New chief inspector Lynda Coates addresses St Albans district council

St Albans chief inspector Lynda Coates addresses the district council. Picture: St Albans district c

St Albans chief inspector Lynda Coates addresses the district council. Picture: St Albans district council. - Credit: Archant

St Albans’ new chief inspector has revealed the district has seen an increase in residential burglaries this year.

Lynda Coates last night addressed St Albans district council, five weeks after taking on the role of the district’s top cop.

She admitted there had been an increase in residential burglaries of 9.5 per cent in the district from April to date compared to last year, while other areas in Hertfordshire had seen a decrease.

“I know it’s a problem”, Ch Insp Coates told the councillors. “My team know it’s a problem and we are working really, really hard to try and reduce that for you, for me, for us.”

The police had introduced covert and visible patrols to tackle the problem and employed technical options to identify offenders.

Ch Insp Coates said the burglary suspects she knows of are the same ones from when she was a sergeant in St Albans at the start of the millennium.

“We police them robustly. We are knocking on their door every time and stop them every time and when we do my team have my authority to stick their hands in their pockets.”

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Car crime is also up by ten per cent, she revealed. The same rate as Hertfordshire overall.

“The police cannot do it on their own. Policing is everybody’s business. I strike a very difficult balance to hear all of your issues around police and crime. We need to find a way of being able to communicate with each other.”

She spoke about the importance of priority setting forums, where police officers and councillors meet to discuss crime issues.

However the forums were criticised by several councillors, with the Liberal Democrats’ leader on the council Chris White saying they do not work.

He elaborated: “I have been to one where all of the priorities we have recommended at the previous forum had been forgotten.”

The chief inspector said the forums needed to be changed, not abandoned.

Cllr Frances Leonard asked whether the police can do anything to reduce the level of fly-tipping, such as stopping vehicles carrying waste to check they have a licence to carry it.

Ch Insp Coates said they had conducted waste disposal spot checks and this week, officers had interviewed a man about fly-tipping offences.