A PUBLIC meeting has been called over concerns about the rise in crime in a Cotswold village.

Paul Hodgkinson, Gloucestershire County Councillor for Bourton-on-the-Water, said he was encouraging people to attend the meeting which he had called due to concerns about crime, and particularly after the post office ram-raid.

In August the Journal reported on the extensive damage inflicted on Bourton Post Office and shop in the attempted ram-raid.

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Thieves used a vehicle to try to force their way in, but fled the scene empty-handed after being disturbed. Postmistress Melissa Samuel told the paper afterwards that the ram-raid had been “a nightmare”, as it was second time it had happened to one of her villages shops in recent years, and they have been forced to close the post office for months.

Cllr Hodgkinson has also highlighted the rise in anti-social behaviour. The police.uk website reports between September 2018 and August 2019 there were 199 anti-social behaviour incidents in the village – a rise of 30 per cent on the previous year.

Cllr Hodgkinson said: “I’m sure we have all been shocked at the raid on the post office recently.

“I’ve spoken to Melissa (the post office’s postmistress) about that raid and I am working on getting some physical obstructions outside the premises to stop any future ram-raiding.

“With that incident and a number of reports of anti social behaviour in different parts of Bourton, I’ve decided to call a public meeting on the subject.

“Previously I organised a series of meetings for members of the public to come along and hear from the police – the time is definitely right to hold another one.

“I’ll be chairing it and it will be an opportunity to hear from the police about the action they’re taking and to raise points and questions directly with them.

“We all want to support the police in the difficult job they do but also to be a critical friend in making sure they’re focusing on the things which local people are worried about.”

READ MORE: New approach to policing in Moreton which has seen a rise in crime

Cllr Hodgkinson said Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl will join Cotswolds police representatives at the meeting, which is being held at George Moore Community Centre on Monday, October 21 from 7pm.

In May the Journal reported on Gloucestershire Police's new approach to halt the rise in crime in another Cotswold village, Moreton-in-Marsh.

Police crime statistics show that, having remained static for four years, last year recorded crime in Moreton rose by 20 per cent and low level assaults, criminal damage and drug offences all recorded rises in that town.

In response, the police launched the Intensive Engagement approach, designed to harness the efforts of statutory and non-statutory agencies to tackle problems within communities, and to work on solutions to reduce the conditions, that lead to crime or anti-social behaviour in that village.