THE people of Gosport believe more police on the streets would help tackle rising crimes levels – but they rejected the notion it is an unsafe place where there is no visible presence from officers.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tossed Gosport into the national limelight during Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday when he quoted a man, mysteriously only known as ‘Mike’, about the plight of the apparently besieged town.
‘It's become a really unsafe town,’ Mr Corbyn quoted Mike as saying at the Houses of Parliament. The leader of the opposition told Prime Minister Theresa May surging violent crime was being ‘driven by austerity’.
He accused the government of trying to ‘keep communities safe on the cheap’ as he raised the issue of cuts to police and other public services.
But the people on the streets of Gosport were not as concerned as ‘Mike’ and Mr Corbyn. Nicola Byrne, 61, who was ‘born and bred’ in the town, said: ‘There should be more police to help make it safer. But I don’t think there are many problems here – I’ve never seen anything bad.’
Retailer Steve Davidson, of Timpsons, said: ‘I would disagree that the town is an unsafe place. I regularly see police and police community support officers patrolling the streets which is reassuring if there is any trouble. When I hurt myself on my machine a policeman came to help and then came back a few days later to see how I was.
‘If the police were constantly out on patrol then they wouldn’t be able to do other important parts of their job.’
Lynne Horne, who lives in the town, said: ‘We should definitely have more police to stamp out the problems we have, although I do see police patrolling the streets. We do have problems but so does everywhere else.
Another lady, who worked in a high street shop but did not wish to be mentioned, added: ‘The police pop in here every now and then and ask if everything is ok. There are some problems here but it is not that bad and is a similar situation across the country.
‘It would be better if the police station hadn’t shut and if the police desk in the council office was open more than twice a week in case there was any trouble, though.’