon Wilmore-Greaves said: “Month on month, there has been a decrease in anti-social behaviour across the Morpeth sector.

“Both anti-social behaviour and alcohol-related anti-social behaviour has decreased.

“This is as a result of targeted patrols and positive action by the neighbourhood and 24/7 response officers working together with Isos Housing officers and the licensees of Morpeth through Pub Watch.”

In response to complaints from the community, Morpeth neighbourhood officers carried out high-profile patrols at specific times to gather information, enforce the law and deal robustly with any anti-social or criminal behaviour, as well as provide reassurance to the public that people’s concerns are taken seriously.

Sgt Wilmore-Greaves said: “In response to issues raised by Morpeth residents, Operation Gin Sling tasked officers to conduct visits to the public houses in Morpeth to check that the establishments were adhering to their licence, not serving drunk or underage people and to monitor the associated alcohol-related anti-social behaviour to the premises.

“The high-profile police presence has contributed to a reduction in alcohol-related anti-social behaviour and crime in Morpeth town during the festive period, with only two crimes of theft and one damage linked to the licensed premises. There were no alcohol-related incidents.”

A total of 37 checks were carried out at eight premises during the month.

Specific problems had previously been raised around Seen night club, but they have now been substantially reduced thanks to close partnership working between staff at the venue and police.

There were only two noise-related incidents in December, which were dealt with immediately.

Operation Gin Sling was in addition to checks by police and Northumberland County Council licensing officials prior to Christmas.

Sgt Wilmore-Greaves said: “Morpeth is a safe town to go out in and socialise and we intend to maintain that.”

Officers are also working to address concerns in rural areas and have organised a series of events throughout the year.

The first of those will take place later this month when members of the Neighbourhood Police Team will take the mobile police station to Hadston and Widdrington.

The facility will spend a full day in each of the communities, while officers will be walking around the streets and retail areas, speaking to residents and asking if they have any concerns.

It will be an opportunity for members of the public to meet their local officers and discuss any crime or disorder issues.

Sgt Wilmore-Greaves and Neighbourhood Beat Officer Paul Dent will make a note of the issues raised to consider what can be done to address them, working in partnership with other relevant agencies and authorities.

Sgt Wilmore-Greaves said: “The issues raised by the residents will help shape the Morpeth Neighbourhood Priorities across the sector.

“The issues will be addressed and the outcome will be reported back to residents via the Northumbria Police website, local media, parish council meetings and the neighbourhood officers themselves.

“The Hadston and Widdrington dates are the first of many opportunities for the neighbourhood team to work in the rural villages of the Morpeth sector this year, with further dates arranged for the rest of the year.”

The mobile police station will be in Hadston on Saturday, January 26, from 9am to 8pm. It will move to Widdrington on Sunday, January 27, where it can be found from 9am to 7pm.

For more information, visit www.northumbria.police.uk