TIVERTON'S police sergeant has told councillors to “make their problems his” by reporting crimes at the town’s new police station.

Addressing a community-focused meeting at Mid Devon District Council, PS Simon Andrews urged members to visit the station, which reopened in March, to make sure he and his officers can tackle problems.

“If you want to speak to me or the team, we couldn’t be more accessible,” he said.

“You can knock on the door and get an update on a crime, as the chances are there will be a response officer there, and we do our best to speak to people.

“If you’ve got problems, make them ours. I’ve been here 10 months and I haven’t had issues brought to me.”

Councillors discussed a range of issues, including anti-social behaviour in Tiverton town centre, as well as crime against businesses and rural offences.

Sgt Andrews acknowledged there had been a “significant upturn” in anti-social behaviour down to three juvenile offenders from troubled homes.

“All three have reasons to do what they do,” he said, referring to difficulties at home, “but they have crossed a line and it is still work-in-progress in terms of a resolution.”

He added that two shoplifters had also been dealt with, with one due to be sentenced this month, and another due to be returned to prison soon.

“The problems that Tiverton faces are no different to any town centre,” he said.

“At a business crime meeting I attended recently, there were worries from some in attendance that someone could get stabbed or hurt, but I’ve been here 10 months and I don’t think that’s a reality.

“It’s as likely to happen here as anywhere else, and there’s no reason for Tiverton to be out of control.”

Sgt Andrews said many anti-social behaviour perpetrators either suffer from drug or alcohol addiction, or from mental health problems.

He said he and his colleagues target persistent troublemakers, and that it is vital for the community to report crimes so that police could make efforts to prevent them reoccurring.

When Councillor David Broom (Lib Dem, Tiverton Westexe) listed various issues in his ward, including speeding along Church Street, Sgt Andrews asked if he had reported them to the police.

“No, I haven’t, because with the speeders, they come and go.”

But Sgt Andrews stated that even knowing a time the speeding tended to occur would be useful information to police, who could then try to ensure officers were available at those times.

He added, however, that his officers were inevitably called elsewhere in the county to assist with incidents and operations at short notice, but that residents should continue to report crimes as “the emphasis is then on me to try and tackle it.”

Bradley Gerrard