Policing in Bispham ‘needs a good overhaul,’ says Blackpool councillor

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A Blackpool councillor has voiced his concerns about ‘basic policing’ in his Bispham ward, amid fears reports about speeding and other crime in the area were not being tackled.

 

Tory councillor Don Clapham said he doubted any of Bispham’s residents knew who their local police officers were, and despite completing various police surveys himself, nothing ever came from them.

Coun Clapham’s concerns about speeding around Bispham village came as the daughter of a hit-and-run victim lobbied Blackpool Council for stricter safety measures last week.

Vincent O’Toole, 93, was reversed into by a speeding car near Warbreck Drive and was hospitalised with an arm injury, prompting his daughter Michelle Beech of Hesketh Avenue to petition for traffic calming measures.

Councillor Don Clapham was concerned that policing of Bispham streets was "eroded", and called for an overhaul of the current system.

Councillor Don Clapham was concerned that policing of Bispham streets was “eroded”, and called for an overhaul of the current system.

Coun Clapham said he had complained to Blackpool Police about speeding on behalf of residents numerous times, but they had not been “proactive” in addressing issues.

He said: “Speeding has become a major issue on all our roads since the lockdown for Covid. Complaints and requests to the police have produced no proactive moves by them.

“I have filled in a number of police surveys and they produced no results. On discussing this topic with the rest of the Conservative Group, speeding is a major issue in Blackpool.

“We hope to have a group meeting with the Police Commissioner soon and this will be a topic on our agenda. A proactive police force would be a touch of fresh air.”

However, Coun Clapham commended officers for their work in tackling drugs issues, but called for an “overhaul” of policing on the streets.

The front desk at Bispham Police Station was closed in 2018, which the councillor said had impacted on residents’ abilities to share concerns with officers.

“They are good at hitting drug movements and county lines crimes including sex exploitation and modern slavery,” Coun Clapham continued.

“But the basic policing which residents expect appear to be eroded. We have a police station in Bispham without a desk or access to the public.

“Councillors used to be supplied with monthly crime figures and Police successes in the days of PACT, but I doubt if the general public know their local beat manager – if they still exist.

“It is an unhealthy situation which needs a good overhaul.”

Temp Insp Jon Smith, of Blackpool Police, said: “Blackpool Police are aware road safety is a concern for local residents across all of Blackpool. We deploy specialist officers dependant on where residents report issues or to areas where there have been serious or fatal road traffic collisions.

“We have conducted a number of road safety operations with neighbourhood officers and the Lancashire Road Safety Partnership in the Bispham area. We have found the vast majority of road users use the road legally and the minority of users found not doing so were dealt with.

“Bispham Police Station is an operational police station with various officers using the facilities at all hours. Any members of the public who attend the station will be seen by an officer when available. Alternatively, there is a yellow phone outside that goes straight to the communications room if they’re not available.

“The front counter is currently closed, this decision was made after review of all operational front counters, with Bispham’s showing low footfall.

“There is a dedicated neighbourhood police team consisting of both police officers and PCSOs which service all of Blackpool North, including the Bispham area. This is in addition to the 24-hour response officers dealing with 999 calls and request of service from members of the public.

“Crime data for the local area is published online and can be accessed by any member of the public including our local councillors

“I would encourage any members of the public who have concerns of activities in the local area to either report these online at doitonline.lancashire.police.uk, to ring 999 in an emergency or to sign up to Lancashire Talking where they can report local problems. The local neighbourhood police team can also be contacted via BlackpoolNorth.NPT@lancashire.police.uk.”