Previous Messages from the District Commander
From: CI Mark Trimmer, District Commander
We have now passed the 6 month mark into the Police Performance year and I am delighted to inform you that we currently have a 11.5% reduction which means we have 296 less victims of crime. Really pleasing for me is the dramatic reduction in both criminal damage and all injury violence. We have had a 20.6% reduction in damage ( -130 crimes) and 37.4% reduction in all injury violence (-90 crimes). The big reduction in reported damage is in the south of Horsham, in particular Billingshurst which I believe is evidence of the partnership working taking place with local residents, Youth Services and Horsham District Council supported by the fantastic work of PC Phil la Roche and PCSO Adrian Bell.
In my last report I explained Horsham was piloting powers under the Policing and Crime Act in relation to young people who persistently possess alcohol in a public place. The trial lasted two months and a total of nine notices were given out but no one received a second notice which to me indicates that those who were given the notice reacted positively. Staff have told me that alcohol seizures are noticeably down this year which I believe is an indicator as to why criminal damage and all injury violence figures are down.
Preparations and detailed planning with colleagues from Horsham District Council to tackle the increased feat of crime associated with Halloween and bonfire celebrations ensured that high profile and targeted patrols took place across the district and we receive a noticeable reduction in calls this year.
I am currently preparing for my meeting with the Neighbourhood Panels in December and I would encourage the local community to get involved, not only as a means of voicing their concern but also as a way of being a solution to local community issues.
I am sure that most of you will be aware that Southern Water are carrying out a universal metering programme for Horsham District Council. I would like to reassure you that we have been involved in the planning stages of this work and have committed to having a visible police presence around the areas where work is taking place to be able to provide reassurance to the local community as well as holding Street Briefings to give updates to local residents. Additional patrols will revisit the areas where work has been carried out in order to try and prevent bogus callers and offences being committed on the vulnerable members of the community.
Preparations and planning is now taking place for the Christmas and New Year period in order to target resources at the high risk crime groups and prolific offenders. As you are all aware the comprehensive spending review has taken place and there are likely to be changes to policing in the near future. The Chief Constable has said ‘We are committed to neighbourhood policing and have made a promise to maintain a district model of policing but we still need to look at how we develop neighbourhood policing in the coming years. A review of Neighbourhood Policing has begun as part of the Local Policing workstream, led by ACC Merrett’ and I will keep you updated in future messages. In addition to the spending review North Downs and West Downs divisions are merging and will become West Sussex Division on the 1st April 2012, headed by Temporary Chief Superintendent Martin Walker.
The award winning Police Officer at Southwater after consultation with the Parish Council is being moved downstairs to a larger office space which will allow easier access to the public as well as providing additional space so that interviews undertaken by police or Horsham District Council staff with local residents can take place in the office, saving both time and money.
Staffing updates: I am delighted to welcome PC Ann Watson who joins the Neighbourhood Policing team and will be responsible for Steyning area. Ann brings with her a wealth of experience of problem solving having worked in Brighton in the city centre and dealing with the complex issues identified by the community there.
Finally, I would just like to close by reiterating the facts that crime is down and that Horsham district remains a safe place to live and work in.
The 6th of July was the anniversary of me becoming Horsham District Commander. It has made me reflect on just how quickly time passes when you are enjoying your job.
It has given me an opportunity to reflect on not just performance which includes reported crimes but also victim satisfaction and public confidence and what lies behind them.
I am delighted to report that on a rolling year we have seen 492 less crimes which is a 11.7% overall reduction . Criminal damage is down by 237 crimes which is a 21.6% reduction. All injury violence is down by 112 crimes, a fantastic 29.9%. 36 Domestic burglaries were detected which is 19.8%.
Reflecting on them has made me realise the importance of partnership working and the need to share information and resources. Criminal damage reduction has been made possible due to the fantastic work of the Anti Social Behaviour Team who work at the police station in the Neighbourhood Policing office and the early intervention work they do with youngsters and parents. The support of my Special Constables has provided me with additional officers we have been able to deploy to identified hot spots. Although I am delighted with the progress being made we still had 4992 victims of crime. It is for this reason why I am determined with the support of partners to try and reduce this number again, concentrating on, burglary, serious sexual and violent offences, criminal damage, vehicle crime and anti social behaviour.
