POLICE have lambasted the public for failing to attend a community engagement event and accused them of showing "little support for the community".
The outspoken attack came despite the event, which was aimed at residents in rural communities up to ten miles away, taking place during a week of heavy snow which left many in isolated areas cut off.
The aim of the event was to improve communication between police and the public but with declining officer numbers due to Government cuts, such 'soft' policing exercises face an uncertain future.
Just ten members of the public attended the event held over a four-hour period at Tiverton Rugby Club on Tuesday, January 23, which was promoted as offering crime prevention advice and to drum up interest in Neighbourhood Watch groups.
The critical comments were made in a log book held at Tiverton Police Station which is supposed to be used for recording serious incidents which the police are seeking public assistance in solving.
The entry in the log-book said police were "disappointed" with the turnout for the event billed as a "Have Your Say" forum.
The comment goes on to say: "We appreciate the adverse weather conditions later in the day, but we were disappointed to see such little support from the communities we serve."
The event was held between 3pm-7pm in Tiverton but was aimed at those living in the Tiverton Rural area, which covers 25 outlying communities around including Bampton, Bickleigh, Silverton and Cruwys Morchard.
Commercial CCTV, property marking and crime prevention organisations had also tagged on to the event and attended to hold consultations with the public.
As well as crime prevention advice, police were also aiming to attract participants to join Neighbourhood Watch spin-off schemes such as Farm Watch and Horse Watch.
Tiverton's rural policing team is still hoping to hold more 'informal' Have Your Say events in small venues in the coming weeks. Schools, shops, Post Offices and even street corners in villages could be used by police to meet members of the public.