Published: April 27, 2009
Police priorities in Burnham and Highbridge agreed at public meetings

Dozens of residents in Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge have attended public meetings over the last few days to set local police's priorities for the coming three months.

The PACT (Partners and Communities Together) meetings held at Burnham Town Council Chambers and in Highbridge's Community Hall, as pictured here, have given people a chance to influence policing of their neighbourhoods.

The priorities for Burnham North over the next few months will be tackling anti-social behaviour in Manor Gardens and addressing speeding in Berrow Road.

In Burnham South, residents decided that police should address parking issues in Hudson Street, anti-social behaviour in the High Street after pub closing times, underage drinking along The Esplanade, and anti-social driving on the seafront.

The priorities for Highbridge will be a continuing crackdown on drug dealing in the town and fly tipping.

'Significant progress'

Sgt Kennett told after the meetings: "I believe that the PACT process has enabled us to make significant progress in tackling antisocial behaviour. The public can have confidence that they can voice their opinion and can expect there to be positive action taken wherever possible."

He added: "We have already started to deal with the Hudson Street issue with 3 fixed penalty tickets being issued this morning when a refuse lorry was obstructed from entering Hudson Street along with another ticket for no car tax."

"The issues raised this week will be now be considered with our partners and I am confident that we will continue to make an impact on crime and disorder in Burnham and Highbridge."

Sgt Kennett gave those present at the meetings feedback on how police are tackling the priorities set earlier in the year.

Speeding in Berrow Road

In Burnham North, the issue of speeding in Ash Tree Road and Berrow Road was the number one issue. Sgt Kennet said: "A meeting was held with Sedgemoor and Highways and speed checks were carried out in Ash Tree Road that show that there is no excess speed. A Speed Indicator Device, which flashes when the speed limit is exceeded, has been used in Berrow Road, along with Police and Safety Camera Partnership enforcement, and the results of the speeding data will be available at the end of April."

Regarding tackling anti-social behaviour in Manor Gardens, Sgt Kennett said: "A permanent CCTV camera is being installed in the near future which has been jointly funded by the police, Sedgemoor District Council and Burnham and Highbridge Town Council."

Cycling issues on footpaths in the High Street were also among the top issues earlier in the year. He told the meeting: "Operation Glitter saw 46 people being stopped for cycling offences, of which 42 persons purchased new lights and four were prosecuted."

On the issue of speeding in Marine Drive and The Esplanade, he said work was continuing here to try and tackle the issues. "A further multi-agency meeting was held on 2nd April and Somerset Highways have stated that the cost of traffic calming would be in excess of £70,000 and there is no budget for this."

"We are now looking at the possibility of funding a CCTV or ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) camera in partnership with Sedgemoor District Council, Burnham and Highbridge Town Council and Bourne Leisure."

Regarding anti-social behaviour issues in Rosewood Park, Sgt Kennett said the play area at Rosewood Park has now been fenced to prevent youths climbing over.

Drug dealing crackdown

Regarding drug dealing in Highbridge, he confirmed that seven raids had been carried out in seven days in Burnham and Highbridge, with eight people being arrested.

"Heroin, amphetamines and cannabis have been recovered as well as several thousand tablets of class C drugs with an estimated street value of £4,500. Stolen property and over £3,000 cash has been recovered and a child has been taken into police protection following concerns for their welfare," he told the meeting.

And he added: "A 22 year old unemployed man from Highbridge was charged with attempted robbery and several days later with a shop burglary and is now in custody awaiting trial. Both offences were drug related and he was arrested on seven occasions before he was finally remanded in custody by the courts."

"A second drugs raid at a flat in Church Street was carried out in April and further class C drugs were recovered and a 30-year-old man was arrested and is on bail. He has since been charged with drugs and theft offences from the previous raid."

Marine Drive speeding

With regards to tackling Marine Drive speeding, Sgt Kennett said: "A meeting was held with Sedgemoor and the Highways department. Speed check data showed that it was below the threshold level for use of a Speed Indicator Device, which flashes when the speed limit is exceeded."

"However, the police have requested for this location to be added to those sites where this device is used in the forthcoming programme of use."

"Police traffic officers and the Safety Camera Partnership staff have been deployed and at least 20 speeding tickets have been issued. A street briefing and a public meeting were also held."

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