An increase in crime in Ramsey since the town’s police station closed its doors has been put down to the growing population in the area and the ways crime is reported.
Figures obtained by The Hunts Post under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that 1,192 crimes were reported in the town from September 2014 to August 2015, compared to the same period in 2015/16, when 1,248 incidents were recorded - an increase of almost five per cent.
The increase in crime comes after Cambridgeshire police officially closed the station in the town in September 2015, with the enquiry office closing a year earlier in September 2014.
A police spokesman said: “We’ve seen an increase in crime across Huntingdonshire over the past year and we understand that to be a result of the growth in population and changes in the way crimes are recorded. There’s nothing to suggest that the closure of Ramsey police station has impacted these figures in any way.
“It’s important to remember that Ramsey police station closed as a reactive patrol office long before its official closure in September last year. We have the same number of officers and patrols as we have had in previous years.”
The constabulary decided to close the station as part of a savings review, with running costs of £23,000 per year recouped after the move was confirmed.
District and county councillor for Ramsey, Councillor Peter Reeve, said: “It is retrograde this idea that police officers should be disconnected from the community and to move across huge areas rather than be an integrated part of the community.
“I don’t think there has been a huge amount of extra crime in Ramsey. We haven’t started seeing the problem of not having a police station.”
Cllr Reeve has also put the increase in crimes down to individuals in the town who were “being released from prison prematurely”.
Since the police station closed, the force said its presence in the town had been maintained through street surgeries and other community engagement activities.
MP for Ramsey, Shailesh Vara, said: “Police presence is, of course, very important but we need to recognise there are a lot of methods to tackle crime such as CCTV which assists in helping to reduce crime.”
In 2016 the police and crime panel was told the police station was “no longer required operationally” and options were explored for a change of use or potential sale of the building.