FORDINGBRIDGE councillors have expressed concerns over a “worrying” increase in crime.

Fordingbridge Town Council at its annual meeting discussed a police report giving 12 month comparisons of May 2019 to 2020 and May 2020 to 2021.

It showed an increase of 68 in the total number of crimes which were up from 318 to 386.

The meeting heard there had been an increase in violent, theft and drugs offences.

What the mayor and deputy mayor said

Mayor Edward Hale said: “It is rather depressing, isn’t it? A few of the categories have come down slightly but three categories have gone up 50 per cent which is very worrying.”

This was echoed by deputy mayor, Anna Wilson, who added: “It is worrying if you look at it all together it is the increase overall.”

Not a 'normal year'

However, Cllr Paul Anstey urged caution over comparing the figures “like for like” as it had not been a “normal year” due to the Covid pandemic.

Violence with injury had increased from 34 to 47 – a rise of 13 – as did violence without injury which was up 28 from 58 to 86. Burglary residential was also up by ten from 17 to 27. However, business and community burglary was down from 21 to 13.

There was also a reduction in vehicle offences which were down by nine from 36 to 27.

Public order offences were also down by three from 38 to 35.

Concerns to be raised with PCC

Councillors have previously raised concerns about the lack of policing presence. They will be raising these concerns with the police and crime commissioner (PCC).

Cllr Edward Hale said: “This “crime tree” as they call it gives us more evidence that we need more support from police in the area.”

Cllr Anstey added: “This has not been a normal year compared to last year’s. I don’t think you are comparing like for like. Certainly some of the violent and shoplifting may have been due to the situation that the whole country has found themselves in.”


The figures for shoplifting were up by 13 compared to 20 in May 2020-21 and 7 during May 2019-2020.

Cllr Brian Perkins said: “The biggest problem you have as a retailer is when they have got a mask on you don’t recognise them so they are getting away with a lot more.”

The meeting heard in relation to shoplifting there had been a rise in the reporting of incidents and the violence with and without injury categories – many related to domestic incidents.

There was also a new CCTV collection system where businesses can upload footage directly, which was “making it easier” for officers to share and identify suspects.

The meeting heard the Fordingbridge beat stretches to Breamore to the edge of Godshill and also includes parts of Sandleheath.

Incidents at the Rec

Cllr Malcolm Adams also raised concerns about the amount of petty crime at the Recreation Ground, which he felt was “increasing all the time” .

The damaged bin at the Fordingbridge Recreation Ground skate park Picture: Fordingbridge Town Council

The damaged bin at the Fordingbridge Recreation Ground skate park Picture: Fordingbridge Town Council

The town council recently reported incidents of vandalism with a bin being damaged and also windows at the Pavilion being smashed. and CCTV has been installed.

Councillors were told work was being done to look at this.

What the police say

Police Sergeant, Helen Mitchley of the Fordingbridge Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “We are aware that there has been a slight increase in recordable crimes in Fordingbridge in the last 12 months and appreciate that this may have caused concerns within the community.

“Our officers will always take every available opportunity to review all reasonable lines of enquiry when incidents and crimes are reported directly to us either via our online reporting tool or when local residents call 101. This ensures that we are in a position to conduct thorough investigations with a view to bringing offenders to justice.

“While there has been a slight rise in violence without injury in the last 12 months – which includes harassment and malicious communications – Fordingbridge is very much a very safe place to live.

“We have also seen a reduction in business burglaries and vehicle offences as a result of direct information provided by the community; allowing our officers to continue targeted patrols and detain offenders when located due to amended patrol plans.”

'Proactive operations' and more officers

She said there have also been a number of “proactive operations” in relation to drug possession and drug related harm which had resulted in warrants, stop searches and seizures “allowing us to bring those offenders responsible to justice”. New officers across the area are expected.

Sgt Mitchley said: “Our officers are committed to ensuring that Fordingbridge remains a safe place to live and work by reducing crime levels in the area. We will be adding more officers across the area in due course – so please do engage with them directly if you have any concerns about your local community.”

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