LOCAL POLICING UPDATE- MAY 2019
It's been an eventful week around the town and district, and I have been conscious about social media sites where the content and tone starts to worry me, not least when they may prejudice the natural course of justice, or just promote inaccuracy. My team and I don't come to work to ignore the kind of incidents we joined policing to deal with, and we rely entirely on the actual and virtual community as we, too, are members of both.
I therefore provide this update for the majority of our community who would like an objective briefing on policing matters, and to clarify some of the inaccuracy. I also try to tweet on issues of particular concern, as does the Force, and every word of every tweet is carefully thought through to ensure fairness and not prejudice individuals or investigations. So here goes, from the proverbial horse's mouth with words in more numbers than a tweet allows.
Public Disorder in Tennyson Rd, Daventry – Sunday 19 May
This remains an active investigation despite efforts by individuals to mutually encourage withdrawal of evidence. As a result I am limited in what I can say, save to say that by examination of the open Facebook messages between the parties involved, I am satisfied that some of those named, and others, created an environment for this disorder and then had the temerity to criticise the police including even that we didn't attend! I have watched the bodyworn video footage of the aftermath, and the vile attitude from the teenagers and adults involved, not least to the ten or so officers who attended and made arrests. I issue an appeal for any independent witnesses to this matter before I take an informed decision on what action will be taken with those involved.
Travellers at the Landmark Hotel site
Travellers moved on to this site on Wednesday, unimpeded due to a temporary oversight in boundary security by the landowner's agents. The police were on scene within less than 3 minutes of the call to us, and I attended too. This is private land, and my powers and actions depend on the actions and intentions of the landowner. I treat each encampment on its own merits (I am expected to). I/we have previously issued directions to leave in other cases under section 61 of the Criminal Justice & Public Order.
On this occasion, I spoke with the landowner who did not issue a requirement for the travellers to leave the land because of his previous legal costs and the stated intention of the travellers to leave relatively shortly because they are en route the Appleby Fair next week. This removes grounds for s61 police powers. But our assessment of the site found the travellers to be cooperative in every way, and this has continued to be the case. I have liaised with local councillors and the County Traveller Unit who are satisfied with the situation. Without a temporary stopping place, there is little other option – and this is a matter under continuous and active discussion with the local council.
There have been three incidents of quite brazen rural burglaries in the recent week. These are being investigated by specialist burglary officers, and it pains me to say that the victims have made every effort to secure their property. It is a salutary reminder, though, that burglars do not target victims overnight – the latest burglary was at 1pm. We have good CCTV evidence and I am hopeful the offenders will be identified. There has also been excellent work by NHW.
Youths and empty buildings
We have recently removed groups of teenagers from an empty building on The Grange (the old people's accommodation awaiting demolition and redevelopment). There have also been incidents at the old library in the town centre, in the week after the library relocated to the Abbey Centre. The site at The Grange has been re-secured by developers and the old library will have a guarding provision. With half-term approaching, I appeal to parents to warn youngsters about the dangers of trespassing on such sites (accepting how attractive they are).
Youths and knives
Our Operation Sceptre saw some great police/public/school cooperation in getting the messages across about knife crime. Please keep the dialogue going between families and their young people. We have enquiries into two incidents at local schools where knives have been brought to school and what has been of note is the complete and utter gobsmackedness (I made that word up) of the very reasonable parents who have found out that their well-behaved child even owns a knife. We will look to keep the Operation Sceptre theme refreshed and when I have decided on a course of action to take with these youths (who even refer on interview to the knife crime assemblies we conducted), I will update the community and I know local news media also wish to support this in a balanced, supportive and informed way.
Joint operation with HMRC & Trading Standards
On 23 May, officers and colleagues from these agencies conducted test-purchase operations on newsagents/tobacconists in Daventry following anonymous complaints about the sale of illicit tobacco. At one establishment, a large quantity of illicit tobacco was found, as well as 600 canisters of Nitrous Oxide (NOS) and associated paraphernalia. Shop workers were arrested under the Psychoactive Substances legislation. These are 600 canisters which will now not allegedly be sold to young people.
We also await a Licensing Review and Crown Court hearing of similar operations at another premises. I hope this will go some way to satisfy those who have been writing to complain about this problem.
