TWO TEST Valley councillors are calling on Hampshire police to beef up their community patrols across the borough in a bid to tackle crime.

This comes as officers from Hampshire Constabulary stopped and searched a 26-year-old man near Knightwood Leisure Centre, Chandler’s Ford, after they smelt cannabis in the area.

They discovered the man, from Chandler’s Ford, had a small amount of the Class B drug on him and issued a Cannabis Warning on Saturday, July 18.

Now, one community leader has claimed the root of this problem stems from former Home Secretary and Prime Minister, Theresa May, approving cuts to policing since 2010.

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However, a spokesperson from Hampshire police insisted the "local neighbourhood teams continually track and review incidents" within their areas.

Cllr Alan Dowden, who represents Valley Park on the borough council, said: “I can assure you this has been going on for a while and I have been pushing the police to do more patrols here for a number of reasons.

“I have reported this activity to the police because of the concerns expressed by residents about cannabis use, as you can smell it and I know it goes on here.

“It is not only that, but it is other things happening here with a lot of youngsters where they are taking laughing gas [nitrous oxide] and a lot of that is being used.”

Romsey Advertiser: Cllr Alan DowdenCllr Alan Dowden

He added: “Prevention is better than cure and if we had more community police in Valley Park, which we had in the past, then we wouldn’t get these problems in the first place.

“The police have got difficulties and they cannot deliver what they haven’t got, but when it went wrong was when Mrs May did all of these cuts with authorities; now we are all paying the price.”

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Cllr Dorothy Baverstock, who represents Romsey Cupernham on the borough council, said: “I certainly agree [with Cllr Dowden], because I have been a big advocate for more police over the years.

“When I was a teenager, we always had a policeman around and he was a great person for making sure you obeyed the rules, but there is nobody around to do that.

“Police cuts have definitely had an effect on communities and when I speak to the police they say they have so much cyber crime to investigate, but at what expense?

“It is at the expense of people in the communities.”

Romsey Advertiser: Cllr Dorothy Baverstock Cllr Dorothy Baverstock

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She added: “You do not have to be brain of Britain to realise when people are selling drugs and, as a councillor, it is amazing how many times people tell me what is going on, because they don’t want to tell the police themselves.”

A spokesperson from Hampshire police said: “Patrols in the area will be ongoing. The local neighbourhood teams continually track and review incidents within their areas to set patrol plans and their community priorities.”