Call for more Exmouth police before 'tragedy' hits

PUBLISHED: 06:30 27 February 2017

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More police are needed in Exmouth at night before ‘something tragic’ occurs, councillors have warned.

Members of Exmouth Town Council said this week there was a shortage of officers to deal with antisocial behaviour. However, the town’s top police officer has said there are enough officers to meet demand.

Councillor Brian Bailey, a retired taxi driver, said: “In the good old days, when you were out working in Exmouth, there were several cars of police travelling round from 9pm to 2am or 3am. Now my former colleagues tell me you are lucky to see one policeman, or two possibly.We are desperately in need of police before something tragic occurs.

“The situation is going from bad to worse and, if anything occurs now, by the time the fast response team hurtles down from Exeter, the whole thing’s dispersed, some poor soul’s lying in a pool of blood, and the culprits have gone.”

Councillor Maddy Chapman said: “Licensees are worried. We have been told that there are problems. The fact that we haven’t seen them doesn’t mean they aren’t there.”

Cllr Chapman called on Devon and Cornwall Police bosses to allocate more officers.

However, responding after the meeting, Exmouth Inspector Antonia Weeks said: “The current demand around the late-night economy in Exmouth doesn’t suggest a higher police presence is required.

“Police resources match the demand, but this doesn’t necessarily translate to visible officers on the street. Police are routinely deployed to priority areas, such as domestic abuse, child sex exploitation and protecting the vulnerable, and will continue to respond to reports of disorder - and have the resources to do so.”

Other councillors downplayed concerns. Councillor Steve Gazzard said: “I wouldn’t want anyone going around thinking there is a problem. Police are there.”

The council backed a proposed Public Space Protection Order to help fight antisocial behaviour.

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