Chief constable hopes communities take pride in 2012

CULTURE CHANGE Chief Constable Alex Marshall
CULTURE CHANGE Chief Constable Alex Marshall
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HAMPSHIRE’S top police officer has called for people to take pride in their communities in the new year after the summer’s riots.

Talking about his ambitions for 2012, Chief Constable Alex Marshall also said he hopes that alcohol can play a less crucial role in how people spend time together in the future.

He added that it had been a busy year for the force which had ended with a spike in the number of people caught drinking and driving.

But the chief constable said the future could be bright for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight if over the next 12 months more jobs are created and young people learn to respect others.

And he added that it would be great to see an end to people discarding litter on Hampshire’s roadsides, which he described as a ‘pet hate’.

He said: ‘We’ve had a really busy year, which included the threat of disorder in the summer and ended with more people drinking and driving.

‘My main hope for 2012 is for everyone in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to stay safe on our roads, in our homes and on our streets.

‘I want this to be a year where we have pride in where we live and regain our interest in community open spaces.’

Following the civil disorder which broke out across the country in September, Mr Marshall praised officers and staff for their use of social media such as Facebook and Twitter to reassure the public, monitor potential trouble spots and catch criminals.

And he criticised today’s drinking culture.

The force’s month-long campaign to tackle the problem of drink driving – Operation Holly – found a more than 15 per cent increase on last year during its first 11 days.

There have already been 90 arrests across the county – 77 male and 13 female – since its launch on December 1.

Talking about alcohol usage, he said: ‘I hope that our culture changes to one where socialising may include alcohol, but alcohol is not the purpose of socialising.’

Mr Marshall said an improvement in the economy would help reduce crime and disorder.

He added: ‘We will all benefit from a growth in meaningful employment. We will all gain by ensuring outstanding education for residents of all ages.

‘We can all look forward to a brighter future if young children are healthy, happy and learn respect for others.

‘As a grumpy 50-something my pet hate is the discarding of litter on to our roadsides.

‘Wouldn’t it be great if this stops in 2012!’