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Inspector Simon Riley's Blog: March and April 2021

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Welcome to my latest blog. As you can probably appreciate this is currently a very busy time for my teams and I, as the world begins its slow return to normality from the difficulties and challenges of the ‘lockdown’ period. We have been working closely with partners at the borough council to ensure as safe a return as possible in a number of areas.

Throughout March and April various milestones were reached on the Government’s road map, probably the most significant of which was the reopening of non-essential retail and pubs and restaurants for outdoor service only on April 12th. What were quiet town centres & retail parks have suddenly begun to become busy again as shoppers return and the beer gardens and open sided marquees of a number of the borough’s pubs have begun to become hives of activity in the evenings as we ease ourselves back into the tradition of the good old British pub!

Inevitably though, with the increased footfall comes the increase on the call for our services – more shops open equals more pickings for the common thief and more pubs open usually equals more alcohol-related issues for my teams to deal with. Thankfully, there hasn’t been too much of an increase in either and I thank everyone for following the strict guidelines around the Covid security measures. As we move towards the next milestone of May 17th, when the hospitality industry opens its inside venues once again, I’d ask that everyone follows the guidelines, keeps themselves and others safe and that we all enjoy the return to normality promised on June 21st in a safe and harmonious manner.

Operation LARKSPUR

Operation LARKSPUR in Stapleford remains one of my local policing priorities and continues to target and disrupt criminal activity including drug dealing, offences of violence and anti-social behaviour. We have been working closely with partners at Broxtowe Borough Council, Stapleford Town Council and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to address a number of the issues Stapleford currently faces. Additional funding has been made available via the OPCC which will be spent on improving some of the existing infrastructure following site visits between partners, the beat team and one of the force Designing Out Crime Officers (DOCO). Additional funding has been made available via Operation Scorpion, (the government’s knife crime surge fund) and Operation Bion, (the Coronavirus fund), which has meant we have been able to mount additional patrols and other policing activity in the area, pursuing a number of different tactics to tackle the issues in the area.

The County knife crime team have been successfully deployed into the area on several occasions and are ‘booked’ to deploy into the area again on selected dates throughout May. Together with the Broxtowe Reacher and Neighbourhood Policing Teams, they have been instrumental in a number fo good arrests and the removal of criminal’s vehicles from the road.

A number of Misuse of Drugs Act warrants have also been enforced at various premises in Stapleford during this period with a number of seizures made and suspects either arrested or interviewed. Details of these can be found in the priority updates section on the Broxtowe page of the Notts Police website.

Operation HADAR

Operation HADAR in Stapleford remains one of my local policing priorities and continues to target and disrupt the drug trade in and around Eastwood along with associated offences of violence and anti-social behaviour.

Additional funding has been made available via Operation Scorpion, (the government’s knife crime surge fund) and Operation Bion, (the Coronavirus fund), which has meant we have been able to mount additional patrols and other policing activity in the area, pursuing a number of different tactics to tackle the issues in the area.

The County knife crime team have been successfully deployed into the area on several occasions and are ‘booked’ to deploy into the area again on selected dates throughout May. Together with the Broxtowe Reacher and Neighbourhood Policing Teams, they have been instrumental in a number fo good arrests and the removal of criminal’s vehicles from the road.

Increased working with our partners at Broxtowe Borough Council and the Third Sector have opened up some new and different avenues for us in our efforts with Operation Hadar.

A number of Misuse of Drugs Act warrants have also been enforced at various premises in Eastwood during this period with a number of seizures made and suspects either arrested or interviewed. Details of these can be found in the priority updates section on the Broxtowe page of the Notts Police website.

Operation GOLDIRON

Operation Goldiron ran in the penultimate week of April and was a national initiaitive aimed at tackling metal theft. In Broxtowe, we focussed on the emerging national trend around the theft of catalytic converters. Thanks to some excellent work by Sgt Heather Harding and Pc Dean Bardill, a number of cars in the borough have been marked with Selectamark, free of charge thanks to support from the Broxtowe Borough Council and one of our local garages, Speedy Spanners Autocentre on Wellington Street at Stapleford.

These kits mark car parts with a unique code that can be quickly identified once a stolen part is recovered. The Selectamark system will act as a deterrent for criminals who will hopefully think twice about stealing parts from a car that can very easily be traced."

Speedy Spanners has been applying Selectamark to cars on behalf of Nottinghamshire Police at no cost and it is fantastic to see the community come together to tackle this issue in this way. I’d like to place on record my personal thanks to the owner and proprietor at Spoeedy Spanners, Mr Phill Charlton for his willingness to fit the kits free of charge. This is the sort of community spirit that Stapleford is renowned for and is such a huge part of tackling community issues like this.

My thanks also go to Broxtowe Borough Council for paying for the kits, via the South Notts Community Safety Partnership – they will go a long way to preventing further crime. This is an initiative that we will be repeating and we still have a number of kits we can distribute via future operations.

Operation SCEPTRE

This is the national week of action relating to knife crime and has been running in the last week of April across the force. In Broxtowe, the neighbourhoods teams at Eastwood and Beeston, together with the Reacher team, have been engaged in a number of activities in support of the operation, ranging from hi-visibility patrols of areas where knife crime has featured in the past, conducting weapons sweeps of parks and open spaces on the borough with metal detectors and conducting ‘disruption’ visits based on intelligence or where people are known to have carried knives in the past. Pc Dave Blundell, our Schools and Early Interventions officer has also delivered presentations to pupils at the Chilwell, Bramcote and George Spencer schools.

It’s essential that we tackle knife crime in all of its forms and whilst, thankfully, Broxtowe still has one of the lower rates of knife crime and knife-enabled crime in Nottinghamshire, I am also still acutely aware of the devastating impact that knives can have in the wrong hands, following the tragic murder of 16 year old Joe Whitchurch in Stapleford last December. My teams will continue to proactively and robustly tackle knife offenders across the borough.

Burglary

Burglary remains one of my local policing priorities and I’m really pleased to see that even after society is starting to open up again and people are now beginning to become more mobile and away from their homes on a daily basis and during the evening, that burglary rates are still coming down. We are, however, starting to see a slight increase in thefts from garden sheds and garages, which fits with previous years as a seasonal pattern. As such, we will be working closely with our partners at Broxtowe Borough council, conducting a ‘Lighter Nights’ campaign to ensure target hardening around vulnerable properties. In the past, the issuing of shed alarms, security lighting and security locks has seen us manage to put the brakes on slight increases in this type of offending.

Current performance data regarding burglary can be found in the priority updates section on the Broxtowe page of the Notts Police website.

Staff

March and April have been a busy time for staff moves. My Neighbourhoods Sergeant at Beeston, Sgt Heather Harding has temporarily left us on maternity leave. Her replacement is T/Sgt Dave Hodson, who joins us from Newark NPT. I’m sure Dave will enjoy his time with us at Broxtowe.

We also said ‘adieu’ to PCSO Luci Allsebrook, who has ‘taken the black’ and joined Notts Police as a regular police officer as part of Operation ‘Uplift.’. I wish Luci all the best in her new role – she was a hugely popular and much valued member of the beat team at Beeston and she will be missed by us all.

Finally, after spending the greatest part of the past year Covid shielding, we say a warm ‘welcome back’ to PCSO Andy Freeman. His cheery face and sunny disposition has been missed by the community in Stapleford during his enforced absence and we are glad to see him back fit and healthy and raring to go once again.

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