Chief inspector to meet residents after social media 'policing' page set up over Stone crimewave

A Staffordshire Police chief inspector is set to meet with residents concerned about crime in their town – and people have been urged to not take matters into their own hands.

A Facebook group calling Policing the Streets of Stone has been sharing information on various incidents in the area in recent weeks.

But Staffordshire Police have also taken to social media to say they do not want members of the public confronting others due to the potential risks.

Policing operations in Stone have resulted in a series of arrests in recent day, in connection with suspected theft, handling and possession of drugs.

And Chief Inspector Giles Parsons, who heads up Stafford Borough’s neighbourhood policing team, is due to meet with Stone residents later this month, a community leader has revealed.

Chief Inspector Parsons said: “We’ve been busy again through the weekend, building on the 11 arrests made last week.

“We’re grateful for the support and information we’ve had from the public. Please continue to let us know about any suspicious behaviour, but let us deal with incidents.”

Town, borough and county councillor Jill Hood highlighted the situation in Stone at a Staffordshire County Council meeting on Thursday.

She said: “We have been going through really bad times with crime. I don’t like to say that publically but it’s the harsh reality of Covid.

Thugs

“We have these thugs, criminals, drug pushers, drug dealers and petty criminals that think under the cover of Covid they can go around our town, our area, break into people’s properties, steal whatever they see and challenge residents who catch them in the process.

“It really is an awful time, to the point that midweek we had a Facebook page which is challenging the police now touching on 3,000 members, which is huge for a page. The upshot is we will be meeting with Chief Inspector Giles Parsons.

“But what worries me the most is the fact that since this group has been set up – I wouldn’t call it a vigilante group, that’s a bit strong – it’s extremely worried residents who just want to protect their families and their properties.

“We’ve had an overwhelming number of arrests and detained criminals. Yes, some of them are released the day after, but we have areas where you can look at your watch and know that the local group of drug dealers are collecting, buying and selling.

“It’s atrocious and Stone has never been like that – we’re getting a reputation.”

Councillor Hood praised the dedication of the town’s police however – and fellow members welcomed the news that Staffordshire Police had received a good rating in its latest inspection.

Councillor Stephen Sweeney, who chairs Staffordshire Police, Fire and Crime Panel, said: “This is an improvement from before as it was requiring improvement in certain sections.

“For the police to get an overall good in every section is an excellent bit of news – and the fire service is good with some outstanding characteristics. The police are hot on their tails now and this is very good news for the people of Staffordshire.”

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