Neighbourhood Watch isn’t busybodies twitching net curtains – it’s civic minded people keeping a watch out for the safe-keeping of their neighbours!
Littleport Neighbourhood Watch was represented at the County AGM back in October when Lyn and Cathy Gibb-de Swarte and Kathy Ingram attended.
Chair John Fuller welcomed all those attending at Police HQ Hinchingbrooke Park, Huntingdon.
Police Commissioner Jason Ablewhite gave us his overview – and interestingly told us that Cambridgeshire is considered a low crime region.
Mental Health is becoming a bigger issue and costing most money on the front with up to 50 hours of police time per day spent supporting people with MH in custody.
Unfortunately he reported that incidences of reported Domestic Violence have rocketed.
Royal protection costs the force a lot because as he pointed out, we have Prince William in Cambridge and Her Majesty the Queen often visits Newmarket to see her horses.
Parkside Police station is the most expensive police premises in UK and only 25% of it is used. There are thoughts of combining Police and Fire premises to reduce costs and improve communication and efficiency.
Police services will focus highly on victims and witnesses in the future.
Volunteer groups such as Neighbourhood Watch, Speed Watch and Countryside Watch are essential and provide valued support to police services. Jason Ablewhite will appoint a full – time officer to oversee all of these voluntary organisations.
The use of tablets while on the beat allows police to save heaps of time.
Reporting of crime continues to be 101 with the addition of AVANTI code word for NHW. This service is being improved all the time.
Following him, Vicki Skeels, who is Chief Superintendent for the County Constabulary thanked us all for our NHW contribution.
The Chief Superintendent stated that the police force aims to be transparent and open in its operation.
She continued by saying that policing has changed a lot since she joined 28 years ago. It now attracts highly educated graduates, unlike in the 80’s when new recruits walked the beat for 2 years. Back then there was little need for body armour or technology. Pubs used to close at 11 and the active part of policing was fending off brawls as people jousted for a taxi home! Car crime was high and domestic abuse took place of course, but was poorly reported.
Armed robberies were common but police themselves were unarmed.
Traffic wardens who used to be attached to the police as civil staff, were kept busy with car towing schemes which were commonplace.
Now the police force has to deal with counter terrorism as a top priority.
Protecting vulnerable groups and focussing on averting risk takes up much of their time. There is a change in crime patterns – crime has reduced, but the demand on resources remains high owing to safeguarding, sexual abuse cases and cybercrime. There is less car crime and bald tyres but more concern as to who is driving a car and who their passengers are, for instance if a car is stopped for a traffic violation and a 24-year-old male is seen to have two 15-year-old girls in the back…
Cybercrime is so big that officers are needing to be updated on digital policing methods. Fortunately, there are some IT graduates who may be earmarked for more tech policing jobs.
Out of 45,000 calls per year, approximately 7% is domestic abuse, 5% drink related and about 4-5% vulnerable adult/child situations.
There is a high level of forensic input, for example number plate recognition.
If there is a demonstration/protest due, the ethos is ‘no surprises’ so police will approach the group to intervene before any chance of escalation.
CCTV helps to provide evidence.
PPE has improved to include body armour, batons, and firearms.
Intelligence led policing helps to spot patterns of crime, for example tracking newly released prisoners.
Financial pressures have led to more collaborative work – police helicopters and dog training takes place with other forces. Police careers appear to be shorter resulting in a transient police force apart from PCSOs who appear to be staying longer.
Future expectations of the Police Force remain unchanged emphasising sensitivity, integrity and respect with collaboration with, and from, the public.
The Chief Superintendent highlighted the new challenges in our neighbourhoods include people trafficking, cybercrime, sexual abuse and terrorism and extremism.
Neighbourhood policing is now focussed on vulnerable groups such as those with mental health issues, the elderly, children, homelessness and engagement with youngsters. Building trust with the local community allows people to develop confidence in the police force and there is evidence with marginalised groups that such encounters help this relationship.
There are 150 PCSOs – a strong investment to continue. Also three mental health experts are aiding the provision for this vulnerable group at times of crisis. Collaboration with ambulance service is aiding the smooth handling of such situations.
Rebecca Tinsley is Cybercrime Security Advisor with the Cambs Constabulary, and gave a talk that covered a lot of ground.
Cyber dependent crimes are those involving the internet to commit the crime, e.g. fake emails posing as your bank.
Cyber enabled crime can include drug dealing online.
Public Wi-Fi – do not use public Wi-Fi. Pineapple operates as a pretend local Wi- Fi and steals your passwords etc. as you use your computer.
There are 3.4 million types of connective devices in the world!
There were 6 million cybercrimes dealt with by Cambridgeshire Constabulary in the last year. You are more likely to be targeted online than offline.
80% cybercrime is preventable by updating anti-virus software and regular software updates, strong passwords and backing up data.
Call Action Fraud for such crimes on 03001232040
After these presentations, the 2016 AGM took place.
We could do with more Neighbourhood Watches around Littleport. If you find all this interesting and are interested email firstname.lastname@example.org and your enquiry will be dealt with asap!