A crime meeting with Bolton councillors and local police representatives was attended by more than 160 residents on Wednesday night. For those that couldn’t make it, here are some of the highlights.
1. Crime is up by 40%
Police officers revealed that crime is up in Westhoughton by some 40% although much of this is attributed to the fact that more people are reporting crimes including low-level incidents.
2. Travel agent robbery could be connected to Atherton incident
Police are pursuing inquiries into the armed robbery carried out at Hays travel agents on Market Street and are investigating suggestions that it may have been carried out by the same attackers at a similar incident at an Atherton travel agent. Four men have been arrested in connection with that incident.
With regards to the recent shop robberies, two youths have been arrested, one of which has been charged.
3. Thieves stole Tesco’s biscuits
It is believed that a robbery at Tesco today involved four youths who stole boxes of biscuits. It may have only been biscuits this time but staff are fearful after a previous armed robbery.
4. 95% of crime is committed by professionals from elsewhere
Police say that only a tiny minority of crimes are being committed by local people and most are carried out by outside criminals or professional gangs who aim for high-value raids, such as stealing high-performance cars that are under three years old. Police said nearly a large percentage of crimes occur because residents have not secured their property.
5. Businesses offer police an office space
Local businesses have offered to give police officers an office space in the town centre to help them increase their presence following the closure of the police post near Pavilion Square.
6. Police recognise My Westhoughton as a space for residents to share
Police officers told the meeting that social media pages like My Westhoughton had become a place where residents are able to share reports of criminal activity with each other. The police admitted that they aren’t too good at social media themselves and they don’t always get good news out when people have been arrested or convicted, or when operations take place.
7. Residents want to do more with Home Watch schemes
Westhoughton town councillor David Wilkinson has requested that the town council discuss the development of the Home Watch schemes that run across the town. These schemes see neighbours looking out for one another.
8. Support for young people is high on the agenda
People raised concerns about youth provision at the meeting. Residents may not know that Westhoughton Town Council gives a grant to Bolton Youth Services and the Bolton Lads and Girls Club to provide support for young people in Westhoughton.
9. What next?
Bolton councillors say there will be more meetings in the future. Bolton West MP Chris Green and a representative of the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, will be invited.
You can add your name to our campaign which is calling for the return of Westhoughton’s axed police officers.