SHOPLIFTING and aggressive begging in Wombwell’s main shopping area continue to be the priority for local police teams, following the area’s PACT meeting on Wednesday.
The meeting at Berneslai Homes on Shipcroft Close saw a high number of local residents turn out to raise their concerns with neighbourhood police and police and crime commissioner Dr Alan Billings.
Issues on High Street in Wombwell have been subdued somewhat by the identification of several main suspects, with local officers working with partner services and local businesses to dissuade these from committing further offences.
Neighbourhood policing team inspector Rebecca Richardson said a spike in reports in October was due to incidents specifically at Wilko, with officers also working with retailers on their layouts and encouraging the placing of high-value goods at the back of the shops.
CCTV cameras to cover High Street are still in the pipeline, and could be funded by Barnsley Council’s Principal Towns fund a £5m pot aimed at upgrading the borough’s satellite towns in line with the major redevelopment of the town centre.
Wombwell has previously had CCTV in place, but police told the meeting this had been funded by Barnsley Council and posed issues with access whenever officers would try to recover footage, as they would have to contact the council to do so.
“We’d love to be on there as often as we can, particularly in the run-up to Christmas where there’s known to be a spike in burglaries,” said PCSO Tony Thorpe.
“I know all the shop staff by their first names, I know all the market traders, but because of the demands the job places on you you can have every intention of going on High Street and get drafted into a search for a missing person or an RTC. There are probably six to eight individuals we’re aware of, two with permanent addresses and the others sofa surf or may sleep rough.”
The area is also set to benefit from an increased police presence in line with county-wide restructuring and recruitment of new police constables.