WILTSHIRE Police have issued fresh safety warnings after re-opening the pathway between Swindon town centre and Rodbourne following the murder of Tom Rogers.
The route had been closed since Thursday, June 26 as specialist officers conducted searches in the area close to the notorious undepass known as 'Muggers Alley'.
Superintendent Andrew Carr said: 'I would like to thank the community for their understanding and co-operation whilst the area has been closed. It was imperative that the pathway was sealed off during this time to enable the proper investigations into the murder of Tom Rogers to be completed.
"We are very aware of the community concerns surrounding the safety of this area. We are working with colleagues from the local authority and the Community Safety Partnership to review what measures can be taken in the short term and moving forward to a longer term solution.
"Improving visibility and the CCTV cover will form part of these considerations. In the meantime our enhanced patols will continue in the area and we are still encouraging people to take heed of the personal safety advice we have been issuing.'
Cllr Emma Faramarzi, Cabinet Member for Housing and Public Safety at Swindon Borough Council said: “The investigation into the murder of Tom Rogers has understandably heightened community concerns about the route itself, but also the importance of everyone’s personal safety.
"The Council continues to work alongside its partners to promote greater awareness for our residents to ensure that people always take the safest option late at night.
"Although the route itself presents a number of challenges, the Council has taken steps to cut back undergrowth, remove graffiti and clean street gullies to improve the overall appearance of the area. The enhanced Police activity at this sensitive time is very welcome.”
Robert Buckland MP (Conservative, South Swindon), said, "Our first thoughts of course are with the friends and family of Tom Rogers at this difficult time. I also want to extend my thanks to Wiltshire Police for the very thorough and effective way they are carrying out this investigation.
"It's worth remembering that Swindon is a very safe community, and these sorts of tragic events are extremely rare. However, we must ensure the safety of everyone who uses this cycle path and other similar routes around Swindon. I will be working closely with the Police, the Council and other agencies to push this forward."
Wiltshire Police continue to reiterate the safety messages. This advice applies at all times:
• Avoid walking alone late at night
• Make sure someone knows where you are going and when you expect to return
• Consider carrying a personal alarm
• Make sure your mobile phone is charged and you have sufficient credit
• Use well-lit routes
• Plan how you are getting home and use public transport if possible
• Report any suspicious activity Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call Wiltshire Police via 101.