Michael Fabricant attended "a stormy meeting" last night (Friday) held at
the Old Mining College in Chasetown (Burntwood) with over 70 residents complaining about under age drinking and "the lack of local policing" in the
area. Chief Inspector Kevin O’Leary, Inspector Mike Kozam, and a local police sergeant represented the Staffordshire Police Service. The meeting was chaired by Anthony Everall of the Chasetown Chamber of Commerce and
Trade and was organised by Neville Guest, owner of a local off licence.
It was pointed out that older boys are buying alcohol for younger drinkers
who cause a nuisance and vandalism in the area. One resident told the
police "You used to be the ‘Staffordshire Police Force’, well you have no force anymore and now you are called the ‘Staffordshire Police Service’ and I can tell you we never see you – we don’t get any service around here". Another resident said they would form vigilantes if there is not better policing. Chief Inspector O’Leary pointed out that the rate of burglaries had almost halved over the last few years, but the police have to work within a difficult and tight budget.
Michael Fabricant said at the meeting that while he understood that the
police are under-resourced and that over the last couple of years the police
have had to lose 240 officers and civilians, there is a very real problem in Chasetown and that he could accept no police no-go areas in Staffordshire.
Michael Fabricant says today: "I have written to the Chief Constable, John
Giffard, pointing out the strength of feeling in Chasetown about under age
drinking and related problems. There is a general perception of under-policing. I have asked for a re-appraisal of policing priorities as a result of the meeting. In the meantime, I will continue my fight in Parliament for realistic funding for the Staffordshire Police Service".