A POLICE sergeant has reassured Saddleworth business owners that extra police are still guarding the area as the recent commercial crime spike seems to have peaked.
Sergeant Neil Barker, based at Oldham, told the Saddleworth Parish Council’s monthly meeting that work is ongoing but in the last two weeks there has been a significant fall in crimes.
He confirmed there were 27 linked commercial offences across Oldham from November 1, 2015 to February 10, 2016 – compared to 14 in the same period a year ago.
But since February 10, there have been only a handful of similar crimes reported.
Sergeant Barker, who will join Saddleworth’s neighbourhood team in May as part of a reshuffle, said: There are extra police overnight in the area and work is ongoing.
“But we have definitely seen a reduction in the number of similar crimes in the last week or so.”
He added that PCSOs have visited local premises and conducted house-to-house inquiries, crime scene investigators have been on the scene, and there has been a CCTV trawl.
“We have recovered some forensics but not sufficient, including a number of footwear impressions which are of limited value. There is not ideal CCTV in the area,” he continued.
“Our biggest help is locals telling us what they are seeing. You might think it is not important but it could be a golden nugget that might help us.”
Sergeant Barker said two previous attempts to set up a businesses watch in the area did not work but now might be the right time, complementing existing pub and farm watches.
Cllr Graham Sheldon also urged locals to come forward with any information which might lead to arrests.
He said: “Greenfield Conservative Club was broken in to recently and a resident saw two men with a crowbar walking towards the club but did not report it to the police.”
He added: “I believe it is our duty as a Parish Council to try to help the police however we can.
“If we can help people to better protect their businesses with equipment such as CCTV then we should certainly help those who can not afford it themselves.”
Cllr Alan Belmore added: “We all know the police forces are struggling under the budget cuts at the moment but we need to speak up for a larger local police presence.
“Other Parish Councils have invested in night-time security so I think we need to be innovative too and there are options we can look at to help the police in their role.
“I am aware there are some people taking this into their own hands but that could be dangerous.”
And Cllr John Hudson concluded: “The Parish Council, District Partnership and Oldham Council should all work together on this to help the police put it right.”
To contact the police, call 999 in an emergency or call 101 in a non-emergency to report anything suspicious.