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Town councillors turn up heat on police boss

By UttoxeterPostandTimes.3522974.UttoxeterPostandTimes  |  Posted: February 14, 2014

  • Matthew Ellis

  • Uttoxeter Town Hall.

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UTTOXETER’S police boss has come in for heavy criticism after civic chiefs described the town as a ‘pick and mix stand for criminals’.

Last month, Labour town and borough councillor Martin Blencowe revealed details of a series of burglaries in town.

After receiving the information through a police text messaging service, Councillor Blencowe said Uttoxeter’s police force was under-resourced.

However, since bringing the issue to light, Councillor Blencowe has not received any messages about crime in town - despite being aware of another recent burglary near his home.

Now the borough council planning committee chairman and Labour town council colleague James Russell want ‘answers’ from Tory police and crime commissioner Matthew Ellis.

Speaking at this week’s town council meeting, Councillor Blencowe said: “Press reports said the police were under fire but I’d like to make it clear that I don’t consider that to be the case. I think the people who control the police are under fire.

“The police do an excellent job with the resources they have available. We know they have a massive commitment to what they do.

“I just wonder if the text messaging service has been scrapped or if I’ve just been taken off the list.”

Officers announced two weeks ago they had arrested two men after finding items they suspected were taken during recent burglaries. They will return for questioning in March.

Councillor Blencowe said: “The way those people were apprehended involved a PCSO on the street asking questions.

“There are now clearly fewer PCSOs on the streets. The ones we’re used to seeing – we’re no longer seeing them around.

“Mr Ellis announced there’s been a zero per cent increase in the police element of council tax for the coming year.

“But, with inflation at two per cent, that reads to me as another two per cent cut from the police budget – and he’s proud of that.

“We’re just like a pick and mix stand for local criminals to come into town and burgle our premises.”

“He’s playing politics with our police service and that’s something you should never do. We shouldn’t have politicians in charge of police.”

Councillor Russell said: “We must write to Matthew Ellis to find out what the levels of burglary are now and how that compares to previous years.

“We also need to find out if there are more or less police boots on the ground today than there were before he started.”

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