The targets around crime reduction and detection together with improvements in victim satisfaction and improving public confidence are going to be very challenging with the added pressures being applied as we look to provide improved services with less. This requires police, partners and the community to work even closer together to find solutions to the priorities set.
Last month I chaired a meeting with some Neighbourhood Panel members and I took this opportunity to present to them the briefing given to all officers this year as guidance to achieving the targets. This is based on 3 key points of Peace - Cutting Crime, Justice - Catching Criminals and Confidence - Victim Satisfaction. I sought and received feedback on how they felt staff were performing against their local priorities and we finished up with a practical demonstration of preparing a tactical plan using the PIER method. Feedback was very positive and we will meet again before Christmas to look at panel make ups.
On a positive note we have recently had some success in arresting 2 Burglars following sound investigation by my CID and they have admitted a number of burglary non dwellings. Through the Force tasking group I was able to get additional force resources in a targeted operation and this resulted in arrests of people stealing metal in rural locations.
Finally this has been a very challenging but highly rewarding year as District Commander and I look forward to serving you in the coming year.
In May the overall crime figures were above the monthly target set and in particular there was an increase in theft and handling offences especially in the first 2 weeks which accounted for 45% of all crime.
The current spate of burglaries is still affecting the whole district and we are currently 4.8% up on last year. These crimes are being investigated by my burglary team who are looking at upto 5 different series types, based on the modus operandi being used. These include a current spate of houses being broken into so that the car keys can be stolen and the offender then steals the vehicle in the garage or driveway. I would urge all householders to ensure that their keys are placed out of sight and away from the front or back door where most people keep them! It is not all bad news as we have had some recent success with one offender being caught by Sussex Road Policing unit in such a stolen vehicle whilst returning back to London area. Another victim had their car recovered near the Dartford crossing within 24hours of it being stolen.
Another MO used is offenders impersonating police officers, in order to con their way into premises, again I am pleased to report we arrested and charged 2 such offenders after they had committed offences in Pulborough. I would urge the public to challenge my staff for identity should they have any concerns especially if they are not wearing a uniform and call us if they are not satisfied with their answer so that we can verify their actions or provide assistance.
Theft of metal is still a problem with thieves taking any opportunity to remove items from commercial and households. I am pleased to report that we have arrested two such groups during May and these suspects are currently on bail but I can report that they have travelled into Horsham to steal. One of these arrests was down to a report from an off duty PCSO who saw the males acting in a suspicious manner.
Vehicle crime did hit a peak during the first two weeks but has now dropped below the reduction target. The items of choice for criminals appear to be “SatNavs”, builders tools, computers and handbags/wallets. I would urge you to ensure items are removed and that vehicles are locked because we are still getting reports of unlocked vehicles being entered.
Operationally this month we are providing extra resources to cover the World Cup football matches so that we can respond to any public order incidents should they occur. However we have been working closely with the licensees of the various pubs and clubs and we hope their professionalism and our presence will prevent any disorder. We have additional staff on duty specifically to deal with the likely increase in domestic violence which historically has occurred during such events.
We will be assisting road policing colleagues in the summer drink drive campaign which takes place during June. Checks will be carried out 24 hours a day as they are in the Xmas campaigns. Whilst we encourage people to enjoy the summer weather we need to remind them of the effects drinking and driving can have and the need to be responsible. I would therefore encourage people to notify us of any drivers they have concerns about and they can use either call 999 or 08456070999 or use the Operation Crackdown web site www.operationcrackdown.org. I am currently interviewing prospective sergeants for the neighbourhood teams, one as a replacement for PS Boyes and the other as a result of an uplift post. I will give you their details in my next message.
Although I have spoken about the increase recently in crime we are still reporting a yearly overall reduction of 8.8% and the noticeable figures which make this up are – 22.5 % reduction in criminal damage and – 38.4 % reduction in all injury violence which supports the facts that Horsham is safe and nice place to live.
Police work of note this month include, the partnership working between district staff and Sussex police CCTV operator’s. One example was when a operator monitored a drug deal taking place and then captured the identity of those involved and directed uniform staff to these people, one of whom tried to ride off on his bike before being chased and stopped by a young uniformed officer PC Knight. The result was a seizure of drugs, paraphernalia and cash. Another example, was the arrest last weekend of two suspects for causing criminal damage to large flower pots in the town centre which the operator captured and consequently directed staff to the culprits.
