Monday, 7 January 2019

Trouble at, Town...

When I came here in 1996 I read all the local papers to discover what the town was like I found it was full of crime!  Garages robbed, cars stolen and various other local problems like flashers and so on.  However a month alter the annual results were published and the stats were very revealing.  Back in London my area came under Paddington, car crime here, stolen radios etc, amounted to about 650 a year, Maida Vale was top with well over 700 such crimes.  This town had 24.  The screaming headlines in the press were a bit over the top I mused.  Today, with some 10,000 extra people arriving the somewhat laid back town is a wee bit different.  Add to this the shortage of police caused by government policies, police misuse of funds (funding 'gay rights' and 'trans' events for PC reasons rather than policing), and the increase of drugs availability often via outreach from London gangs, and the atmosphere is a wee bit less wholesome.  That said it remains a good place to live, especially for the folks with young kids and those er, past their best.  Excitement has however reached fever pitch with two incidents in recent days.

Not long after 5 pm on Saturday, as the market was closing and many were leaving Tesco with their shopping, a fight between what appears to be two large groups developed outside in the space between the store and the 'Bull' pub.   In the mellee which followed one man received a knife wound in the hand and a general 'fear' element affected the local facebook page, especially among those who were not there and unlikely to be there any time after five.  It appears among those arrested were people aged over 50!  This is understandable and many posted about their fear, the way the town has decayed in recent years and only a few, mostly men, indicated that such situations are rare and we are unlikely to meet one.  I have had only one real confrontation, with a few neds, in 22 years for instance.  However the fear is understandable.  Burglaries have increased as street lights are extinguished late on, criminals from outside pass through stealing what they can from town and village and move on, impossible to catch unless the police get lucky.  Situations like this lead to fear, women especially, and more so if on there own.   
The fact is this may be two groups known to one another, local lads maybe or folks from outside seeking trouble.  It could be drug related but we will not know for some time I suspect.  Several people have been arrested, know doubt soon to appear charged and remained in custody, and hopefully the police who reacted reasonably quickly can put folks minds to rest.     

Today, with the town rested and at ease, children returned to school, all others returned to work while I remain at home enjoying my leisure, suddenly an ambulance helicopter lands in the park opposite.  This curtailed my screening of the 'EPL on Quest' while I attempted a photograph through dirty windows.  It was worrying at first as the four men unhurriedly walked down the street round the corner as I know people there and wondered what had occurred.  
Later, much later, an ambulance arrived and a man with serious injuries was transferred to the helicopter and taken away.  All this took time of course and soon the social media and press were filled with speculation and little information.  
The individual involved did not come from round the corner but further away in some flats where a confrontation had occurred.  Another gentleman (note the use of this word) was removed from the flats and arrested for 'affray.'  He also assaulted an 'emergency worker' and is now helping police with their enquiries.  This does not set hearts at peace though I suspect if drugs were not involved in the first incident bad words have been exchanged between groups of young and old 'gentlemen' and the second one may well be neighbours or 'friendly gentlemen' who have fallen out.  I suspect the populace are no way involved nor need to fear.  

Everyone wishes to see what is happening!  The press have of course listed all the stabbings, fights, crimes in one long list forgetting to state that almost all are yobs of suitable behaviour, domestic incidents and robbery, still it's the 'shock' element that sells innit?
The police policy has changed recently and they claim officers were nearby patrolling when the first incident occurred, this may be true.  Better organisation sees more police on the ground, even if just PCSO's, and the public prefer this.  History tells us the town has seen worse, crimes have always occurred and common sense and good policing, with public support, helps alleviate the damage caused.  


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