Police & Crime Conversation GWP

On Monday 14th October 2019 at Boundary Park Pavilion, between 6:30pm and 7:30pm (just prior to the Residents’ Meeting), there will be a discussion about Police and Crime in our area.

We are very fortunate to live in an area of relatively low crime here on Great Western Park, partly due to mostly wonderful people living here and good Policing, provided by Thames Valley Police. However, there are always community priorities that may need further addressing, whether it be speeding vehicles, drug dealing, theft of scooters, criminal damage to parks or even parking.

This event is hosted by Matthew Barber, the current Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley. It will be a great opportunity for Residents to raise their concerns and convey their priorities on tackling crime, direct to one of the policy makers, as well as finding more about current Policing.

District Cllr., Ian Snowdon, will also be there help host and pose any questions from Residents unable to attend the Conversation in person. Please post any questions to the GWPRA Facebook page or email chairperson@gwpra.org.uk .

Written responses provided by Matthew Barber:

For those who were unable to make the meeting, Matthew Barber has kindly provided written responses to the queries posed by Residents.

How to tackle Overt Drug Dealing in public areas of GWP

The local Stronghold team has been set up to deal with organised crime including county-lines and drug dealing. Additional police officers who are being recruited now and will continue to be recruited over the next few years will all be used to support local response, neighbourhood and investigations. I would encourage people to report incidents they see, this was highlighted by one person at the meeting who did exactly that and had been impressed with the police response. Even when there isn’t an immediate and obvious outcome from a report, all information helps to build an intelligence picture and incidents are reviewed on a daily basis by senior officers locally.

Steps to speed up process of removing illegal encampments with disruptive occupants

This is an ongoing piece of work which ultimately requires a change in the law. Last week I visited a council in the West Midlands that have a transit site in their borough and as a result have seen a dramatic reduction in the number of encampments. Currently the police have less powers than the public expect and responsibility is split between police, councils and landowners. In November I will be meeting with councils across the whole of the Thames Valley to review the protocol put in place last year to improve the response This should mean incremental changes in the short term, but in the medium-long term I continue to talk to all of the MPs in the Thames Valley calling for a change in the law.

Way to report crime, upload dashcam footage online?

The performance of the 101 telephone service has been below the standard people should expect. A significant amount of investment has been made in the service, and some process changes made to reduce the waiting times. This has already had a big impact, but there are plans to reduce the times even further over the coming months.

Online reporting via www.thamesvalley.police.uk is also an option for many offences that don’t require an urgent response and can be more convenient for the public. This is part of a national system first launched in the Met. The facilities available online are growing and will gradually be rolled out and promoted with more crimes being able to be reported and the capacity to upload dashcam and other video/photos.

Speeding, particularly targeting of repeat offenders who actually live on GWP

In the last couple of weeks I have met with the Roads Policing Unit and Community Speedwatch Online about trying to completely reconfigure the way community speedwatch operates in Thames Valley. This is a work in progress and there are still some technical issues to be overcome but I hope that early in the near year we will be able to operate some trials of the new community speedwatch scheme which should be much more effective and if successful roll it out across the Thames Valley.

Parking Enforcement around GWP – Emergency vehicle access and pavement obstruction

District Councils are looking at implementing decriminalised parking enforcement – where the council becomes responsible. South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse are one of the last areas in the country to go down this route. In the short term I am exploring the possibility of the councils funding the police to have more of a presence to deal with parking, but inevitably competing demands in policing will always make this a challenge. Hopefully this can be a short term solution ahead of the councils taking on responsibility.

Thefts of scooters and bikes

It would be disingenuous to claim that every problem can be solve instantly, but issues such as these thefts are often part of a bigger picture. I’ve had conversations within the Force about how some of these theft are linked to serious organised crime and may form part of a bigger picture. Additional local investigative resources are being made available to local policing areas (LPAs) to try to address some of these issues.

Vandalism to bus shelters and park equipment

Similar to some of the point above, I would encourage everyone to report incidents they see and any intelligence about those responsible. As above additional police officers will boost the numbers in neighbourhood teams and response teams in order to be a more visible deterrent and to respond quickly.

Plans to improve neighbourhood policing presence on GWP, especially at School finish times
As above, neighbourhood policing has been protected in Thames Valley – albeit at lower numbers than we might like – where other forces have more or less abandoned neighbourhood policing Local officers will already be working closely with schools, but additional resources should make it easier for them to resource a more visible presence, especially at specific times.

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