05:15PM, Thursday 28 July 2016
A call has been made for Slough Borough Council (SBC) to ‘take more responsibility’ in working to reduce the fear of sexual assaults.
At Tuesday’s full council meeting, councillors from across the parties agreed more needs to be done to tackle sexual crimes in Slough.
A motion put forward by Cllr Rayman Bains (Con, Upton) called for SBC and the Safer Slough Partnership (SSP) to ‘prioritise’ working towards reducing fear of sexual assaults across the town.
The SSP is the town’s crime and disorder panel which includes representatives from SBC, police and other public bodies including the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service.
Speaking at the meeting about the motion, Cllr Bains said he had met with Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner, Anthony Stansfeld, where he had agreed an ‘action plan’ would be put together.
However, months on from the meeting, Cllr Bains says he has yet to hear anything back from police.
Speaking to the Express, Cllr Bains said: “The council does need to take a lot of responsibility and blame and the SSP needs to make the issue more of a priority.
“The council in power and the ruling party should be putting pressure on Anthony Stansfeld and the police to try and combat this.”
A number of attacks have taken place in public places, including Salt Hill Park and Slough Crematorium.
On July 11, 56-year-old Christopher Rode, of Granville Avenue, Slough, was jailed for life after he admitted raping a woman in the crematorium in May.
In light of Rode’s sentencing, SBC confirmed it has moved to link up CCTV cameras at the crematorium to the council’s central CCTV system hub which is monitored 24 hours a day.
On July 8, 18-year-old engineering student Damian Kazimierczak, of Salt Hill Way, was found guilty of one count of attempted murder and rape of a 36-year-old woman in Salt Hill Park in December.
Cllr Bains added the people of Slough should be ‘angered’ over the fact his fellow councillors have failed to attend the Thames Valley Police and Crime panel where police can be held to account.
In the last four meetings, an SBC representative has only been present twice.
In response, the newly appointed panel member, Cllr Paul Sohal, who is also the commissioner for regulation and consumer control, confirmed he had attended the last meeting on June 17.
He added he would try his best to attend as many meetings as he could and ‘improve’ SBC’s record.
Detective Chief Inspector Nikki Pierce said: “Thames Valley Police will continue to work closely with Slough Borough Council, including through the Safer Slough Partnership, to ensure members of the community are confident in reporting sexual offences to police and comfortable in raising any community issues.
“One area the partnership’s work will be to explore further safety measures in open spaces and parks to ensure the public feel safe visiting them.
“The force takes all reports of sexual offences extremely seriously. The increase in reports of sexual offences can be attributed to a number of factors including changes to the crime recording process and domestic abuse risk assessment process.
“In addition many victims are coming forward to report non-recent offences. This shows a greater confidence amongst victims that police will deal with sexual offences in a sympathetic way and make every effort to bring offenders to justice. All reports are dealt with sensitively by specialist detectives.
“Offences will be investigated and the force will work closely with other agencies to ensure victims receive the appropriate support. If you are a victim of sexual offences or know someone who is then please come forward and report this.”
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