On-the-beat plea to halt crime tide

Residents say officers should spend more time on the beat to help neighbourhoods feel safer
Residents say officers should spend more time on the beat to help neighbourhoods feel safer
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VICTIMS of crime claim the police need to up their game to increase the number of crimes solved.

The message comes after The Gazette uncovered more than 13,000 crimes had gone undetected in Blackpool and Fylde in the last year.

Residents say officers should spend more time on the beat to help neighbourhoods feel safer.

Donald Sharples, 88, from South Shore, whose wife was robbed in central Blackpool, said: “There are too many crimes undetected.

“I think people feel frightened – especially the elderly, a lot of them are in a bad way.

“My wife was a victim of crime. She got mugged on Talbot Road by two men and a woman. They took her purse and cleared off.

“They were never found – it was upsetting.”

According to figures, released to The Gazette through a Freedom of Information request, there were 13,141 undetected crimes in Blackpool and Fylde between November 2010 and October this year – as of November 3 when the statistics were pulled from the police’s crime recording system.

Among those, 708 were shoplifting offences – 83 in Fylde, 220 in Blackpool South, 94 in Blackpool North and 311 for central Blackpool.

But a Blackpool security officer said the police are up against offenders who go armed with weapons and have special tricks up their sleeves to avoid being caught.

He added that many career criminals travel into Blackpool on a weekly basis from Liverpool and London to target shops.

Billy Balfour, a security officer at Peacocks on Bank Hey Street, central Blackpool, said: “There could be five different teams working around town on a Saturday morning.

“There are many who use tools such as snips to cut the security tags, foil bags, or detag equipment.

“But we catch people everyday. The stores have radio link ups so we can communicate and we put the cameras on them.

“We also have a top ten shoplifters list and it’s always the same people who come up. I think the courts are more to blame than the police – they give out lenient sentences.”

Raymond Booth is a victim of crime. The 64-year-old’s shed burst into flames after an arsonist set fire to a nearby car before fleeing the scene undetected.

Mr Booth, of Wyre Grove, Blackpool, said: “Some 13,000 unsolved crimes is too many. It makes people feel unsafe.

“I don’t think there is enough deterrent for the offenders.”

Robert Johnson, 38, who lives near Stanley Park, said: “There shouldn’t be that many crimes undetected – it’s not acceptable.

“The police should be out on the streets more, instead of trying to catch someone who is going a fraction over the speed limit.

“It’s not about solving crimes any more, it’s about paperwork.”

Police chiefs have defended their record on solving crime, claiming they are focused on bringing offenders to task and the reported incidents remained active investigations.

They also said the division’s detection rate is on a par with other areas of the county.