New format to continue despite poor PACT turnout

Central  ward PACT meeting at St Annes YMCA
Central ward PACT meeting at St Annes YMCA
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The latest new format for an opportunity for residents to meet police failed to increase the attendance – but officials are confident the fresh look is the right way forward.

The Police and Communities Together (PACT) forum in St Annes’ Central ward opted for a change last summer after turnouts at its monthly meetings regularly reached little more than a handful.

Initially, the forum was taken to outdoor locations such as the town’s monthly farmers’ markets and took on the form of a drop-in session rather than a formal meeting.

But after that also failed to boost attendances, the meetings have now been taken back indoors to the town’s YMCA, but with the drop-in format retained and the gap between meetings extended from one month to three.

The first quarterly meeting, however, attracted just three residents along with two councillors, but forum chairman Drew McLaren said: “It was a useful exercise and we will continue with the new format.”

Community beat manager PC Mike Schouteten outlined that crime in Central ward was down over the quarter to the end of February compared to the same period 12 months earlier, from 104 incidents to 90. Violent crime fell from 33 instances to 23 and incidents of damage reduced from 23 to 14.

The next Central ward PACT meeting at the YMCA is on Thursday, June 5 at 6.30pm.