A few weeks ago I was ‘summoned’ to the offices of AVDC following a lead article in which the Herald reported on how Aylesbury police were embarking on ‘Hitting Crime for Six’.
Displayed on the front page that week were six images depicting the different areas of crime the police are planning to tackle - pickpockets, drugs, anti-social behaviour, drinking, burglary, gangs.
My host at this get together was Matt Partridge chairman of Aylesbury Vale Community Safety Partnership and the man charged with co ordinating reducing crime and disorder across the Vale. Right from the off I sensed he wasn’t a happy chappy and it was going to be a slightly awkward liason.
Also at the meeting was the area police commander Superintendent Olly Wright, the officer leading the frontline in fighting crime in Aylesbury Vale.
So there I am sitting out of my comfort zone dutifully smiling (yes I was) and nodding my head appropriately listening to subjective complaint the Bucks Herald was running too many negtive down market stories, painting a poor image of the town.
‘Generic crime type photos and negative stories on the front pages don’t help promote Aylesbury and all the great things going on’ I was told.
Realistically though I can print (within the law) what I like and I firmly made this point to my hosts, (naughty me) whilst at the same time agreeing to consider their comments.
Sadly I know first hand many villagers and Aylesbury residents perceive the town centre as grubby and crime ridden at night, its shopping, they say, is second rate and there is nothing else to attract them outside of the Waterside Theatre to the town.
So were the guardians of our communities I sat before right and if so what can we do to drag Aylesbury out of the bad image mire and make it shine?
As Supt Wright pointed out Aylesbury Vale is indeed a very safe place to live and overall crime is low in comparison to other nearby towns.
Couple that with all the positive things happening in our neighbourhood- new shops, new college, new industry - we are not doing a very good job of image building.
I have been trying to build this positive image with two of my teenage children who already believe Aylesbury is rife with daily stabbings, murders and rape.
So people watch this space. It is time for Aylesbury to shine.
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