Posted on 29th November 2019

Knife crime, hate crime and speeding were some the key issues identified by residents in Widnes as they met with Cheshire’s police and crime commissioner and chief constable to discuss policing issues in their area.

It was the latest in a series of public engagement events where local residents across Cheshire have been invited to put their questions about local policing to PCC David Keane and CC Darren Martland.

A number of residents and local community representatives attended the event at Halton Stadium on Lower House Lane last night (Thursday 28 November).

The PCC and the chief assured those in attendance that Cheshire police is carrying out a number of proactive initiatives to address the issues raised.

Residents said that speeding and traffic issues in general were a growing problem in the area, though some complimented officers on their proactive work by running regular speed camera initiatives across the town. The Chief Constable highlighted the current work being undertaken with the Fatal 5 campaign as a priority for the Constabulary, and called on the community to work with police to help tackle the issue.

One resident raised hate crime as a topic for discussion, and the work that has been undertaken in Cheshire to address this issue. The Commissioner reiterated his commitment to equality and expressed his support for the LGBT community, calling on everyone to challenge unacceptable, homophobic behavior.

One of the main subjects discussed was knife crime, with the Commissioner and Chief Constable challenged on what they are doing to tackle the issue. The Commissioner outlined the challenge of changing attitudes to knife crime, in that carrying a knife has become increasingly common with a perception among some people that they need to do so to be safe.

He spoke of the knife angel currently in Chester, and the positive work being done in Halton with the community-led Live Your Life, Drop The Knife campaign. Combined with the focused efforts of the Constabulary in proactively rooting out weapons in our communities, we have seen a reduction in knife crime in Halton, bucking the national trend.

PCC David Keane said:

“It was great to see so many local residents with a real passion and dedication to making their communities safer give up their free time to attend this event.

“It was interesting to hear on a local level what the key policing issues are for people in Widnes and discuss how we make improvements to make their communities safer.

“With police resources more stretched than ever, it’s important that we talk to local people about their priorities for policing to ensure we are delivering the best possible service.

“I look forward to meeting more residents at future events planned across the county in the coming weeks.”

CC Darren Martland added:

“We are committed to delivering a neighbourhood policing service and putting the priorities of local communities at the forefront of everything we do.

“Our officers and PCSOs forge strong relationships with our communities to ensure crime and anti-social behaviour is dealt with as quickly and as effectively as possible.

“We appreciate the feedback from local residents in the area and I would like to reassurance residents that the problems raised at the events are being dealt with proactively by the local policing team.”

The Widnes event follows similar meetings in Ellesmere Port and Northwich. There is another planned in Macclesfield on 5 December, with further events held in Chester, Crewe, Runcorn and Warrington in the New Year.

If you would like to submit a question for the PCC or chief constable ahead of the meetings, please email it to pcc@cheshire.pnn.police.uk