Town centre crime and disorder
We have a safe, excellently policed and patrolled town centre, not least due to the Town Council CCTV, sponsored PCSO and Town Ranger. In the past week, though, we have seen the resurgence of the town being targeted by unscrupulous out-of-county fraudsters who have visited shops, distracted staff to steal their phones (including a funeral home), and even more worrying, posing as charity collectors and distracting pensioners in order to steal wallets and cash. We have CCTV footage and active lines of enquiry, but please do be vigilant about these despicable tactics.
We have also been seeking to find solutions for the stooped man seen begging around the town centre and causing offence/nuisance. A meeting of professionals involved with the homeless man has been held and a plan of action adopted. Everyone present appealed to well-meaning members of the public not to give money, coffee, food or cigarettes to this individual as it perpetuates a problem which does not have a ready or easy solution. He has recently been arrested twice which explains his absence in more recent days.
Following your reports and information about this problem (a locally identified priority), we have successfully seized and removed three of the off-road bikes reported regularly as causing nuisance. As I often say, we do not actively pursue kids on bikes, but tackle the issue in the way which has proven successful here – reliant on your information and reports.
Brampton Neighbourhood Watch has informed us of an elderly couple who went to what was seen as a reputable website which recommends allegedly reputable traders. The traders, who then attended, agreed a price for the work. But they then tried to exact more money from the elderly householder, even offering to take them to the bank, and making threats when properly challenged. We are in touch with the website and Trading Standards and I will circulate more detail when appropriate.
Good news on Force funding and establishment
You may have seen the Chief Constable and the Police Commissioner in news media talking about a major Force growth. The Commissioner has provided resources from local taxation, which will see declining trends of recent years reversed. The establishment of police officers will rise from 1227 to 1310 (the greatest number of officers the force has had since 2010) and the Force will have a total budget of £130m - £11m more than last year and the largest budget the force has had for more than 20 years. £3m has been set aside to be invested in improving policing in way that you have asked – neighbourhood policing, rural crime, burglary, antisocial behaviour and low-level drug dealing.
These fit entirely with what the Daventry community have been telling us. These announcements are relatively recent, and so the finer detail has not been worked through to full implementation, but I cannot understate the impact this will have on policing Northamptonshire and something I find exciting and encouraging as a member of this community.
In the light of the last paragraph, it will be of little surprise that the Force has just started on one if its biggest campaigns to recruit new PCSOs and Police Constables. Joining policing years from teaching in 1990 was probably one of the best decisions I ever made, and despite its stresses and pressures, it's an incredibly rewarding job for which my passion still remains 29 years on and I thoroughly recommend it. I love the teamwork and working with, and in, the local community. Do you reckon you could do it? I'd love to see this recruitment open up avenues to all members of the community and if you would like to discuss this with me or any of the team, please do get in touch and we'd be delighted to talk it through with you.
Neighbourhood Watch & Parish Councils
This week and in the past month, we/I have been giving updates to parish council annual meetings (we have over 50 parish councils) and I also met local NHW coordinators on Wednesday. We have an active and very well-respected NHW network in Daventry, with new schemes coming on board. Thanks to all who support community safety in this way.
Regular updates in Twittersphere
Our team provides daily updates on items of interest via our Twitter accounts @daventrypolice, @sgtsamdobbs, @pcsomia, @pcsokirsten, @hutch472, @pcsosangster, @pcsocarlbarton and the force account @northantspolice.
Northamptonshire Neighbourhood Alert
In addition, we send out updates via our Neighbourhood Alert system. This is a free messaging service that allows us, NHW and other partners to keep you informed about issues in your area which are relevant to you. Once you sign up, you receive information about crime and suspicious activity where you live or work and this helps us to prevent and detect crime and ASB. You have the choices on how to receive messages and about which areas. To sign up, go to www.northamptonshireneighbourhoodalert.co.uk
And finally… I hope that this update is of relevance and assistance and assures you of the hard work going on by local officers to keep Daventry District the safe area that it truly is. Crime in our patch is up 7% but the increase is largely due to violence and disorder which accounts for 39% of our local crime. Policing is diverse and local policing needs vary daily, but that is part of the attraction for our excellent team of local officers who are passionate about keeping our community safe and feeling safe. Please do your part in supporting us in an equally passionate way. Thank you
Posted: Mon, 27 May 2019 13:15 by Web Team