MORE police officers will patrol Barton in the coming days, Oxford’s most senior police officer has confirmed.

Supt Bruce Riddell, who was appointed policing commander for the city last month, said a community event would be held this Friday in the wake of a fatal knife attack over the weekend.

Speaking to the Oxford Mail yesterday, the superintendent said: “We’re having additional patrols up there for the next week to two weeks.

“There will be an increased police presence in that area for the next two weeks.”

He added: “We’re working extremely hard with partners to try and reduce crime. But if we do have people who commit crime, it’s looking at all available opportunities to arrest them and bring them to justice. We really rely on community support and community intelligence to help us identify who offenders and suspects are.”

Supt Bruce Riddell of Thames Valley Police

Supt Bruce Riddell of Thames Valley Police

His comments came ahead of 20-year-old Lewis Brown’s expected appearance before Oxford Crown Court this morning.

The Barton Village Road man is accused of murdering Lee Butler, 39, on Bayswater Road on Friday night.

Mr Butler was stabbed in the chest and died at the scene. In a tribute issued on Monday, the victim’s family described him as a ‘gentle giant’ and said his death was a ‘complete waste of life’.

Lee Butler Picture: TVP/FAMILY

Lee Butler Picture: TVP/FAMILY

In the wake of the shocking incident, Barton residents hit out at what they perceived to be the police’s failure to tackle anti-social behaviour in the area.

One man, 53, who asked not to be named, said: “They don’t clean up Barton at all. They never ever prosecute them. When we were kids we had respect for the coppers. I blame the police for this. These kids run riot in Barton and they never get arrested until these sort of things happen.”

Bikash Thaba, 39, working behind the counter at the Barton Chippy, called for an increase in police officer numbers across the estate. “Whatever happened it shouldn’t be happening anywhere. People are taking each others’ lives without any reason. For what? For nothing. It has to be stopped.”

Responding to the comments, Supt Riddell said: “I’m really committed to neighbourhood policing. I’ve been a neighbourhood sergeant in the past in Oxfordshire and neighbourhood policing to me is key to building confidence.

“The important thing is being visible in our communities – being visible and accessible in our communities.

“We have a dedicated neighbourhood team for that area and they’re key in that response and building the community’s confidence going forward.”

Thames Valley Police will hold a ‘have your say’ event at Barton Community Centre on Friday from 3pm-4pm. The local policing inspector will be present together with representatives from the city council.

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