Sunderland residents have been accused by Sunderland councillors of not caring about their community.
Local councillors for the Hendon and Ashbrooke Police And Communities Together scheme say that more people need to start attending the monthly meetings if they want to make a real difference in the community.
Coun Peter Wood of Sunderland City council said: “The success of the PACT meetings depends on people turning up to them and attendances are usually poor. I don’t really feel they make a difference in the community and we need regular meetings attracting a good attendance to do that.”
As the aim of the PACT meetings is to help communities liaise with the local police and councillors to discuss crime and general problems in their areas, it can be hard to resolve the issues if the number of residents is low. Coun Michael Dixon, of Sunderland City Council, said: “Attendance by the residents is either very low or non-existent.
“As councillors we delivered a newsletter to every house in our area that included an offer to help set up a Resident’s Association exclusively for Hill View and did not get any response. There is only so much the police and councillors can do.”
Eddy Moore, Chairman of the Longstreets Action Group, agreed that the number of residents attending the Hendon PACT meetings was low but it wasn’t always that way. He said: “When the meetings first started, we used to have quite a few residents turn up, but it became a bit of joke when we realised most of them were only turning up for the free buffet. Once we put a stop to the buffet the number of residents became less and less.”
Now that the numbers are at an all-time low, both the councillors and Mr Moore agree that something needs to be done to help publicise the meetings and encourage more residents to attend.
Coun Wood believes that more effort is needed from the police if the PACT meetings are going to be helpful for the community. He said: “Two things I believe the police need to do are ensure they attend each PACT meeting themselves and generate more publicity for each event.”#####