Vow to ask "tough questions" of police following three armed raids

Government cuts to community police are putting our safety, warns Bolton South East MP, Yasmin Qureshi, following a spate of burglaries.

Yasmin Qureshi has vowed to ask "tough questions" of the police after three armed raids in Bolton within 11 days.

She has voiced concerns after the latest robbery at Asda in St Helens Road, Daubhill, when four masked men armed with sledgehammers stole a cash box from a Loomis cash delivery driver, containing "tens of thousands of pounds".

A shopper at Aldi in Trinity Street was slashed with a machete after the store was targeted by five masked robbers on June 29, and on July 3 H&T Pawnbrokers in Newport Street was targeted by four men wearing helmets and armed with axes, who made off with jewellery.

The Labour MP says she will meet with police for reassurance that everything is being done to protect the community, after the three incidents in her constituency.

Her intervention comes after she met with staff at Asda following the armed robbery on Friday morning.

Ms Qureshi said: “I was inspired by the bravery of the Asda colleagues, who are no less than local heroes in the way they attempted to stand up to these thieves.

“People being frightened to shop at their local or even leave their home is not acceptable and I will be asking tough questions to why this has been allowed to happen and I will address issues raised to me by local businesses who rightly put the safety of their staff and customers first and foremost.”

Ms Qureshi, who was re-elected at May's general election with an increased majority, says she believes these recent armed raids show how cuts to policing will take their toll on communities.

The Bolton News recently revealed that the town centre has no dedicated police presence on Friday nights, and will instead be covered by a borough-wide response unit.

Ms Qureshi added: “Sadly this is an example of things to come after George Osborne announced further cuts last week that will divide and destroy our communities by making families and the vulnerable suffer.”

Police chiefs say the decision to withdraw the unit, usually based in a van in Nelson Square, was made after a recent drop in crime, and Bolton's most senior officer, Ch Supt Shaun Donnellan, said he was comfortable that anyone who needs help on Friday nights will still get it.

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