On 3rd June PCSO Hammond and PCSO Reid, having been asked to search for a vulnerable missing person who had not returned to her care home for over 10 hours, both carried out a systematic search of Horsham Park and located the lady in some high grass/weeds where she had been all day. She was returned home safe and well.
Since my last message at the end of March, the anticipated seasonal increase in crime has taken place as the lighter nights and “warmer” evenings mean that more people are out and about.
We have seen an increase in house burglaries, but these have been spread out across the District and at this point we are unable to identify any particular series. We have also seen an increase in thefts from people’s garages and outbuildings where in particular metal, diesel and tools have been taken. In order to try and catch the offenders and reduce these crimes we have directed patrol activity in locations which intelligence indicates as being high risk. Car crime is also of concern as Sat Navs and tools are the main target. I would urge drivers to remove Sat Navs and tools and if possible ensure they are post coded so when recovered they can be returned to the victim.
To reaffirm my message from last month, I would encourage you to report any suspicious activity and record details of vehicles as we can build up intelligence and then target these individuals who are impacting on the community.
On a positive note overall crime is down, in particular criminal damage and injury violence which are key indicators of anti social behaviour. We have also had some recent success in arresting and charging 2 males for burglaries that occurred in the town centre. Another success has been the confiscation of £352,000 from 2 offenders for the offences they committed against a Horsham resident over 4 years ago which is as a result of work carried out by CID and the Financial Investigation Team.
The following staff changes have taken place in the Neighbourhood Policing Team. PCSO’s Danny Macleod and Anna Giles have moved onto Mid Sussex and PS Steve Boyes who has now moved to custody at Crawley. I would like to thank them for their efforts and wish them well in the future. Danny has been replaced by Tom Guiney and Anna’s work will be covered by Charlie Whittaker and James Josling.
We welcome PC Darren Worsfold who will be supporting Phil La Roche at Billingshurst and then moving into Southwater. I will be interviewing prospective Sgts at the end of May, one is the uplift post into Horsham north and the other to replace Sgt Boyes.
This month we have had a number of incidents where staff have demonstrated the qualities which are in the finest traditions of policing. Many of you may have already read in the local press the incident at the railway station at Horsham on 28th April where police were called to a report of a male hanging from the signal gantry. PC Andy Thompson and colleagues attended and, following half an hour of talking to the male, Andy managed to gain access to the gantry and restrained the male who was intent on jumping onto the track below. The male had to be further restrained before being sedated following further attempts to self harm.
On the 30th April officers were called to a house in Ashington at which they found a large number of dogs, who had overrun the premises and created a real health hazard. Two people were arrested and we were supported by the RSPCA and HDC in the enquiry.
Finally here are some of the projects that the neighbourhood policing teams are involved in:-
- Trafalgar Ward Parking Project which is tackling issues around access for emergency and refuse vehicles.
- Y Centre where police are working with the housing management to promote the centre to the general public.
- Listening Lunches where PCSO’s are meeting children at infant schools and improving the relationships between the children, their families and the police.
- Elm Grove Project which is joint partnership with police, youth services and HDC working with youths on Tuesdays to reduce anti social behaviour.
- Carrying out regular visits to vulnerable residents across the District who have been subject of anti social behaviour and crime.
Although crime is down I am aware of the recent increase and I would like to reassure you we are determined to maintain the reduction and catch those responsible but in order to do this we need information and for people to reduce the risk by taking simple crime prevention precautions.
March 31st saw us come to the end of the Policing Plan year. It was with a huge amount of pride that I am able to report that Horsham District has 492 less reported victims of crime which is an 11.5% overall crime reduction.
The District was the only one out of 13 in the Force to achieve all of its reduction and detection targets. Of note we had a reduction of 165 reported criminal damages and 74 less vehicle crimes victims. I am pleased to report a domestic burglary detection rate of 22.5% which is 8 above the target set.
I have reflected on how we have achieved these figures and I believe that this is as a result of more efficient processes internally with us dealing with “Today’s crime Today” and also the strong partnership that we have developed with the District and Parish councils, NHW and Local Action Teams.
