“Crime has fallen overall. We want to work closely with people in Stone to address their concerns regarding crime and anti-social behaviour” - Chief Inspector Giles Parsons
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The Neighbourhood Policing Commander for Stone wants to continue building relationships and working closely with people in the town to address their concerns around local crime.
Chief Inspector Giles Parsons says that while data shows there was an overall decrease in crime, he understands the community has concerns, and is working with officers to address them.
Data shows that 'other theft', which includes shoplifting, is down 38 percent – a reduction of 104 crimes in the area.
There has also been a significant reduction in violence; with serious violence down 36 percent and less-serious violence down 21 percent, as well as a two percent reduction in anti-social behaviour.
There have been areas where the force in the town has seen increases, however, such as business burglary - which is up by five incidents compared with the previous 12 months.
Chief Inspector Parsons, of Stafford Borough NPT, said: "The Stone area has been a priority for myself and my team since concerns regarding reports of crime, anti-social behavior and local tensions, were raised in September 2020.
"We have conducted thorough investigations into reports of this nature which has resulted in numerous individuals being arrested and charged in relation to thefts, burglary, drug-related matters, fraud and anti-social behaviour.
"For example, a 13-year-old male who was involved in anti-social behaviour in the town, before Christmas, was arrested and charged with burglary and criminal damage. As a result, he is no longer allowed in Stone."
In November 2020, officers carried out a drugs’ warrant at a property in the High Street and successfully recovered more than £7,000 cash and £600-worth of cocaine. Two men were also arrested.
Officers have conducted numerous stop-and-searches with three men arrested across different incidents for possession of class B drugs.
"On every occasion, we have sought to remand suspects into custody where possible, to prevent further offending," Chief Inspector Parsons added.
The NPT has also taken action over persistent anti-social behaviour at private residential addresses across Stone; obtaining a closure order for an address in Kent Grove to resolve issues there, and working with social housing in order to issue community protection notices in other areas.
Officers are continuing to work closely with Stone Town Council and Stafford Borough Council and as a result of this partnership work, a public space protection order has come into effect in Stone Town Centre and Westbridge Park, giving officers and local authorities additional powers to tackle anti-social behaviour.
"We have done significant work to engage with the local community and update them on our positive police action," Chief Inspector Parsons added.
"I hold three-monthly online community meetings via Stone Town Council, which is attended by councillors and local residents.
"I also attend the Stone Parish Area Liaison Group and make extensive use of social media platforms and smart alerts to share our work and keep the community updated," he said.
The Stone area boasts a designated sergeant and neighbourhood policing team of police constables and PCSOs who are regularly supported by wider force-level resources.
The work of these officers has been key in January 2021, as the force has successfully arrested three individuals in relation to burglaries in the town centre, one of which has been charged with attempted burglary and possession of a bladed article in relation to an incident on York Street.
Only this week, a further individual was charged, regarding two burglaries at a business in the town centre.
Forensic teams and specialist officers are continuing their investigations into these incidents along with two reported fires which took place in the area most recently.
Chief Inspector Parsons said: "I’m pleased to have secured recent additional support from wider force resources to increase the visibility of officers in Stone to deliver targeted police activity during the evenings and overnight.
"We are also working with community social media groups to encourage members to work with us, provide information and intelligence and avoid putting themselves and others at risk, as well as promoting positive messages.
"We have found that on some occasions inaccurate social media messaging has led to mis-information increasing community concerns.
"All detail of our work, including arrests and charges, has been published across our social media channels and I would encourage people to monitor these for accurate updates.
"The people involved in crime and anti-social behaviour have been both local individuals, as well as people from out of the area, which is no different to the situation in other parts of the borough.
"Myself and the team have done all we can to increase our visibility and presence in Stone and will continue to do so, to reassure the community and hold offenders to account for their actions, in order to bring them to justice."
To report a crime, contact Staffordshire Police on Facebook or Twitter or call 999 in an emergency.
Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.