INVITED parties came together in Andover on June 24 to discuss crime in Kit Malthouse MP’s constituency of North West Hampshire.

The panel discussion featured Siobhan Down, CEO of Yellow Brick Road Projects; James Fitzgerald, county adviser at the National Farmers’ Union; Donna Jones, Police and Crime Commissioner; and Hampshire Constabulary’s Inspector Chris Taylor, Chief Superintendent Kory Thorne, and Chief Inspector Scott Johnson.

Each gave a presentation, followed by the opportunity for guests to ask questions.

Prominent themes included the police recruitment campaign, which has seen 479 of a target 600 additional officers hired so far across Hampshire; county lines and drug-related crime; violence against women and girls; and anti-social behaviour.

Following his presentation, Mr Malthouse said: “I hope you see the suite of national tools and funding and are reassured about the work that is being done. You have a voice and we can all ensure that North West Hampshire remains a safe and happy place to live.”

Donna Jones PCC spoke about the work she has been doing in response to the consultation she launched at the start of her term, which had more than 8,000 respondents.

“You said it’s all well and good having police officers, but you want to see them more,” she said.

Ms Jones outlined plans to look at an app or other technology to make reporting crime easier.

“Hampshire Constabulary are generally working incredibly hard with the information you give them but what we need to do is start giving you [the reporter] feedback.”

A mother of two teenage boys herself, she said that concerns around the behaviour of young people following the pandemic - something which has been a concern for many in Andover in recent months - is a key priority for her, and she is working closely with charities and organisations to become more aware of the results of trauma and how to proactively address youth crime.

She said: “There has been a spike in anti-social behaviour because there was less for young people to do. What they then did was hang around public spaces and get on people’s nerves.”

Read more about the crime summit conversations in the Advertiser over the coming weeks.

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