The Bridgwater Chamber of Commerce welcomed Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Shelford on Friday 9th February as he visited local businesses to listen to their crime-related concerns. Accompanied by Sergeant Kat, the visit aimed to address pressing issues affecting the town’s business community.
The afternoon commenced with a walk through the town centre, during which Chamber Manager Diogo Rodrigues highlighted key concerns regularly voiced by local businesses. This was followed by direct engagements with business owners to understand their challenges firsthand. Primary issues raised included incidents of anti-social behaviour, particularly related to drinking in the town centre, and disturbances caused by young individuals.
Subsequently, a roundtable discussion was held at Angel Place Shopping Centre, where Bridgwater Chamber members had the opportunity to express their concerns directly to Mark Shelford and call for action. Among the prominent concerns raised were anti-social behaviour, public drinking, shoplifting, drug-related activities, and speeding.
Commenting on the shared concerns, Chamber Manager Diogo Rodrigues said, “What is obvious is that the concerns of these business owners are the same concerns that many regular town centre visitors would have. The problem that businesses face is that all of these issues deter people from visiting the town centre which has a negative effect on trade”.
With Sergeant Kat in attendance, discussions centred on actionable steps to address the highlighted challenges. Sergeant Kat outlined existing initiatives while acknowledging the need for further interventions. Notably, consideration was given to implementing a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) to empower law enforcement in tackling anti-social behaviour effectively.
Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Shelford pledged to return in six months to assess the progress made and gather feedback from local businesses.
Diogo Rodrigues added, “We’ll gladly host the Police and Crime Commissioner again in the Summer and we welcome the opportunity for our Chamber members to lobby Avon & Somerset Police directly”.
Thank you to Jeff Searle for the Photography