Crisis talks over rise in burglary and car crime

Police appeal.
Police appeal.

Councillors and police chiefs have met to discuss residents’ concerns following an alarming spate of burglaries and vehicle crimes.

The three representatives for Lowton East ward met Greater Manchester Police (GMP) leaders at Leigh Police Station in the wake of an emergency public meeting held to discuss a crime wave in Lowton.

The councillors discussed issues including how the police respond to calls reporting crimes, sharing information between officers and residents and transport issues facing Lowton’s PCSOs.

The meeting was arranged after dozens of residents packed into The Red Lion and expressed concern about how some of the crimes, including one alarming incident in which a girl hid in her home while burglars searched it, were handled by the police.

Both GMP and the councillors said they were satisfied with the outcome of the meeting at the police station and the officers were praised for taking a proactive attitude and listening to local worries.

Coun James Grundy said: “It was a very productive meeting and we had some discussion on a couple of issue around the recent burglaries.

“There was a feeling in the community that follow-up calls after the crimes to check on everything had not been done properly and information hadn’t been shared as much as it should have been.

“We’ve now reached agreement on a number of fronts and a few things are going to be changed, which is quite positive. You will never have perfect policing but you can do the best you can with the resources you’ve got.

“I’m really pleased that the police have taken this attitude, realising people were upset about this and seeing what they could do to improve it. They deserve credit for that.”

Coun Grundy was joined by his Conservative ward colleagues Coun Ed Houlton and Coun Kath Houlton to meet Superintendent Stephen Keeley and Inspector Liz Sanderson.

The meeting also heard that following the crime spree there have been no burglaries in the area affected since mid-March.

Officers also agreed it would be possible to increase police visibility in the area to deter offenders if crimes start occurring again.

Although the police said it could find no obvious faults with how the burglaries and vehicle crimes were investigated the force said it was happy to be working with residents to develop better relationships and make changes where necessary.

Superintendent Keeley said: “As the police euperintendent for Wigan borough I am keen to listen to the public and respond to their concerns and make improvements where necessary.

“I met with the Lowton councillors to get an understanding of the issues faced by the residents in that area and have offered to attend a future meeting with them.

“Clearly, no amount of burglary crime is acceptable and is something that impacts on people’s lives. Lowton is generally a safe area with comparatively low crime and burglary rates but we cannot be complacent.

“I have reviewed the investigations into the burglaries and they have been conducted appropriately. Since the issues were raised we have seen significant reductions in burglary crime.

“We are working on improving the way in which we keep victims informed and the way information is shared between investigators and PCSOs.”