Violence, theft and blood. Shopkeepers left to police the streets of Truro.

Received this morning 16/06/2021

The streets of Truro are currently turning into a playground for aggressive drunks – given free range to drink on the streets, fight, steal and generally abuse those trying to work or responsibly enjoy the city.

Last week started with an employee being verbally and physically abused whilst walking to work in the morning. ‘What are you f*****g looking at’ being the first words offered by a known drunk. Our employee was simply looking at nothing other than the pavement in front of him. Not happy with that, the verbal abuse continued, ‘I’ll f*****g smash you around the head’ whilst waving a bottle being the next offering. Not content with being ignored the drunk then pushed our employee from behind causing him to stumble but luckily not fall.

If we do not intend to do anything about this behaviour, why do we waste our time legislating against it? By doing nothing we encourage anything and eventually people get hurt. (FYI no action was taken but yet again we wasted our time in reporting it.)

People will recall that the spring started with our local toilet cleaner being assaulted whilst going about their job. If Shopwatch were to list all of the incidents that have happened since and report them all we would need a full-time employee just for that purpose. Nearly every incident of aggression and violence on the streets of Truro, is fuelled by street drinking. I was under the impression that there is a public drinking ban in Truro. Why have a ban if we do not enforce it, why waste our time discussing it if we do not enforce it? Would it not be good social practise to discourage drinking in the streets?

Just yesterday there was a prolonged spree of violence that spread into a number of the city’s streets. Largely caused by people drinking. One individual was getting kicked in the head by another. There were three to four other drunks exchanging blows with blood running down faces. This all happening in the city centre. Children were crying and people were frightened. 999 was called but response by our reckoning was not evident for 30 minutes. By which time those involved had dispersed across the city.

Shortly after, we were called on the Shopwatch radio to help New Look with some aggressive drunks that had been stealing and refusing to return goods. We caught up with the drunks involved who continued to be aggressive and abusive, whilst confidently quoting ‘the law’ to us. Luckily we did get police assistance, one officer that would have struggled if circa 9 shop workers were not also assisting and putting themselves in danger, chasing down and detaining drunk aggressive thieves. Were all the stolen goods recovered despite being in clear sight? No!

The female was allowed to walk away after declaring a ‘panic attack,’ still wearing one of the many items stolen. One of her drunk associates (drinking beer from a can) handed back to her a 1 litre bottle of alcohol and she walked down the street arms aloft having beaten ‘the non-existent system’ again. If there is a drinking ban why was the alcohol not disposed of by the officer?

What do we have to do in order to effect change? We are told that reporting incidents will increase the likelihood of increased resourcing and response. However, the pure lack of support and subsequent action deters reporting in the first instance. More than one police officer has suggested that a media campaign showing Truro to be ‘unsafe’ would encourage more action than any crime number collation. I have investments in 3 soon to be 4 shops in Truro – why would I want to make Truro look like it is? From purely a business point of view it would be best to keep that dirty little ‘secret’ a secret.

If getting some positive action does require a magical figure of crime reports to be recorded, I would like to know what that number is? Maybe, I could then simply organise a massive and overwhelming influx of crime reports, duplicated across many businesses for every infringement and subsequent consideration. Sounds like a waste of police time to me especially when what we need are police on the streets. It’s obvious what we should be doing so can we please talk constructively about how to start doing that?

I suggest that preventing drunks (or anyone) from drinking alcohol on the streets of Truro as being a good place to start. Why are we not confiscating alcohol being consumed on the streets?

Making Truro a pleasant place to visit is essential for the health of the retail sector in our lovely little city.

Martin Gaunt

Happy Piranha Ltd

Letter to Alison Hernandez Police Commissioner from Bert Biscoe

Dear Alison,

I am writing to forward the note from Mr Gaunt, a local businessman, which has been widely circulated today.

We seem to go in cycles – things get beyond the point of tolerance; somebody kicks off; something is done with a bit of money that has suddenly materialised; things calm down until….off we go again.

The illustrative evidence offered by Mr Gaunt does not do justice to the incidents, which frighten people. Inevitably, such materials find their way to social media and, before you know it, we have yet another deterrent to doing business in Truro – and so the slow spin cycle takes the town down another notch.

There is no substitute or alternative to slow walking patrols through the town centre – they prevent and, most importantly, assure people. I see little point in investing in CCTV and all the rest of of the paraphernalia if all that it does is to provide pictures of what should not be occurring, and not triggering action to prevent, stop or punish protagonists.

Dribs and drabs of one-off money are no good. We need to see a sustainable uplift in revenue sufficient to support a town police force that can focus on the town, in all its diverse aspects, and police to pre-empt and deter – not to react and frustrate.

You have been diligent in finding resources to meet specifics, but, truth is, we have a chronic and slowly worsening problem which doesn’t need solutions as much as it needs a re-cultured service to create conditions in which it is impossible for such activities, habits and incidents to develop or erupt. It comes down to resources, I know. How to get dosh out of the Government?

I think tell them if they want productivity and growth to pay off the COVID debt, they need to fund policing to create an environment conducive to productivity and consumption.

I hope this is helpful

Best wishes, as ever,