Following on from some disturbing serious offences in the village recently, the BRA was approached by Surrey Police asking for assistance in communicating with the local community to allay concerns that residents may have. This is something the BRA is more than happy to facilitate and on 25th October a public meeting open to all residents was held at Bookham Baptist Church.
BRA’s Geraldine Brassett reports:
This proactive approach by Surrey police was positively received and residents were joined by Inspector James Green, Borough Commander for Mole Valley and the meeting was facilitated by Gil Caldwell, Curate of St Nicolas’ Church.
Bookham residents were invited to submit questions in advance of the meeting so that the content was focussed on those areas of most concern.
Before the question-and-answer session however, Inspector Green provided details of recent crime statistics within Bookham. These looked at the different types of crimes committed and the incidence of these. Most importantly, these statistics evidenced that the number of crimes committed in our area remains very low and that the majority of those are minor in nature.
And whilst there had been a small increase in reported crimes over the summer months this was in line with the experience in past years and the expectation is that numbers will fall again as we progress into Autumn and Winter.
The question-and-answer session focussed on five key areas as follows:
Anti-social behaviour (ASB)
Inspector Green provided a significant amount of information during this session and some key points were:
Due to the way statistics are reported, these could be interpreted as there having been sexual assaults in our area but this is not the case and the Inspector was able to confirm that these have been no such assaults in the last three months.
Shoplifting remains a problem as covered by the recent news reports. Inspector Green explained how they are now working closely with affected businesses to address the issues created by shoplifting and are seeking to improve their support in this area.
ASB represents the highest number of reported crimes although numbers unusually decreased over the summer. The statistics on ASB cover a wide range of crimes from nuisance neighbours to rowdy behaviour. Inspector Green emphasised how local organisations work together to try and resolve these issues. In addition for those affected by criminal activity there are services to help. for example Victim Support. (www.victimsupport.org.uk).
As well as discussing past experiences, the meeting also focussed on the steps residents can take to support Surrey Police. These include:
Ensuring all crimes or suspicions of crimes are reported. Whilst an isolated incident may not seem important these reports can help police in spotting trends and can support preventative action being taken. Evidence is important and Surrey Police have been helped on many occasions by video footage from mobile phones or video doorbells so please include this with any report.
Posting information on social media is not the same as reporting it to the police so the Surrey Police website should always be used.
Related to the above, the BRA’s Les Huett, explained that there is now a new page on the BRA website that provides quick links to Service Requests and Reporting. This page includes the link to the Surrey Police crime reporting web page referenced above. (See page 6)
Simon Edge, Chair of the BRA closed the meeting, thanking Inspector Green for initiating the meeting and for his open and honest responses to the questions raised.
He referenced the positive feedback for Surrey Police that had been provided by some attendees as part of the meeting and reiterated the key message that Bookham remains a safe place to live but that we must all play our part in helping to ensure that this continues to be the case.