Flytipping eclipses knife crime as Milton Keynes residents’ top concern, says survey

Residents’ concerns about fly-tipping and dumped rubbish have eclipsed burglary, vehicle crime and knife crime in a survey of top concerns in Milton Keynes.

Thursday, 11th March 2021, 2:46 pm
Updated Thursday, 11th March 2021, 3:18 pm

The findings of the annual crime and community safety survey 2020/21 were reported to Wednesday’s meeting (March 10) of the Safer MK community safety partnership.

The number of people taking part in the annual survey has crashed to 1,284 from 2,361 last year when the top concern was knife crime following tragic murders in the city.

Councillors at the meeting believe an increase in concern about dumping may be because residents have been out walking locally more during lockdown and reporting incidents much more than before.

Dog owner Cllr Lauren Townsend (Lab, Bletchley West) said she had noticed more people getting out and about in Milton Keynes and welcomed an increased number of reports.

“It is good that the number of reports are going up, so they can be dealt with quicker,” said Cllr Townsend, who is the council’s cabinet member for community safety and was chairing the meeting.

She said the council has invested in CCTV, is trying to pick hotspot issues up as they arise and is showing that the council is “a lot firmer, a lot harder” in prosecuting offenders.

Cllr Jenni Ferrans (Lib Dem, Monkston) said she thought this year had been an “odd one for crime” with different patterns seen between being in and out of lockdown.

Flytipped rubbish

She said she thinks the number of reports has risen but she “doesn’t think the number of cases has gone up” because there have been multiple reports of the same dumped items.

Cllr Keith McLean (Cons, Olney) said he had received complaints from residents who came back to him very soon after to say that the rubbish had been cleaned up.

“Whilst it is occuring, it is being cleaned up relatively quickly which is a good thing,” he said.

Cllr Robin Bradburn (Lib Dem, Bradwell) said there is a “massive national issue” that needs a national response.

Referring to an investigation by the BBC’s Panorama team, he said: “This is a massive national problem and seems to have got to the stage like organised crime.”

The top concerns of the survey were: Environmental crime, which includes fly tipping, dumping rubbish, dog fouling and graffiti (67 per cent), burglary 66 per cent, vehicle crime and theft 63 per cent.

In 2019/20 the biggest concern was knife crime at 77 per cent. It is now the fourth biggest concern of MK residents.