MP's Column - Keep Penzance Safe

Keep Penzance Safe

People are right to air frustration at the apparent lack of response to the escalating anti-social behaviour in Penzance. People should not feel intimidated or threatened when they go about their business in their town centre and the last thing shops need is another reason for people to stay away. Attention is being given to the problem and a concerted and united response must take place and take place quickly. This week Cornwall Council officers led 'multi-agency' meetings to combine efforts to address the anti-social issues that have repeatedly surfaced in recent weeks and Cornwall Councillors were joined by the Mayor at the police station to meet with the Police and Crime Commissioner to stress the need to increase police presence in Penzance town centre which I fully support.

Residents and retailers need to see a clamp down on all anti-social behaviour using every tool available. Those responsible for community safety must deal with the abuse, aggressive behaviour and drug-related paraphernalia that people are witness to. We have in the past benefited from a great many competent PCSOs and police officers in West Cornwall. Numbers have reduced for various reasons including issues of police funding, job insecurity and a shift in focus to historic offences and online crime.

These decisions need to be reviewed and the new funding formula (currently under-development) must reflect the challenges of providing effective policing in rural areas. Our town centres should be places where people feel safe. Next year the Homelessness Reduction Bill comes into force which will reduce the number of rough sleepers but the issues are broader than homelessness alone and we need to work together to respond to the concerns of those affected by the current difficulties in Penzance. This is something Cornwall Councillors, the Mayor and myself have committed ourselves to.

Much could be said about the difficulties faced at Treliske Hospital. West Cornwall and St Michael's Hospital have been rated as good. The main concern is directed at Treliske. The primary focus must be to support and allow frontline staff to do their jobs with whatever resources can be made available. They need to be allowed to get on with their work and care for those of us who depend on them.