CRIME was a hot topic at the recent meeting of Flint Town Council.

Councillor received a report from Inspector Gareth Cust, of North Flintshire’s Policing team, where he addressed councillors concerns, discussed the latest crime statistics and the future of local policing for the town.

Worries were brought up by Cllr Paul Cunningham, representing he Trelawny area of Flint, about the subject of drug abusers and the issues that follow this.

He said: “I am glad to see that crime is going in the right direction – down. But I have some concerns regarding drug abuse highlighted on social media as becoming quite a problem, particularly around the town centre.”

Inspector Cust said people who present as homeless to Flintshire Council will more than likely be placed in Flint – and that some of these issues have become intensified as a result of this.

He said those who present drug dependency habits often bring additional problems to the area – such as a rise in shoplifting offences in order to fund these behaviours.

Cllr Ian Roberts, leader of Flintshire Council, expressed his concerns for the area with the rise of homelessness across the country – describing the UK-wide crisis as ‘astonishing’.

However, Inspector Cust told the council that it was ‘good news on the whole’ to report as figures indicate crime is decreasing in most of the town. Most wards in the Flint area have witnessed an overall decrease in crime compared to this time last year.

The Coleshill area saw a drop of 15.5 per cent, Oakenholt recorded a 23.8 per cent decline and Trelawny had almost a third less crime recorded with 32.3 per cent.

The only ward to see an increase – of 10 per cent – was the Castle ward. Inspector Cust said this area is a patch that the policing team is looking to shift more focus onto and tackling any prolific offenders.

Inspector Cust said this rise could also be attributed to an overhaul in the way that crimes are now recorded, with the new model being a ‘truer and more reflective’ map of crime in the region.

He added that, overall, these figures paint a positive picture for Flint as the overall number of crimes recorded in the town has reduced by 48 since last June.

Finally, in a letter circulated at the meeting, Inspector Cust also informed the council of some changes to the neighbourhood policing team in order to meet the changing needs of the local communities they serve and be able to offer the best form of protection.

The letter, penned by former chief inspector of North Wales Police Jon Bowcott, said: “We need new ideas and new approaches – simply carrying on with the same approach is not an option as it will no longer best protect communities. It is only right that our Neighbourhood Policing model continues to evolve and improve in order to meet the changing needs in our communities.

“The one thing that won’t, however, change is our determination to ensure that everyone in our communities feel listened to and empowered.”

The statement goes on to say that each area will have, in recognition of changing nature of crime, the proper allocation of officers.