Ringwood Town Council survey reveals a belief by residents that police are not doing enough to tackle crime
A town’s survey has revealed an “intense dissatisfaction” with policing – but the New Forest’s district commander has questioned the sample size.
Ringwood residents who answered a town council questionnaire on safety concerns said officers failed to satisfactorily tackle issues such as break-ins, drug offences and antisocial behaviour.
The survey attracted 57 respondents, and Ch. Insp. Nick Marsden reassured residents while stressing the views came from less than 1% of Ringwood’s population.
Despite the research being “essentially qualitative”, the council felt the policing concern was an issue which merited serious consideration.
Outbuilding theft and burglary were the main crimes raised, with noise and teenager problems topping the antisocial behaviour issues list.
There was no suggestion Ringwood has a major drug problem, the council report said, but five people cited drug-taking and dealing.
It explained: “Although a sample of 57 is obviously not statistically significant, this result is clearly indicative of intense dissatisfaction about the police service – at least in some sections of the Ringwood community.”
Highlighted issues included a history of break-ins and robberies in the Hightown Hill area, and older teenagers and young adults using drugs.
One respondent wrote: “Seems to be crime in my area every week and nothing done about it. I don’t like leaving home empty, even though we have CCTV.”
Another said: “There doesn’t appear to be any deterrent for crime in the area apart from that provided by residents themselves.”
The council report concluded people wanted a substantially increased police presence, with more proactive officers.
“The perception is that crimes are not properly investigated, criminals are not prosecuted, crime increases, residents despair,” it said.
“As a result, many residents decide not to report the petty (and not so petty) instances of antisocial behaviour and crime.”
Ch. Insp. Marsden responded that officers attended 676 calls in Ringwood in 2023, including burglary, antisocial behaviour, criminal damage and drug offences.
Crime reports fell 21% from the same period last year, he said, with dwelling burglaries and non-dwelling burglaries down 70% and 42% respectively.
“Burglary remains a priority for us and we attend every report, ensuring that contact is made with victims as soon as possible and that all viable lines of enquiry are explored,” Ch. Insp. Marsden said.
Highlighting a drop in robbery reports from eight in 2022 to three last year, the inspector commented none related to the Hightown Hill area.
He vowed officers were “well engaged” with the town council and partners on antisocial behaviour matters.
Stressing drug-related activity was being tackled, Ch. Insp. Marsden cited a recent raid in nearby Fordingbridge when class A substances were seized and a man arrested.
“The force has recently returned to a local model of policing so that officers are better connected to the communities that they serve,” he continued.
“Since this change there has been a real focus on the relentless pursuit of criminals and tackling the crime that has the biggest impact on our communities and causes the most harm.
“This includes working alongside local businesses and partnerships, as well as carrying out dedicated patrols to disrupt offending.”
He added: “Our neighbourhood policing teams will continue working alongside colleagues from across the force to ensure that the criminality having the greatest impact on our residents is targeted.”
People were urged to continue reporting crime online via hampshire.police.uk or by calling 101. Crimestoppers can also be contacted anonymously at crimestoppers-uk.org or on 0800 555 111.