On 10 October I spent my Community Day in Oadby & Wigston.
My first stop was at the Life Church, Wigston, where I was welcomed by Pastor Mary and the Church Elders. After a tour around their splendid building with its fine facilities, we settled down to discuss the work that the church does in the local community. I was then off to meet Rev Paul Betts who is curate to the two Church of England churches in Wigston. Again we had a very interesting catch up on the many issues affecting his parishioners.
My next visit was not so cheering. Quality DIY in Oadby suffered from shoplifting and from crooks seeking to pass fake bank notes. The fake notes are relatively easy to spot, unless the shopkeeper is distracted. But shoplifting is not so easy to deal with. Hussein the shopkeeper had tried various approaches and we discussed other possibilities. One comment I will take up is that the on-line system for reporting shoplifting is clunky and time consuming. So much so, in fact, that many shop managers don’t bother to report small items being stolen. I found this rather concerning as without the reports it is difficult to analyse the data to ensure that police officers and other resources are properly allocated.
The nearby Vape Shop had been broken into by thieves who smashed their way in through a glass panel door to clear the shelves. Thousands of pounds worth of stock had been taken. By the time I arrived the window had been repaired, and blocked with stout steel bars. Nobody was getting in again. No criminal had been caught for this crime. My thanks to the Federation of Small Businesses for their help with these visits.
I was then off back to Wigston to meet Cllr Kevin Loydell, the Chair of the Community Safety Partnership, and Mark the CSP Manager to see the work that our two offices were doing to make Blaby Road Park in Wigston safer. It proved to be a very informative visit. I was shown the new hi-res CCTV cameras that now monitor the paths through the park. The section comprised of skateboard park, youth shelter and MUGA court was very popular with teenagers – several of them were there when we passed by. New lighting and CCTV kept the area safe. A nearby wall was covered in unsightly grafitti. Plans are in hand to replace this with more constructive artworks by local art students, with all local teenagers being involved. Should be good.
Passing on we went south to the canal and nearby areas. These were still hotspots for anti-social behavior, sadly, but Cllr Loydell told me of the plans in hand to combat those problems. It was good to see that funding provided by my office was being used so productively.