Nottinghamshire PCC Caroline Henry hosted the first of a series of Have Your Say on Bassetlaw policing events live in Retford, and was joined by Worksop’s Neighbourhood Inspector, Neil Bellamy, and Head of Strategy and Assurance, Daniel Howitt.
Residents in Bassetlaw raised concerns about: increasing police in Worksop, reducing response times to rural communities, tackling cross-border crimes, reintroducing holding cells in Worksop, and having police physically attend more incidents.
On the topic of increasing police in Worksop during the week and night, PCC Caroline Henry reassured that the team is on track for recruitment of new officers.
She also announced that she has chosen Worksop for the new Safer Street Fund, specifically to keep women and young girls safe.
“I want to make sure that Worksop is a really welcoming, vibrant place, and things we can do to make that better includes really good CCTV.”
Nottinghamshire Police have placed a bid of £550K from the Safer Street Fund, which will have £225K of that going towards CCTV with Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR), and four new operators to watch the cameras. Some of the funding will also go towards extra hours of police officers.
Mrs Henry also said that they will be improving street lighting in Worksop, and will cut trees back so some areas are not so “dark and scary”.
Nottinghamshire Police will find out at the end of the month if they’ve got the bid.
One audience member named Matthew also asked what changes were being made to improve policing in rural communities, where only a reported 6 per cent of farmers believed they would get a response from the police if there was a crime.
Mrs Henry agreed that there was “more to do on rural crimes”, and that it is on her radar to tackle.
“If you have an issue in a rural area - please report it. We need the evidence of the need,” PCC Henry said.
Inspector Bellamy added: “It’s difficult on the borders, certainly out towards Langworth and Shire Oaks. There are a number of people in those communities, which are deprived communities, that choose a criminal path, and trying to stop someone coming across borders, it’s difficult.”
However, insp Bellamy has a dedicated officer based in Worksop, and if there is a specific problem, to let him know.
One question raised was about reintroducing holding cells in Worksop, and whether the closest cells being in Mansfield affect arrest rates due to distance.
Ms Henry said: “I’ve had some very frank conversations about does it affect policing not having holding cells up here, and everyone’s been convincing me that actually if somebody really needs to be arrested, they will be arrested.
“We have one in the city centre, and we have one in Mansfield, and operationally, I’ve been told that that is enough. However, I am going to be looking at it as part of my tenure.”
Insp Bellamy said not everybody needs to go to custody, and that if a conversation can be had with a drunk and disorderly person to leave the town centre over the officer removing them, then he supports that.
“I would prefer my cops to stay in the town where there’s potential for more [crime], and not be tied up with somebody who maybe 20 years ago would’ve spent the night in the cell - but is it more appropriate to remove them from the town centre, make sure they don’t come back - and if they do come back that’s when they need to be locked up.
“I think the days of policing where you’ve got a little cell in every nick are gone, and that’s down to safer detention.”
However, insp Bellamy also reassured that if disorderly disturbances are on the increase during the weekends in Worksop then they will look at putting staff in.
Ms Henry is using this series of events to help shape the new Police and Crime Plan, which is to be released in the autumn, and will set out the direction of policing across Nottinghamshire and use of resources over the next four years.
On the plan, Mrs Henry said: “The plan will be unapologetically tough on crime and antisocial behaviour, and it will leave no stone unturned in our fight against petty crime and vandalism in our town centres.
“I’m committed to levelling up policing across Nottinghamshire, ensuring that resources are distributed fairly and equitably across the area on the basis of where they’re needed most.
“I am committed to improving visibility and flexibility of police officers across the county, particularly improving its response to rural crimes, such as machinery theft and organised fly-tipping.
“And importantly, I am committed to putting victims and residents at the heart of our policing priorities; listening to communities and responding to issues of greatest concern.
Mrs Henry added: "As the listening commissioner, I am adamant that the views of residents and local leaders will absolutely form and shape that plan.”
To have your say on Bassetlaw policing, fill out the short survey at: https://nottspcc.co.uk/bassetlaw/
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