We all deserve to feel safe where we live. That means creating communities which feel welcoming and where police are trusted by local people, and where you can walk down the street you call home without fear.
Unfortunately, there has been some very concerning developments when it comes to community policing. Over the last 12 years, the Conservative Government has slashed police numbers. This has equated to a loss of 21,000 officers, and national crime rising at an unprecedented rate. For context, over 1.6 million incidents of anti-social behaviour were recorded in 2021 alone.
This national picture has obviously had a knock-on effect locally, where police in Tameside have been working hard to tackle anti-social behaviour. I wholeheartedly share the concerns of residents who have contacted me about anti-social behaviour – including young people riding illegal off-road bikes – around the local area.
Not only is this kind of behaviour extremely dangerous, but it is also intimidating and generates excessive noise in residential areas of Tameside. It just isn’t right, and it needs sorting.
That’s why last week, I held an urgent meeting with Tameside’s Borough Commander, Chief Superintendent Phil Davies, to discuss this very issue. Tackling the problem of off-road illegal biking has become a district priority for Greater Manchester Police, and I’ve seen data which shows it is a particular problem in Denton and Audenshaw.
I was grateful to Superintendent Davies for meeting with me and allowing me to frankly express the concerns of myself and local residents. Since 2021 Tameside Police has been under new management – being led by Chief Superintendent Rob Cousen – and there have been some really promising improvements. For example, there’s been an 18 per cent reduction in antisocial behaviour, a 33 per cent increase in arrests and a 25 per cent decrease in reported hate crimes.
While this progress is to be commended, Tameside Police are the first to admit that more work needs to be done to tackle illegal and antisocial behaviour. Following my meeting with Superintendent Davies, extra traffic police will be visibly deployed in the local area to offer reassurance and to detain perpetrators. Tameside Police will also act swiftly on any information which is provided by the public, and this has already resulted in the seizure of motorbikes, as well as several arrests.
I’d encourage residents to report any information they may have to Crimestoppers UK on 0800 555 111. Your report will remain confidential and could make a real difference.
I’ll continue to liaise regularly with the police in Tameside and am hopeful that – with the assistance of the local community – we can nip this problem in the bud and build a safer Tameside for everyone.