Whilst I am very pleased with the reduction figures there is still room for improved performance in increasing public confidence and victim satisfaction. We are working very hard to comply with Pledge 10 of the Policing Pledge which is about acknowledging and dealing with dissatisfaction within 24hours. Our rating as a force has now improved to “Fair” following a recent inspection by HMIC.
Although we were able to reflect on our performance on the 31st March, the 1st of April saw us start on the new performance year and I can assure you that my staff, are committed in further reducing crime, gaining more detections and improving both public confidence and victim satisfaction.
Some incidents of note that my staff had to deal with included the death of 2 elderly residents, one who was found at the car park at the United Reform Church and the other who was found at her home address. This investigation is now being carried out by the Force Major Crime Unit. Another was the report of a male in a mobility scooter carrying a crossbow. This male has been arrested and charged. A tragic road death involving a female driver on the Storrington to Amberley road on Friday 9th April which is being investigated by the Road Policing Unit.
The current crime trends which appear to be challenging us are the theft of metal and diesel which may be due to the current increases in fuel and metal prices. We believe that criminals are travelling in to the area to commit this crime. I would encourage you to report any suspicious activity and record details of vehicles as we can build up intelligence and then target these individuals who are impacting on the community.
Finally in these difficult times it is a pleasing to report that we are to receive additional officers into the Neighbourhood Policing Team. We have been given an uplift of 1 Sergeant and 2 Constables. As part of the process of deciding where these staff would be best placed to provide greater visibility and tackle issues which are of the greatest concern we have consulted with the local District Council and Parish Council Clerks and their input and knowledge has been invaluable in helping us plan for the next 3-5 years where they feel the greatest risk will be. Once officers have been recruited we will publicise all of their details and how they can be contacted.
I would like to reaffirm that Horsham District is a very safe place to live, with decreasing crime levels and I look forward to your continued support in helping us reduce crime even further.
I am delighted to report that February has seen further reductions in crime which now show that as of the 1st of March over the policing plan year we have had 451 less victims and the greatest reductions are in vehicle crime and criminal damage.
Although we have had an overall reduction in crime the main issue affecting us at this time and which is following the seasonal trend is, thefts from motor vehicles and especially vans containing tools. I would ask that you can help reduce the risk by taking simple security measures which include either removing the tools from the vehicle, securing them in a vehicle safe and by marking them so that we can identify property should it be recovered. I would really encourage you to report anyone offering for sale cheap tools if you are not satisfied they are bona fide. These reports can be via various means which include calling 0845 607099, Crime Stoppers on 0800 555111 or by email to your local Neighbourhood Officer. We need your help in order to prevent and detect these crimes.
These crimes do have a real effect on the victim's and we are working hard to provide a better service to them. The latest confidence and victim satisfaction surveys indicate we are just below the targets of 70% for keeping people informed and 90% for the action we have taken. Currently we stand at 68.5% for keeping people informed and 79.6% for the action taken. I welcome feedback on how we can improve in this area. I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that Pledge 10 of our Policing Pledge is to :-
Acknowledge any dissatisfaction with the service you have received within 24 hours of reporting it to us. To help us fully resolve the matter, discuss with you how it will be handled, give you an opportunity to talk in person to someone about your concerns and agree with you what will be done about them and how quickly.
'We always want to do our best for you, however if you are dissatisfied with the service you have received, we will always acknowledge, investigate and update you as quickly as possible'.
On a positive note success stories this month include the conviction of another burglar caught by the burglary team in Horsham. Terry Martin who had travelled into Horsham from Essex pleaded guilty to the charge at Crown Court and awaits sentence.
Our partnership with Horsham District Council Community Safety Department is going from strength to strength with planned joint patrols with police and community wardens to target hot spots to reduce anti- social behaviour and improve visibility as the lighter nights encourage more people to be out and about. We are also working closely with people who have been identified at risk, who are suffering from targeted anti-social behaviour and this involves partners from across various agencies.
Finally at a national level we are measured using iQuanta data which compares Horsham against other area's in the country who have demographic similarities and I am delighted to say that Horsham is the safest place to live in this group with the lowest crime reported.
