Mike Le-Surf said:
“I would like to thank Mr. Alston for coming to East Thurrock as this part of the constituency is often overlooked when meetings of this nature are arranged. His candid appraisal of the situation was refreshing to hear but raised huge questions regarding the safety of citizens in East Thurrock over the coming years.
Twenty three police stations have already closed across Essex and Mr. Altson is clear that in his opinion more police stations will be closed in the future. This is very bad news for residents who raised strong concerns about the closure of Corringham Police station. With the expansion of DPWorld on our doorstep, the prospect of a lower Thames crossing plus major housing developments, a local police station is still viewed by residents as an important part of policing in our constituency.
“Residents also want to see more police on the street dealing with incidents and providing a community presence. This was a view backed up by police officer Nick Hampson who said that high visibility policing always has a benefit. In contradiction, Mr. Alston stated that “policing was changing” and traditional methods like “bobbies on the beat” did not fit the current model of policing and would not be coming back.
Police in East Thurrock and across Essex do a fantastic job with the resources they have. But it is now so clear to most people that the resources are nowhere near enough. When asked directly by a local resident if he had the tools for the job Mr. Alston could not say yes. I would suggest he does not! This is why he has raised the council tax for residents of East Thurrock by raising the Essex police precept due to huge cuts from Tory central government.
Mr. Alston’s mantra that crime is continuing to come down did not seem to be the perception of the many East Thurrock residents who attended a poorly advertised meeting. I challenged Mr. Alston’s view. Many residents stated that they had given up calling the police as they had difficulty getting through or when in dangerous situations the response time had been woefully poor. Recorded crime may be going down but many crimes are not being reported and many remain unsolved.
Residents stated that they have sometimes even been talked out of making a report and have been told there is not enough staff so they should “take it up with the Home Office”. Morale in the force is low.
“I suggested to Mr. Alston that he was currently caught up in a race to the bottom due to government cuts and asked if he had made representation on behalf of residents to the government. Less police stations, less visibility, less police to record crime, less police to deal with crime, less solved crimes.
Despite the local Conservative propaganda implying they had saved Corringham Police station this will remain closed and may be sold off in the future.
“Labour did not support the introduction of elected Police and Crime Commissioners and will reform the flawed system if returned to power in 2015. I will make sure that, if elected, the safety of residents across the constituency is one of my top priorities”.