Fylde traders are going straight to the top to seek reassurances over the future of town centre policing.
Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw has accepted an invitation from St Annes Chamber of Trade to speak at a forthcoming meeting – and Chamber officials are eager to make the most of the opportunity.
It’s wonderful to hear the Police and Crime Commissioner has agreed to come to one of our meetings
The Chamber has previously bemoaned the potential loss of the ‘bobby on the beat’ amid fears over the effect funding cuts might have on policing levels.
Mr Grunshaw has indicated that he intends to take up the Chamber’s invitation at its monthly meeting after next, to be held on Thursday, March 10.
The organisation’s meetings usually take place at the Lindum Hotel on South Promenade, but chairman John Moxham has said they might look to a bigger venue depending on the interest in attending Mr Grunshaw’s visit.
“It’s wonderful to hear the Police and Crime Commissioner has agreed to come to one of our meetings,” said Mr Moxham.
“We have been trying for some time to get him along and our thanks to him for the response.
“Policing is a big issue for everyone and all the talk of cuts, cuts, cuts, cuts is bound to prompt concern over the levels of law and order.
“I would be quite happy to throw the meeting open because this is such an important topic and might look at a bigger venue if need be.
“We already welcome members of the public to our meetings as ‘interested’ parties in trade matters and I think it will be especially interesting in getting a customers’ as well as a traders’ perspective on the trading situation.
“After all, how levels of law and order in a town are perceived by customers and visitors generally has the potential to affect us all.
“The March meeting is a good time for Mr Grunshaw to come, as it will be the last meeting before the start of the lighter nights and a very appropriate time for reassurances over policing levels and response times. We very much look forward to his visit.”
Mr Grunshaw, who has previously visited Lytham and Kirkham as part of his ongoing policy to get out and about and meet the public, said: “I’ll be meeting with the Chamber members and discussing with them local issues and will also take the opportunity to update them on the outcome of the recent priorities research undertaken across Lancashire as well as updating them on the pressures we continue to face as a result of the Government’s continued funding cuts.
“Lytham and St Annes have a really active and valuable volunteer community that is working closely with us to help make the area safe alongside the local policing team.”
The St Annes traders’ group has long been proactive in trying to help prevent crime, having pioneered a radio-link system which continues to alert other store and the police to shoplifting and other incidents.
Chamber of Trade co-ordinator Arnold Sumner, said: “The presence of a bobby on the beat has always been reassuring to residents and helped to prevent crime.”