At a local residents meeting with the Essex Police and Crime Commissioner, held at Saffron Walden Town Hall on Monday, Tory infighting broke out as internal party tensions came to the fore.
After the meeting, local Labour activist Simon Trimnell said: “It is quite clear to me that the local Conservative party is in complete disarray. The police and crime commissioner Roger Hurst, a Conservative, blames lack of police in Saffron Walden on Conservative central government cuts while local Conservative councillors are blaming him. Meanwhile, Saffron Walden’s Conservative MP is demanding we all report more crime to get more police.”
Essex crime rates in September and August this year were the worst and second worst months, respectively, since 2010, according to the latest crime statistics. In Saffron Walden, reported crime rose 37% in January-September compared to the same period in 2016. Violent offences rose 49% while anti-social behaviour grew 39%, accounting for 20% and 30% of total reported crime, respectively.
Saffron Walden is one of the communities targeted for cuts under the Tories as Essex reduces the number of police stations in the county from 80 to 30 in a bid to save the force £63 million between 2017 and 2020.