TACKLING drug dealing and shoplifting will be the main priorities of the new neighbourhood police inspector for Cowley and Oxford South East.

Insp Gavin Biggs, who has recently taken over as the head of the police patch, said drugs and antisocial behaviour were the biggest problems currently facing police on the Rose Hill and Blackbird Leys estates.

He said shoplifting was also a problem in Cowley because of the Templars Square Shopping Centre.

The 37-year-old said he wanted to cut short any drug dealing, adding: “Drugs is fairly key as that can be the start of further offending.”

He is hoping to revitalise Neighbourhood Action Groups (Nags) to help police improve life on Oxford’s estates.

A Nag has recently restarted in Blackbird Leys and another is being set up again in the Rose HIll and Iffley area.

There is already a Nag in Cowley.

The police groups meet every three months and members can include councilliors, headteachers, housing managers, and pub landlords.

Insp Biggs said: “It is part of our core business because Nags bring the community issues in.”

He said the groups were important as they got community representatives together to discuss how to best to tackle community concerns, adding: “The police cannot solve every issue.”

The senior policemen said he hoped to give his 32 officers and PCSOs a more visible presence.

He said: “The key is engagement. It is tailored policing to the area. It is knowing the area, knowing your offenders, knowing your local community and finding out what their needs and concerns are.”

And he added: “The more people tell us the more we can address their issues.”

Insp Biggs replaced Insp Matt Coburn in late April. Insp Coburn now works on the city’s response team.

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