Police are joke, says councillor
POLICING in Littleport is a joke and the force is failing residents, says cleared councillor Fred Brown. The district and parish councillor feared he might end up behind bars after he slapped a teenager who had terrorised him and spat in his wife s face
POLICING in Littleport is "a joke" and the force is failing residents, says cleared councillor Fred Brown.
The district and parish councillor feared he might end up behind bars after he slapped a teenager who had terrorised him and spat in his wife's face.
He was cleared of common assault by Ely magistrates, but Cllr Brown has said his case has highlighted chronic shortcomings in policing in Littleport.
"The fact that Cambridgeshire police has the face to call themselves a force is an absolute joke," he said.
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"There is a serious lack of police presence in Littleport and they need to wake up to the fact that there is a rife drug culture in the village."
Cllr Brown, 60, thought 15-year-old Luke Rainford was about to lash out at him at his Granby Street launderette when he confronted the teenager for vandalising the premises on August 22 last year.
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He had received a phone call from the neighbouring store, an opticians, warning him that the launderette was being "smashed up" by the teenager.
When he arrived with his wife he saw the youngster kicking a washing machine and confronted him, but the teenager spat in his wife's face and called her a "fat cow".
Lucy Goodfellow, who had raised the alarm from the opticians store, called the police twice, but was told there were no police cars in the area.
Cllr Brown, who owns a menswear shop and a bridal store in Littleport, said he faces regular problems with anti-social youths, and told magistrates: "If you call the police in Littleport on a Monday, they won't arrive until Wednesday."
He said he was recovering from treatment for skin cancer at the time and suffers from arthritis and heart problems, and he feared he wouldn't get up if he was knocked down.
Cllr Brown, pictured, denied he grabbed the boy around the throat and magistrates cleared him of assault by beating.
Presiding magistrate Hamish Ross said: "In the absence of police help, which had been requested, Mr Brown felt a duty of care to the staff in the opticians and his wife. He acted in self-defence and used reasonable force."
Cllr Brown said he intended to raise the issue at the district council after the elections. "I couldn't believe it when I was charged," he said.
"I felt sick when my fingerprints and DNA were being taken."
A police spokesman said: "Littleport has a dedicated neighbourhood policing team supported by reactive shift officers. These hold regular panel meetings to consult with residents. Should any resident have concerns regarding the policing of the area, or particular issues of crime or anti-social behaviour, they are encouraged to discuss them with local officers.