Leigh Journal Column - Police numbers, Crime & Fly tipping

Law and order is the number one issue for my constituents and, I am glad to say, it will return as the principle focus for the Government once the crisis initiated by the global coronavirus pandemic is brought under control and defeated. 

Day after day, we hear of the hard work of people from nurses, to lorry drivers and shop workers who are, amongst so many more, keeping Britain running so we can return to normality. 

The 30th June is a key date as it is the last day that the United Kingdom can ask the European Union for an extension of our ongoing Brexit transition negotiations.  I do not have the sense that my constituents or many people across Leigh are desperate to heed the siren call to drag out a process which should have been finished years ago – we need to focus on your priorities.  

Greater Manchester Police are continuing to recruit additional policemen and women, and many are being allocated to our local police force in the Wigan Borough.  It must feel like such an odd time to begin such an exciting career, but we do need them urgently.  The police normally have a huge event for the attestation or swearing in ceremony at the beginning of the officers’ career like the one I attended last Autumn when 347 new members of the GMP force began their careers.  With the ban on large gatherings being in place I do hope that they have found or will find an opportunity to celebrate the start of their service. 

Most crime is considered to be of the low level type but the impact of anti-social behaviour and fly-tipping are often grossly misunderstood in terms of the impact they have on those most effected. 

To hear how someone’s van was stolen recently can mean far more than a loss of a mode of transport.  It can shut down a small business if all the work is done from it or it can cause huge additional expense if tools and other equipment was in it at the time. 

Fly tipping has been on the rise recently but, credit where credit is due, Wigan Council opened up their domestic waste disposal sites earlier than anywhere else in Greater Manchester because all of the other councils had a joint contract so it prevented them from making the right decision earlier. 

Good local policies, more police officers and effective collaboration are key to tackling some of our local problems.  Members of Parliament also have an important role but the first thing for us to do is to understand what is going on across our constituencies and the wider area.  I have been on police patrols and held a series of public meetings with local police sergeants so I can hear a full range of concerns which I take up with a huge range of people from those in the local community to the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister. 

It is tough at the moment but I think we will emerge stronger.