On Saturday I went to Downing Drive to attend a public meeting organised on the green by local resident Jenny, so that local residents could discuss all sort of issues of concern in the area.
I thought it brave to organise an open air meeting given the horrific thunder and hail storms we had only two days earlier, but we got away with only a smattering of rain in a short shower. All good.
The event kicked off with Jenny saying a few words of welcome to the crowd that had turned up. We then got down to business.
Quite clearly a major concern for the residents were the plans to build housing on the green where we were meeting. I can understand the worries. Open green spaces are essential to fostering good community spirit. It is clear that this open space, and another in the area, is much appreciated by the locals. The space is much used by local families and dog walkers.
We then got on to policing matters. The first issue to be mentioned was speeding traffic. Uppingham Road and Spencefield Lane were mentioned most by the audience, though Downing Drive was also mentioned. I explained to the audience about the speedwatch programme and asked Jenny to get in touch so that we could move that forward.
Next to be mentioned were illegal drugs. The smoking of cannabis seems to be an issue among local youths, and there are concerns that the dealers might use the cannabis trade as a gateway to harder drugs. Other forms of anti-social behaviour were also mentioned. In particular the way that groups of youngsters gather to drink and consume takeaways – not that his is a problem in itself but the broken beer bottle left behind most certainly are. Dogs have cut their feet on them, and parents are concerned about allowing younger children to run around.
The issue that got the biggest response from the crowd, however, was that of communication with the local police. Person after person complained that they never heard from the police, did not know what was going on and were generally left in the dark. When Jenny spoke of the difficulties of contacting the actual local policing team, many heads nodded in agreement.
I came away with much to think about and a determination to improve matters.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland
Posted on Tuesday 27th July 2021