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Call for new police forum after 'disorder in Wycombe'
4:00pm Monday 2nd December 2013 in News
A CALL for an Asian police forum received the support of residents at a meeting held in the wake of alleged disorder in an area of High Wycombe.
A motion put forward by Wycombe District Councillor Chauhdry Shafique to set up a police consultative body for Asian and ethnic minority residents was approved by the audience of about 75 people.
The aim of the forum is to set up communication channels between the community and officers - with the overall objective of holding the police to account.
Cllr Shafique told the meeting: "There’s work that needs to be taken up to build a relationship with our police...to rebuild confidence, an Asian police forum [is needed] with our colleagues and police on the same side of the table to talk about issues and to see both sides so we have a balanced view."
It comes after a meeting hosted by the Justice 4 Paps group last Monday raised concerns about a series of events in the Green Street area in recent weeks - with a wider focus on police operations in the town.
Green Street shop keepers stood up to say they had seen a number of incidents - ranging from drug dealing to vandalism - which they claimed police have failed to act upon.
Omar Baig, who runs the Al Madina Sweet Centre, told the meeting: "There are problems with drugs and selling drugs, it needs to be stopped - the community is not going to be happy if police don’t do something.
"There is an elderly woman - who is in her eighties - who is scared to come out of her flat to do her shopping because of it."
The Justice 4 Paps group has also launched a petition calling for a Public Inquiry into policing in High Wycombe.
Addressed to Wycombe MP Steve Baker, Thames Valley Police’s Chief Constable Sara Thornton and Police & Crime Commissioner Anthony Stansfeld, the petition states: "We are entitled to police services that work for us and not against us, to policing that is professional and thorough.
"We need accountability and transparency and respect for ALL victims of crime as well as action against officers that abuse their powers."
It goes on to state it does not believe officers have "acted professionally" in regards to incidents in Green Street, criticises police over Operation Ribbon and a "lack of action against Islamophobic and racial harassment".
Wycombe Commander Superintendent Gilbert Houalla and Chief Inspector Colin Seaton said they "would welcome any effective and constructive communication" with a new police forum.
They added transparency in policing was vital for public confidence but Supt Houalla rejected suggestions police had acted inappropriately in regards to the issues raised at the meeting.
See the Free Press website later this week for a full response from the police chiefs.
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