ALTON’S new police sergeant, Daniel Ross, hosted his first beat surgery at Alton Community Centre on recently.

Having completed 12 years as a response officer at Rushmoor, this is a step into the unknown for Sgt Ross, who said that in his previous role he only ever met with people for a few brief minutes but in Alton he was welcoming the opportunity to get to know his community in greater depth.

A family man with two young children, now in his fifth week working as part of the Neighbourhood Policing Team based at Hatch House, Sgt Ross has already found the job illuminating and, while currently an acting sergeant, he is hoping, after April, to make it a permanent position.

While the town centre has experienced incidents of minor crime in the form of pickpocketing and purse snatching, Sgt Ross is covering a large geographical and predominantly rural area and his current priority is rural crime – thieves targeting farms, outbuildings and sheds.

Operating with reduced staffing numbers – and with constantly changing priorities drawing resources away from grass roots policing – Sgt Ross confirmed the promise from government was for more officers, who were coming out of police training college on a regular basis.

In the meantime he is working on reducing the growing scourge of rural burglary by sending out nightly patrols to scour the countryside for perpetrators. He said the strategy was working.

The beat surgery was run in conjunction with Neighbourhood Watch. To get involved, contact the local co-ordinator – Eastbrooke councillor Paula Langley – at [email protected] Call the police on 101.