Jarrow councillor urges new Northumbria PCC Kim McGuinness to ‘walk the walk’

The new policing boss for Tyne and Wear has been urged to ‘walk the walk’ and follow through with her promises to put communities back at the heart of fighting crime.

Jarrow councillor Paul Milburn has issued the challenge to Kim McGuinness, who took over as Northumbria Police’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) in July.

And he has called on the freshly elected PCC to visit his Primrose ward to see firsthand the ‘lawless’ nuisance riders and drug use he claims is blighting the area.

“I want Kim to come here and walk the walk, I want her to demonstrate what she has said she is going to do,” said Coun Milburn, who was elected to South Tyneside Council as an independent in May’s round of local elections.

“I would like to see an analysis of what is going on, to understand hot spots and times of incidents – we cannot cover all bases 24/7, but things don’t happen 24/7.”

In a letter to the PCC, Coun Milburn claimed his constituents were ‘fed up’ with the police’s 101 phone service and urged his ward be used as a ‘as a pilot scheme to bring the police and community closer together’.

McGuinness stepped down from Newcastle City Council after she was elected as the Labour Party’s candidate for PCC to replace the outgoing Dame Vera Baird, who quit the post to become Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales.

During the campaign, McGuinness promised communities would be ‘at the heart of policing’ under her regime.

She said this would include a new police plan for the force, focusing on response times, neighbourhood policing and antisocial behaviour, as well as the ‘bigger issues causing crime and affecting victims’.

And this is what Coun Milburn says he wants to see.

He said: “I don’t want to see a panda car racing down to chase every bike, we just need a deterrent.

“What I wouldn’t want is a knee-jerk reaction, we want to see someone put a bit of thought into how to prevent it long term.”

A spokesman for the PCC’s office declined to comment but said a response would be sent to Coun Milburn directly.

Letter from South Tyneside councillor Paul Milburn (Primrose, Ind):

Dear Kim,

In the light of your recent election success and more importantly, your Election Address, I would like to bring your attention to the final paragraph.

“The police need to be visible on our streets and be connected to our communities and able to respond to local priorities. I will put the voice of our communities at the centre of the Police Force”.

As an Independent Councillor for Jarrow’s Primrose Ward, I would first of all like to ask you how in fact you intend to make the transitional change from what seems to be a “fire fighting responsive” mode to an intelligence based pro active type deterrent. I would argue that the officers not only need “to be visible on our streets” but also looking in the correct areas.

I have two main areas of concern within Primrose Ward, firstly the lawless practice of illegal motor cycles causing havoc and risk of serious injury to the public, within our greenspace and parks. I don’t expect for one minute for the officers to try and catch these offenders by giving chase in a patrol car, however I do expect an up to date reporting system in place, to allow the communities to report, and upload digital evidence to help catch these offenders and deter this dangerous activity.

My second concern is the drug taking habits of our young people again in our greenspace areas, which is probably the most worrying in the long term. This practice is widely evident by the number of discarded plastic bottles in and around our streams and rivers, the bottles are filled with water from the streams, and being used as an inhaler for the cannabis smoke. Again, I would argue that you are unlikely to see these activities on “our streets”. The officers need to be looking in the right areas, namely in our parks next to the streams.

I speak to Community groups every day and this is what they tell me about. They are fed up with ringing 101 and due to meagre Police resources, the offenders are able to leave the area unhindered. The over-riding factor is also in most cases, the perpetrators don’t fear being caught and don’t care about the consequences.

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Can I ask you to consider using this Ward as a pilot scheme to bring the Police and Community closer together. Not just by being visible, but by engagement of the public and encouraging them to report via an up to date, easy to use system. Through regular meetings to give the public the information to pressurise the Council into making changes that will help your officers. Installation of basic camera systems and improved security to public areas and parklands, are just two examples of what I’m talking about.

I hope you give this due consideration in an effort to return our Ward from this increasingly lawless society to a place of relative peace and mutual respect.

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Author: Hot reporter