Chief Superintendent Stuart Bell took time off from hunting down “unfriendliness” on Twitter (Photo 1) to put in an appearance at Bexley’s People Overview and Scrutiny meeting to inform the Committee that real crime was on the up.
“Over all it is up 10%. More than 14,000 crimes in the last twelve months. Burglary is up 15% but Bexley’s detection rate is better than other London boroughs.”
Violent crime has gone up over the past year but the last quarter’s figures are better.
“Domestic violence is at a five year high and Anti-Social Behaviour is up. 5,000 calls this year, 10% more than last.” There have been about 60 999 calls for Bexley each day. A big increase.”
The fate of Bexleyheath police station will be announced “in the next two or three weeks”. (From 11th October.) Things are moving towards a three borough command structure, Bexley, Greenwich and Bromley. “It will be quite challenging.”
Better news is that “the number of ward officers on the borough will be increased by ten by Christmas, taking the total to 42”. It will mean two dedicated ward PCs and a PCSO. The individual numbers will be adjusted for the new ward boundaries due next May. Six wards could get three PCs.
Unfortunately there would be about 25 fewer officers in the borough overall than there were a year ago.
There were questions about the reckless cycling and motorcycling which is beginning to plague Bexley’s streets. Bell; “Is it a crime or is it a safety issue" is a factor inhibiting action. “If we catch them and a child gets hurt It is difficult to get it right.”
Chairman Councillor James Hunt is made of sterner stuff, he wanted to see headteachers forbidding the riding of bikes to school or “someone is going to get killed” but the Chief Superintendent thought it would be too difficult to enforce and “it wouldn’t have much of an effect”. (It’s so much easier to monitor their activities on social media.)
Councillor Sharon Massey (Conservative, Danson Park) came out strongly against practical measures to curb wheelies on the school run. “They need steering in the right direction rather than a big stick. They don’t intend to hurt people.”
Councillor Brenda Langstead (Labour, Slade Green) wanted more information about the closure of Bexleyheath police station which several Councillors regarded as a foregone conclusion. Ex-copper Councillor Alan Downing had noticed that policing was going backwards.
The Chief Superintendent said that policing Bexleyheath town centre from Marlowe House (Sidcup) would be a big problem. He would like to see somewhere in Bexleyheath where officers could go on and off duty, it would have to be in commercial premises not in a police office. Travelling to and from Sidcup is not really practical.