Crime and disorder raised by Reading voters on election day

On Thursday (May 2), the Chronicle spoke to voters in the town centre, not far away from the Central Library which was host to a polling station for the 2024 local elections.

Michael Maynard, who lives in Wilson Road , raised concerns about drug taking and anti-social behaviour in his area. He said: “We’re having problems down the road with people taking drugs in phone boxes.

“I used to do the road closures [the school street] for Wilson Primary School, and we used to find loads of needles on the floor.

“All it takes is a little kiddy to pick that needle up, prick themselves and they’ll end up in hospital. It’s not fair for the youngsters.”

Mr Maynard. who lives in Battle ward, expressed exasperation at the supposed inaction from Reading Borough Council and the police.

However, he did praise the council’s street cleansing team. He said: “I can’t fault them.”

The issue of policing is pertinent, as people will also be voting for the police and crime commissioner for the Thames Valley today.

The commissioner is an elected official who sets policing priorities in the force, with Thames Valley Policing covering Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.

Incumbent Conservative commissioner Matthew Barber faces off against Tim Starkey for Labour, the Liberal Democrat Tim Bearder and separate independents Ben Holden-Crowther and Russell Douglas-Fowler.

Mehmet Umlucomert, who lives in the town centre, said: “There are too many homeless people around and people begging.

“The street wardens and the police don’t do anything.”

Mr Umlucomert lives in the Abbey ward, and has lived in Reading for 27 years. He said: “15 years ago, the town was completely different, it was better.

“It used to be that you wouldn’t see beggars.”

Carol Smith, from Tilehurst, said: “Potholes are an issue, big time. There are lot of people who have damaged their cars, parking can be a problem.

“We have also lost all our banks, it’s really difficult for people often the elderly. The buses are good, they are quite frequent for those who can get on them but banks, forget about it.”

Another woman who lives in the borough said she would not be voting as she feels all the political parties are the same.

Norris Rodrigues who has lived in Pell Street, Reading, for 15 years. He’s already voted in Katesgrove. He said he’s happy and satisfied with the area he lives in.

If you are voting in person today, you require valid photo ID. Polls close at 10pm.

Reading Chronicle | Town Centre