Crime increase fear as police plan changes

PC Ray Bradley was awarded a Queens Medal in 2007.

PC Ray Bradley was awarded a Queens Medal in 2007. - Credit: Archant

RURAL crime may increase because of police cutbacks according to a ‘disappointed’ village authority.

Members of Churchill Parish Council are ‘extremely concerned’ to learn that PC Ray Bradley will not be directly replaced when he steps down in October.

He expects his position to be split between two other police officers.

In a report issued to Burrington and Churchill parish councils on Monday, PC Bradley said: “I was hoping to be able to introduce my replacement in the next few months but to be honest this is unlikely to happen.

“As things stand I will not be replaced but my beat will be split in half and given to the two adjacent beat officers.

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“This will mean the Winford parish will merge with Dundry, Long Ashton and Barrow Gurney and the Blagdon and Churchill half will join the Congresbury and Wrington area.”

Churchill Parish Council chairman Jackie Bush said Avon and Somerset Constabulary’s decision was ‘disappointing’.

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The police force has to save £15million over the next two years but parish councillor Alan Brown said Churchill and the surrounding villages will suffer.

He said: “We are extremely concerned at the deterioration of policing coverage this parish and neighbouring parishes that Ray is currently covering. A key issue is that rural crime is on the increase.

“This is the second time in recent years there’s been a deterioration in coverage here, given the previous extension to Ray’s beat.”

PC Bradley has also issued a warning to motorists to make sure their cars are locked at night. In December his beat suffered 12 car thefts and five of those vehicles were left unlocked.

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