As one of a number of non-political guests to the CPF, local Chief Superintendent Ann Wakefield spoke to members after a supper in Hurstbourne Tarrant on local policing.
Previous guests have included Andrew Haines, Managing Director of South West Trains, and Bruce Parker, BBC South's former Political Editor
Superintendant Ann Wakefield, who commands the West Hampshire Basic Command Unit of Hampshire Constabulary gave the crime figures for the North West Hampshire - the Andover Division - for the last week. There had only been three house burglaries, and six disturbances involving the police. There had been 23 car crimes, including DTA, licence and insurance infringements and, of course speeding. There had been no violent crime in the Andover area.
Statistically West Hampshire was one of the safest areas in the UK, and insurance premiums reflected this fact.
She was particularly concerned that ASBOs and other short term solutions might not get to the root of the problem. Most of the crimes committed by those under fourteen were attributable to a trauma of some sort, or to inadequate parenting. She related two cases of young children who came to their attention whose law-breaking could be traced back to unsupported bereavements. The recent case of a mother being sent to prison for failing to ensure her daughters attended school had attracted a lot of publicity, but had not cured the problem. The woman had re-offended within 18 months.
Teaching of parenting skills, and a move away from abrogation of parental responsibility was more likely to achieve a reduction in juvenile crime.
She was convinced that there was adequate police cover in the area. The number of officers deployed in her BCU rose from 200 at 10 am to 279 at 2pm and 305 between midnight and 2 am.