SADDLEWORTH’S Neighbourhood Policing Team is out on the streets across the community both day and night.
Max Woodvine, Saddleworth Parish Councillor for Dobcross ward, joined PC Lee Cullen on an evening patrol to get an insight into the job and he wrote about his experience exclusively for Independent readers.
“On October 17 I joined PC Lee Cullen on his evening patrol around Saddleworth, so firstly I must thank him for allowing me the privilege of experiencing first-hand how hard our police work to keep Saddleworth safe; they are truly an asset to our villages.
“One of the many things I learned was that for Saddleworth it is acquisitive crime which is most prevalent. That is not to say, however, that there aren’t cases of violent crime.
“Acquisitive crime has become commonplace simply because Saddleworth is a fashionable area with its villagers, rightly, bearing the fruits of their labour. It is therefore attractive to those who wish to steal these prized possessions which residents have worked hard to own.
“These burglars travel to Saddleworth from far afield in order to, like thieving magpies, steal our trinkets and ‘shiny’ belongings.
“We are incredibly fortunate to have such a dedicated police team who have a detailed knowledge of our villages.
“While I was out with PC Cullen, calls on the radio were non-stop.
“It was a quiet evening but we explored the villages and visited crime hotspots. In the past month there have been 10 burglaries in Delph.
“We also paid a visit to Greenfield TESCO who have a nightly visitor – a meat thief!
“Police cars are fitted with state-of-the-art equipment such as an alleyway light, a very bright beam which allows the officers to uncover thieves breaking and entering into property.
“The cars can also pick up speed, ideal for catching up with ‘boy racers’ like those who travelled from Huddersfield Road in Delph straight to Scouthead before making a break for it across Platting Road – a burst of the blue lights gave them a fright.
“We also attended a Neighbourhood Crime Watch meeting in Dobcross to which there was an immense turnout in support. Initiatives of this nature will greatly support our police as they will take away some of the strain which the police are under.
“Importantly, it will also help them to tackle crime. I would like to see a network of Crime Watch groups across Saddleworth working in partnership with the police.
“Austerity has been hard for our police but that is not to say it has been a wholly negative experience as they have learned how to prioritise, streamline and taper services they provide – putting serious crime at the forefront.
“However, the increase in funding to GMP and the recruitment of 347 new officers has allowed them to breathe a sigh of relief.
“The re-introduction of stop-and-search powers will also allow them to properly tackle knife crime, an issue which is not confined to London but is a very real threat – even in Saddleworth.
“We must understand there is only so much they can do; I would ask that people respect them and realise they are working immensely hard.
“They are doing so much work in the background, which is often unseen, but does ensure our safety and puts criminals where they belong – behind bars.
“I commend our policing team and have a deep gratitude for all that they do.”