West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion has rebuffed suggestions that a lack of police presence is making Whitchurch a ‘scary’ place to live.

The claim was made by Councillor Jessica McCauley when Mr Campion attended a question and answer session at the council meeting last week.

Cllr McCauley asserted that people don’t feel safe in the day or night because of anti-social behaviour among youths in the town, also stating that the nearest police presence is a minimum 30 minutes away.

But Mr Campion said: “We do a lot on youth services to cancel out anti-social behaviour as it’s the perception of the crime rather how much it’s happening.

“I want to give you confidence that if you needed the police service they would be here before 25 minutes and wouldn’t be coming from Shrewsbury.”

Mr Campion appeared before councillors and Whitchurch residents at the meeting last week and answered a number of pre-prepared questions.

He said: “The local area might only have one police constable and police community support officer, but they’re part of a wider team in the area.

“We want foot patrols too, but we recognise that it’s difficult that police are visible and known to be visible. Mobile technology will help us improve that visibility.

“It’s about police working with the community to fix issues in society.

“But there’s no place in society for vigilantism that would likely put people in harm’s way; these individuals aren’t trained.

“Always report and tell police if you don’t think something is right. It’s up to us to decide what we do with that information and we’ll be held accountable.”

Mr Campion also insisted that while West Mercia has struggled with 101 calls, the service is currently operating at 82 per cent, which is two above the target for answering calls.

But he re-iterated the importance of smart phones for officers who can utilise social media to combat crime.

He also stated that plans to house Whitchurch’s police and fire service are moving forward and insisted the town’s police station isn’t ‘fit for purpose’.

Mr Campion also added that he took an intended barb that he was ‘painting a rosy picture’ as a compliment because of the hard work they have put in.