POLICE patrols in a Southampton high street have been stepped up.

Neighbourhood officers and PCSO’s have increased patrols in Shirley High Street.

Officers say this has led to a nine per cent decrease of crime in the area over the last 90 days.

Anti-social-behaviour has also decreased by eight per cent, according to police.

The patrols come as a petition with more than 900 signatures was handed to Southampton Test MP Alan Whitehead.

It was signed by residents and business from Shirley calling on the MP to raise the issue of a “severely underfunded” police force in the House of Commons.

It was set up by Tony Weafer, the founder of Shirley Be Proud group, after Hampshire police issued a two-day dispersal order in October, following 87 incidences of anti-social behaviour were reported in Shirley High Street in five months.

Mr Whitehead confirmed he would be pursuing this issue, and will also raise it with Hampshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Michael Lane, when he meets him later this month.

After meeting with Mr Weafer at his constituency clini Mr Whitehead said: “In terms of officers embedded in the city, it looks like the numbers are down by about 30% since 2010, so the officers you would expect to deal with the sort of issues raised by Shirley Be Proud have dropped by a third in the city.

“Southampton has had additional demands on its own devices, such as the night time economy developments in the port, so policing requirements are quite different than many places in Hampshire, and it seems Southampton is handling worse than others.

“I appreciate that Michael Lane is at the mercy of the funding, but he does have a hand in overall deployment policy, so that’s one thing that I hope he would to respond to me on.”