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Petition by Chris Cornell for Whitstable town police officer gains hundreds of signatures

Hundreds of people have signed a petition demanding Whitstable gets its own bobby on the beat.

More than 800 residents have added their names to the campaign since it was launched last Friday by Chris Cornell, who is running as Labour candidate for Gorrell ward in the upcoming council elections.

The petition calls on Kent Police Chief Constable Alan Pughsley to provide the town with a full-time, dedicated constable as part of the roll-out of 90 new officers across the county.

Labour council candidate Chris Cornell started the petition
Labour council candidate Chris Cornell started the petition

Mr Cornell unearthed figures that show crime in Whitstable has risen almost 50% since the town’s police station closed in 2012.

In a letter penned to CC Pughsley, he said: “In the 12 months leading up to the closure of our police station, 1,947 crimes were committed in our area. Last year over the same period, we recorded 2,910.

“That’s a staggering 49% increase and substantially above the 11% rate of increase across the county during this period.

“Whilst we understand that crime across the whole county is increasing and resources remain tight, we believe a town of over 30,000 residents deserves a dedicated police resource, particularly when it has a higher per capita crime rate than nearby Herne Bay whose police station responds to 999 calls in our area.

“We believe a new town centre constable could compliment the excellent work of local PCSOs and prove an additional resource to tackle shoplifting from repeat offenders, the rise in threatening or intimidating behaviour particularly during school holidays, as well as anti-social behaviour on our beach at night.”

The Whitstable Police Station in Oxford Street, pictured before its closure in 2012
The Whitstable Police Station in Oxford Street, pictured before its closure in 2012

The campaign has gained traction from a range of supporters.

Retired police officer and Conservative councillor Ashley Clark said: “There is a cross-party acceptance that things have gone wrong in the past - particularly with stop and search powers not being used properly.

“This is something we raised long ago, and I thank the Labour Party for following in our footsteps. At the end of the day, as politicians we should be looking for what joins us, not what divides us.”

Cllr Clark said he and Cllr Colin Spooner - also a former policeman - believe the town should have a number of dedicated policemen.

He said: “Merely having a policeman walking up and down is not enough. You need them going out and arresting criminals - that’s what the public want.”

Hundreds have backed the campaign. Stock image
Hundreds have backed the campaign. Stock image

Cllrs Spooner and Clark are meeting with Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott to discuss the issue.

“We’re asking for one for every two-seat ward, and where there are one-seat wards for an officer to be shared between two. They could work together to help each other across the coastal district.”

Kent Police declined to respond to the petition. District Commander Ch Insp Mark Weller previously said dedicated PCSOs based at Herne Bay Police Station covering Whitstable “provide high visibility reassurance to the community”.

Read more: All the latest news from Whitstable

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