PUBLICANS in Sowerby Bridge have hit out at a lack of policing as it emerged three of the town’s four officers are on maternity leave.
Sgt Mick Richmond, of Halifax Central NPT, was at the Sowerby Bridge ward forum to face the wrath of pub landlords, business owners and residents who say more officers are desperately needed.
The meeting heard a PC and two PCSOs are all currently on maternity leave - leaving the town with one dedicated PC.
Sgt Richmond said: “Those three staff are now away having a child, which leaves me trying to police with really very little staff.
“So one of the things I need to do is utilise the staff available to me as I can. That means undertaking work sporadically.
“What I can’t do is provide the type of policing I want and you deserve in Sowerby Bridge.”
Sgt Richmond said if he was to provide cover for the staff who are on maternity leave, it would mean taking officers from other areas of Halifax.
Publicans criticised the police for prioritising Halifax on Friday and Saturday nights.
Sgt Richmond said this was because Sowerby Bridge is generally quiet by midnight whereas Halifax is busy until 8am.
He said: “In terms of our resources, they do go to Halifax but they go there with good reason.
“It’s difficult with the resources I have got to police the area to prevent something happening. It’s what you want, it’s what I want frankly.”
He added: “I’m left in the position where you want me to bake you a cake and I don’t have enough flour.”
Emma Tordoff, of The Moorings pub, said the town is getting increasingly busy and claimed there has been increase in anti-social behaviour, violence and burglaries.
She has budgeted £13,000 on door control for the next year to protect her business and has set up her own drug dog initiative to reduce the town’s drug crime.
Stuart Nuttall, of The Roxy Venue, told the meeting he spent £25,000 in the last year policing his bar.
Miss Tordoff said: “I think I speak for my colleagues when I say we are really worried now. Summer is coming and we have the highest proportion of outside drinking areas probably in the whole of Calderdale.
“We need you to help us.”
Sgt Richmond told the forum about Halifax Business Against Crime and members felt they should create a similar group for Sowerby Bridge.
Ward forum chairman Councillor Dave Draycott (Lab) said: “If we set up something similar then we can raise some demands within the senior structures of the police.”