Portsmouth police boss stays tight-lipped over surge in violent crime

FRIGHTENED residents are demanding urgent answers from the city's top police officer amid the rise of violent crime across Portsmouth.

Saturday, 15th October 2016, 6:01 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 6:24 pm
A police cordon in the St Mary's area of Fratton yesterday

The calls come after a man was left fighting for his life following a serious assault in Fratton yesterday morning.

The offence is the latest in a string of worrying incidents to take place in the city in recent months, including a stabbing, two murders and serious assaults.

This has prompted a meeting between city council leader Donna Jones and Portsmouth’s police commander, Supt Will Schofield.

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Despite calls from The News to Supt Schofield last night about what action the force was taking to protect residents, the top police officer remained tight-lipped.

Lib Dem leader and former council chief Gerald Vernon-Jackson said the city’s residents deserve better.

He said: ‘It’s important there’s a message of reassurance for the people to know that they are safe in Portsmouth.

‘The police have got to make sure this message gets out and that the people know what is being done.’

The latest incident left a 38-year-old man with serious neck injuries.

He was found at 3.30am in Lake Road.

The victim was rushed to Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, where he remains in a critical condition.

The attack prompted Cllr Jones to bring forward a meeting with Supt Schofield to Thursday.

She will press the police chief on what is being done to protect residents, as well as discussing the serious crimes that have happened this year including two murders, a 17-year-old girl being brutally attacked with a hammer and stabbings linked to drug-dealing.

Cllr Jones said: ‘As well as meeting with Supt Will Schofield, I am requesting that the crime unit attends so we can get a full briefing on the escalation of serious crime.

‘We want Hampshire police to ensure public safety and confidence and make sure there’s enough detection and prevention.

‘Drugs and alcohol appear to be a clear factor in the incidents that have occurred.’

A police spokeswoman said they believed yesterday’s attack was drugs-related.

St Mary’s Road from Woodlands Street and parts of Kingston Road and Lake Road were all closed to traffic and pedestrians by police until around 1pm.

Two men, a 20-year-old and a 19-year-old, both from Portsmouth, have been arrested on suspicion of GBH and are currently in police custody.

People living nearby have since spoken of their horror at the attack.

Robert Jackson, 30, of Fratton, said: ‘It’s really shocking that another violent crime has happened in the city.

‘Portsmouth has become a scary place to live.’

Another resident, 48, said: ‘Normally Lake Road is quiet, you get the occasional anti-social behaviour but nothing like this. Crime in Portsmouth is terrible at the moment. No area seems safe.

‘It is awful to wake up to see all the police - you immediately think the worst. Hopefully it was an isolated incident.’

n Last night police were called to another minor incident involving a knife in Shearer Road, at 7.39pm.

Police say the victim received a minor cut to the hand. Nobody was arrested and no witness appeal was issued.