Blackburn Town Centre has two new police officers patrolling the town centre – thanks to additional funding from Blackburn with Darwen Council and Blackburn Business Improvement District (BID).
PC Emma Lougheed and PC Paul Foster were appointed in October to patrol the town centre and have already had a noticeable impact. They will patrol the centre alongside the three PCSOs, officers on secondment and the Blackburn Businesses Against Crime (BBAC) initiative.
PC Lougheed has spent six years in Hyndburn on response, while PC Foster has worked across all of Eastern Division, and has recently spent time as a temporary response Sergeant in Blackburn.
PC Foster said: “I’m really enjoying it. I’m familiar with the town centre, but now we are able to make sure that we are providing extra patrols and tackling issues such as shoplifting, homelessness and drugs.”
They each patrol the town centre, right across to Townsmoor Retail Park, diverting resources where there is more demand. They also look for patterns in crime and tackling them to make Blackburn a safer and more secure place for visitors and businesses.
PC Lougheed said: “Our appointment has already made a difference. People are more aware of our presence and so are the offenders. We have only had positive comments and I think the public are reassured.”
PC Foster added: “It helps when people are dealing with the same faces. Not only do businesses know who we are, we know who they are, and we also recognise the repeat offenders in the town centre.”
Sgt Steve Dundon, Neighbourhood and Town Centre, said: “I came into post in June 2019 and it has been a steep learning curve with some unique challenges – but we are seeing improvements in the town centre.
“It’s important that shoppers and traders feel safe and secure in the town centre. We want to make sure it’s a safe and welcoming environment in the town centre.”
“I look forward to continuing working with the Blackburn BID, Council and other partners to help achieve this aim.”
Catherine Price, Blackburn BID Manager added “Making Blackburn town centre safer and more secure is one of the key priorities for Blackburn BID and it’s fantastic that we’ve been able to work in partnership with Blackburn with Darwen Council to fund 2 dedicated town centre police officers. PC Lougheed and PC Foster are already making a difference in the town centre”.
Councillor Phil Riley, Executive Member for Growth and Development, said: “Blackburn town centre attracts large numbers of residents and visitors from all over and we are really keen to make the experience as welcoming and positive as possible.”