The Royal Oak pub, in Ruscombe, where two masked would-be robbers broke in and attacked the landlord and -lady last week.
Rather startling news on the front of this week’s Wokingham Times. The Royal Oak pub in Ruscombe was broken into by masked robbers, who attacked the landlord and landlady with a replica gun and taser before being chased away empty handed.
This would be dramatic stuff anywhere, but in such a tranquil area as northern Wokingham it’s almost unheard of. Thankfully no serious harm seems to have been done, but in small, close-knit communities like those which make up Remenham, Wargrave and Ruscombe this is a hammer blow to peoples’ sense of security and safety.
Wokingham is a safe area, relative to other places in the country. To try and claim this is evidence of the collapse of society would be madness. What it does illustrate is that we can never be complacent about serious and violent crime. The fact that such events are a rarity is a blessing, but not one to be taken lightly- because from time to time it does happen.
The government cuts to police budgets is of concern here. We’re repeatedly treated to claims that the cuts won’t hit the front line, but what does that actually mean? It’s unclear, but my interpretation so far is that it only applies to officers on the street. Not to the people answering your call to 999, not the people who direct the officers to where they need to be, and a whole host of other roles that allow the police to do their job.
In Remenham, Wargrave and Ruscombe, our policing needs are covered by a couple of Police Community Support Officers, and the nearest station is in Twyford. Except not really: that station is manned by volunteers and open extremely odd hours. Not to demean the contribution of those volunteers, but you can’t pitch up there and expect to see an officer.
Policing is already stretched pretty thin here. One serious incident does not, as I’ve already said, indicate a crisis. But the danger exists that if cutbacks need to be made, policing presumed “safe” areas like here will be considered superflous and expendable. And that, in my opinion, is the quickest way to turn a “safe” area into an “unsafe” area.