Scilly Councillor calls for a 'bobby on the beat'
An Isles of Scilly Councillor has said there should always be a visible police presence on St Mary's.
In a discussion about the proposed merger between Devon & Cornwall Police and Dorset Police at August 7th's Full Council meeting, Cllr Avril Mumford criticised the lack of officers visible on the islands for 38 hours the previous weekend.
Her comments followed a presentation on the merger by Nicky Allen, the Treasurer for the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall, who was on the islands to represent PCC Alison Hernandez.
Cllr Mumford asked Nicky: "After two incidents on Saturday night I want to know why there was no physical police presence for a period of 38 hours. Do you think this is acceptable? How often has this happened in the last two to three years? Are there other local policing teams where there is an absence of a physical presence for more than 24 hours anywhere in Cornwall or Devon?"
She was referring to windows being broken at Mumford's Newsagent and the Co-op on the evening of Saturday August 4th. There was no physical police presence on St Mary's from 6pm on the Saturday night until 8am on Monday morning, which Cllr Mumford said was "not acceptable".
PC Lisa Woolley later told This is Scilly that 38 hours without a police officer on duty is not uncommon on the islands if one of the three officers is on annual leave. PC Richard Wiltshire was away at the beginning of August representing Scilly's British Legion at the 90th anniversary reenactment of the Great Pilgrimage to Ypres.
Cllr Mumford continued: "The situation on Scilly is somewhat different from the mainland as we are 40 miles out in the Atlantic. A physical presence of policing should be 24 hours a day and that should be absolutely necessary. So we need more police, we need specials.
"Newquay and the Isles of Scilly have roughly the same amount of licensed premises. Do Newquay operate with one police officer present? And would there be 38 hours with no police presence on the street?
"Physical presence on the street prevents crime and surely this is what we would like to try to do. Extra police during the summer months would also be needed, so there would always be someone physically visible on duty."
She added: "I would like to emphasise that I think we should really look into having a bobby on the beat."
Mumford's window was smashed by an inebriated local female, who subsequently apologised and paid for the damage. She has been banned from several premises on the islands for the next few weeks.