Ottery safe as crime rate falls
CRIME in Ottery St Mary fell over the last nine months according to members of the town's Community Safety Partnership, however concerns remain about ongoing problems.
CRIME in Ottery St Mary fell over the last nine months according to members of the town's Community Safety Partnership, however concerns remain about ongoing problems.The partnership's members were told at a meeting held at Ottery St Mary Town Council on Monday, January 29, that for nine months up to early January this year recorded crime in the Ottery St Mary area fell to 523 offences.This is compared to 588 crimes for a similar period the year before.This 11 per cent decrease saw reductions across all types of burglary, criminal damage, violence and vehicle crime.Gerry Moore, community safety officer for the partnership, said: "This demonstrates that not only Ottery St Mary but the whole of East Devon district continues to be one of the safest places in the country in which to live. "It also shows that partnership working, with local agencies and organisations making their contribution to community safety, is essential for tackling crime."Despite the fall in crime, concerns that officers in the town are being spread too thinly led town councillors to ask Inspector Jim Gale, the officer with responsibility for rural East Devon, to address the general town council meeting on Monday evening, February 4.Among the issues raised were continued antisocial behaviour at the Land of Canaan car park and illegal parking due to a lack of traffic wardens.According to councillors there have been reports youths were driving around the car park recently in a three wheeled Reliant Robin car and turning sharply to flip it on its roof.Councillor Ray Bloxham said: "I used to be a police officer and I would ask whether we have enough officers."Insp Gale said, while the area officers have responsibility for is large, they had the staff to cover it.He said: "We have some challenges with resourcing patrol staff in the area and I currently have five officers on extended sick leave."Ottery Sergeant Nick Harper said, while he would like more officers on the beat, Ottery was well staffed.Addressing the problems with illegal parking, he said, during the transfer of parking enforcement to Devon County Council, the police would keep their powers but, after the change, parking may not be one of their top priorities.He said, until then, officers would continue targeting those parked illegally.