Where were town police?

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A former town mayor claims Longridge has been abandoned by neighbourhood police after officers failed to attend the recent Police and Communities Together meeting for the second time in months.

Coun Paul Byrne told Longridge Town Council it needs to make a list of any residents’ claims of concerns when trying to contact police after he said he had received several complaints from people who had encountered problems trying to contact police.

And he is appealing for residents with any concerns about policing in the town to let either himself or The Longridge News know.

Coun Byrne told last week’s town council that residents who attended the March 19 PACT meeting felt they were being “abandoned” after there was no police presence.

“There is no point in having PACT meetings if nothing is generated except hot air,” said Coun Byrne, who is a former special police constable.

Coun Byrne’s comments coincide with yesterday’s official start of major re-structuring for Lancashire Police.

In Longridge, changes have already been operating unofficially for a number of weeks, with the town’s five immediate response officers (who deal with 999 calls) now Blackburn based.

Emergency calls made from the Longridge area will now be dealt with by patrols from towns such as Blackburn, Clitheroe, Preston or even Longridge, depending which teams are the closest when the call is made.

Ribble Valley Insp Hassan Khan says Longridge’s neighbourhood policing team, which will remain in the town, has seen its number of community beat managers increased from two to three as a result of re-structuring. Also, the town will still have three PCSOs (police community support officers), with a replacement for PCSO Laura Harvey due to start shortly.

Insp Khan also confirmed all members of the neighbourhood policing team will be based from Longridge from next week.

Since the town council meeting Coun Byrne told The News of residents claiming they had met with long delays after ringing the 01772 782625 number for Longridge police, but both he and Insp Khan say non emergency calls should now be made to 101.

“There are also other ways to get in touch with us, through email, Facebook or Twitter,” said Insp Khan, adding he can be contacted personally through RibbleValley.npt@lancashire.pnn.police.uk

As to the recent PACT meeting, Insp Khan said: “Due to unforseen circumstances an officer was unable to attend, but I can assure them there will be a presence at the next meeting and further meetings.”

Longridge Town Council is to invite Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw to the annual town meeting in May.