Alok Sharma, Member of Parliament for Reading West, last week hosted a public meeting for the residents of Birch Copse and Westwood wards at Birch Copse Primary School.
Alok chaired the panel which included Superintendent Jim Weems and Inspector Chris Ward of the Thames Valley Police; representatives from West Berkshire Council included Chief Executive Nick Carter and Building Communities Together Team Manager Susan Powell. The meeting was attended by around 50 local residents.
The meeting provided a valuable opportunity for local residents to raise their concerns with the local police and the Council.
Nuisance motorcycles were one of the key issues arising from the meeting. Residents expressed concern to the Thames Valley Police and wanted to know how the issue was being tackled. Superintendent Jim Weems and Inspector Chris Ward encouraged residents to call 101 to report crime like antisocial behaviour by motorcycle riders. By calling this number in the case of non-emergencies, the police can piece together a picture and map these sorts of disturbances. Thames Valley Police also said that where it is safe to do so, taking a picture or recording the registration plate of the motorcycle can be very helpful, however Superintendent Jim Weems emphasised that the public must not put themselves in danger to obtain this information.
Residents also raised issues regarding parking in the area. There is a concern about cars blocking driveways particularly at school drop off and collection times. West Berkshire Council have provided guidance on how to report parking issues of residents and how to differentiate between the severity of the parking incursion.
Traveller encampments were also of concern to residents. Mr Sharma highlighted that the Government is launching a consultation into the effectiveness of the powers that police and local authorities have to tackle this issue. Mr Sharma explained that the Government will be seeking views on whether there is anything more that they can do to ensure that existing powers are used more effectively. Mr Sharma encouraged local residents to contribute to the consultation once it is launched.
Alok Sharma MP said: “The public meeting for the residents of Birch Copse and Westwood Wards provided residents with a valuable opportunity to share their views and raise any issues they had regarding crime and antisocial behaviour in the area. My thanks to Superintendent Jim Weems and Inspector Chris Ward of the Thames Valley Police and Nick Carter and Susan Powell of West Berkshire Council for taking part in the session. As promised at the meeting I am writing to attendees to follow up on a number of issues raised.”