The January weather caused a great deal of difficulty for many people in the District. Officers were able to support those members of the community in most need during these difficult conditions. Examples of how we were able to help included staff delivering urgently needed gas heating bottles to an elderly resident. Accommodation was found for a young homeless person who was at real risk due to the sub zero temperatures. Partnership working was demonstrated at its best when we were able to use a Horsham District Council 4x4 vehicle which allowed us to get to residents in most need. I am delighted to report that over the last rolling 12 month period, Horsham District has 402 fewer victims of crime than over the comparable previous year. We are also achieving all of our detection targets for the policing plan year.
This month I welcome back to Horsham Sgt Sarah Friend, following maternity leave. Sgt James Makepeace will be moving from Pulborough. The officers will be based in the Neighbourhood Policing Team.
I would also welcome PC James Munden from the Probationer Development Unit at Gatwick who has joined the local response team.
It gives me great pleasure to report that our PCSOs are developing some fantastic initiatives:
Charlie Whittaker – a PCSO at Steyning, has with the local Neighbourhood wardens created the Community Safety Shop. The shop which was opened for a week was a place where members of the community could get advice on a range of subjects, from crime prevention to pensions. Over 130 members of the local community visited the shop and we received many positive comments. We will try and repeat this service in the future. The organisation of the shop took a great deal of hard work and I would like to thank Charlie and those involved for all of their hard work.
PSCO Sue Poynter has started a Young Neighbourhood Watch Scheme and is being assisted by PSCO Jeff Grant, the pilot scheme is being run at Shelley School, Broadbridge Heath. I attended the first meeting and was extremely impressed with their input and professionalism and the enthusiasm of the children and school involved. Following evaluation we will look to expand this in the future.
We have also introduced “Listening Lunches”. Our local PCSOs are visiting the local primary schools on their beat and chatting with the children over lunch. This has proved to be very popular with the schools, children and PCSOs.
Although crime is reducing, we are not complacent and are closely monitoring the quality of service we provide. I am aware that people are generally very satisfied with the initial contact, however we need to make improvements to how we keep people informed. I am currently addressing this area as I am committed to improving the levels of service you receive.
May I start by wishing everybody a Happy New Year.
2010 is going to be a time of change for policing in Horsham District. There will be a change in personnel and area's of responsibility which will start to take effect from the 4th of January.
We say farewell to Inspector Steve Keeler who will be moving to Crawley having served for over 4 years as Horsham North Neighbourhood Inspector. I wish Steve the very best in his new role as a NRT Inspector at Crawley where I am sure he will use his experience to good effect and thank him for his hard work over the last 4 years.
I would like to welcome Steve's replacement, Inspector Tim Tapley, who is a resident of Horsham who will be taking over responsibility for the whole of Neighbourhood Policing. Tim will be looking at ways of reducing crime levels even further and improving overall confidence levels in the service we provide by ensuring further involvement of the community and partners in problem solving.
I am delighted to report that 2 Police Constables will be moved into the Neighbourhood Policing teams.
Phil La-Roche will move into Billingshurst and will be holding weekly surgeries at the parish council office in support of PCSO Adrian Bell. Phil is very well equipped to carry out this role having served the village as a PCSO before becoming a constable and will have a great deal of local knowledge to call upon.
Paul Rolland will be starting in Storrington having previously served there 5 years ago and being a local, he too will be able to call on local knowledge to deal with the current issues affecting the community. Both officers are keen to make a real difference not only in crime reduction but in providing a visible reassurance to the community and provide additional support to partners.
Further moves include Inspector Paul Williams taking over responsibility for response policing of the district and he will be responsible for attendance and quality assurance management to ensure we provide the best possible emergency service and keeping people updated as per the policing pledge.
We welcome on promotion Police Sergeant Dave Pettman to Steyning Police station as a response Sgt who brings with him a great deal of Policing experience having worked in both urban and rural locations over the last 15 years.
I am pleased to report that overall crime is down and this trend has been going on over the last year and to date since the 1st of April we have had 204 less victims. The two main area's of reduction are vehicle crime and criminal damage.
Recently we have had further success in identifying and charging two teams of burglars who have committed a number of offences across the district and who have been targeting both houses and businesses. It is always very pleasing not only to arrest these offenders but also recover "valuable and personal property" which have been stolen. Joint working with both the Metropolitan and Surrey Police forces have allowed us to identify, charge and remand in custody these offenders as well as recover and return stolen property. At this time the overall detection rate for burglary is over 23% which demonstrates the hard work and commitment of our dedicated burglary team.