Keynsham antisocial behaviour concerns raised with new police commissioner

THE new Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset has been informed of concerns about antisocial behaviour, violent crime and the “appalling” level of police cover in Keynsham.

Councillor Alan Hale was responding to a letter of introduction from Clare Moody, who was Labour’s successful candidate in the recent Police and Crime Commissioner election.

Cllr Hale, who represents Keynsham South on Bath & North East Somerset Council, said in his reply to Ms Moody: “May I take this opportunity to raise my concerns, which I believe are shared with my other colleagues in Keynsham, regarding the history of antisocial behaviour in the town.”

He highlighted crime figures for the town that showed incidents of antisocial behaviour rose from 25 in February to 35 in March, while violent crime figure rose from 57 to 66.

“For a township of circa 20,000 people and growing, I find these figures alarming.”

Cllr Hale, a former police officer, previously raised his concerns at a public meeting in January attended by Ms Moody’s predecessor, Mark Shelford, and two local police officers.

He received applause from other residents when he said: “There seems to be a total lack of visible policing in the town.”

In his letter to Ms Moody, Cllr Hale said: “The only police numbers that we have in the town for preventative policing amounts to one inspector, one sergeant (I think the fourth in the last two years) two constables and four PCSOs with their very limited powers. This level of cover is absolutely appalling. 

“It should be said that those same officers, as I understand it, are responsible for Saltford and the Chew Valley as well.”

He also raised concerns about the “distinct lack of roads policing” in the police force’s area.

“In 2023, 13 people died in criminal incidents. However, during that same year, 62 people were killed on Avon and Somerset roads.

Having been a police officer for 31 years, I think that I can safely say that a return to a higher level of roads police would save lives, the main priority of the police being the protection of life.

“It would also mean that there would be a greater presence on our road system of marked and unmarked patrol cars, the same road system used by the criminals.

“I would be interested in your views.”

Cllr Hales said his correspondence had been acknowledged, but he was still awaiting a substantive reply.

Pictured, the public meeting in Keynsham earlier this year where residents airedf their views about crime and policing.