Sunday, 30 March 2008

Feedback on 2008 Crime Survey

Hundreds of people have already sent back the crime survey from my latest newspaper and the results are staggering. I am genuinely shocked by the number of people who say they have been a victim of crime but that the no arrest or prosecution followed.

Of the 18-44 age group only 2 people (both men aged over 25) felt it was safe to walk around Chatham town centre at night, and only a handful more felt safe in Maidstone Town Centre. Only 3 people aged over 45, out of nearly 500 responses, felt safe in Chatham Town Centre at night. This is so sad - both Chatham and Maidstone have the ability to be really vibrant town centres with good restaurants and entertainment venues. But if people are too scared to walk through them at night - as I was myself after a recent dinner at Yoons Restaurant - then they won't go out into town at the expense of the local economy.

Almost every person who replied wanted to see a zero-tolerance approach on all crime, and the majority thought it was wrong to reclassify cannabis (there is an excellent article on the dangers of cannabis in today's Kent on Sunday). What surprised me most about the latter answer was that the strength of opposition to the reclassification by under 25 year olds - those often portrayed as pro-"soft drugs".

Only 7 under 44 year olds agreed with the new 24 hour drinking laws - and unsurprisingly the majority of those were under 25! Only 6 respondents over 45 agreed but the vast majority thought that all day drinking has led to an increase in crime and anti-social behaviour and the law should be reviewed. Unfortunately this Government is in denial on the whole issue of 24-hour drinking. The statistics from the police, local authorities and hospitals all show that the relaxation of licensing laws was a bad policy decision - and all the stats were predicted by Shadow Home Secretary David Davis when I was working for him over 3 years ago.

I shall be sending a summary of these results to David Davis for his information, but in the meantime I thank all those who took the time to fill out the survey and send back to me - it is much appreciated.


Anonymous said...

24-hour drinking? Is there actually any pub in Chatham or Maidstone which is open 24 hours a day?

Richard Holloway said...

I grew up in Gillingham and the current level of crime in Chatham is appalling. It really isn't safe to walk the streets at night.
We need more police, a tougher sentencing policy that doesn't give people 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th chances to do better, it needs to clamp down straight away on the feral mobs that roam our streets at night. Good luck in getting elected, the sooner we have a Conservative government the sooner we can get on with the task of once again fixing a country that is broken in so many ways.