Chief Inspector Mark Thorley was in attendance accompanied by Sergeant Rob Peacock, to provide the annual Policing Team update.
Overall, crime was down by 15% compared to 10% nationally. Policing in the wake of austerity continued to be a challenge, however the Moorlands Policing Team continued to work hard, found new and innovative ways to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour, work ever closer with partners for the benefit of the community, with some notable successes but also the occasional spike in acquisitive crime.
The following statistical information was provided:
· Less serious violent crime with injury, 40% reduction (290 less crimes)
· More serious violent crime with injury, 34% reduction (21 less crimes)
· Burglary residential, 12% reduction (19 less offences)
· Criminal damage, 21% reduction, (160 less offences)
· Theft from motor vehicles, a 40% increase (45 more crimes)
· Theft of motor vehicles, a 9% increase which had increased since October (6 more crimes)
· Police visibility was at 73%, compared to 63% nationally
· Public space violence had reduced by 13%, compared to 15% nationally
· Anti-social behaviour, 6% reduction (115 less incidents)
· 2% reduction in collisions classed as killed or seriously injured
The past year had again seen travelling criminals target the Moorlands, the nature of the geography would always mean that this was a vulnerability, but the recently created Force Road Policing Unit would now support the Local Policing Team, by patrolling and targeting the road networks to identify and apprehend those travelling criminals, using intelligence led tactics to provide a tailored and effective response.
As well as the challenge to deter travelling criminals the team had seen the actions of a small number of local criminals impact heavily on vehicle crime offences.
Most notably in the Cheddleton and Leek areas where two separate offenders, during the summer months targeted insecure vehicles parked overnight. Both were identified, one recalled to prison, the other after a number of court appearances, was remanded in custody.
Prior to and upon release from prison, the Police continued to work with prolific offenders to ensure the motivation to commit crime was removed or reduced. To date neither had yet re offended.
Staffing levels remained the same for the area, apart from a Civilian Vulnerability Co-ordinator who would be in post shortly, to work within the harm reduction hub at Leek.
The Chair complimented the officers who were involved with a problem which concerned teenagers in the Werrington area, which was successfully resolved, and congratulations were passed on to the officers in Leek for the work they had carried out to reduce crime. The excellent work of the PSCOs in Biddulph was also mentioned.
A member of the Panel explained that he and a number of constituents were concerned about the level of drug use in the area. Chief Inspector Thorley advised that the matter of drugs was high on the agenda and that Sergeants reported to him on a fortnightly basis. Should anyone wish to report any specific concerns then these could be emailed to the Chief Inspector or directly to Staffordshire Police.
Discussion took place around the area outside schools being dangerous due to a lack of school crossing patrols and a high volume of cars. Members also raised a recent problem with theft from walls and enquired about the speed of Armed Response Officers locally. These concerns were shared by the officers and the Panel was advised that PCSOs were tasked to patrol outside schools. There hadn’t been a great deal of theft from walls reported and members were encouraged to report any issues. The Armed Response Unit could be deployed where necessary, 24 hours a day and provided good response times to the area. Other neighbouring Forces could also be called upon should the need arise.
Alleged exploitation of young people, the use of drugs and gases in Cheadle was debated by the Panel. Warrants, Stop Searches and work in schools had been carried out but should any member be of the opinion that matters were not being addressed, then they should report this directly to Chief Inspector Thorley. In the meantime, he would contact the Sergeant for this area. It was also explained to the Panel, that some gases could be purchased legally, it was the use of the gases that was the problem. A request was made for a Police presence in Caverswall, as a similar issue with gas cylinders had been identified at this location.
Further discussion took place around dangerous dogs, theft of pets, recruitment of special constables and the use of the new Staffordshire Smart Alert system. A member queried how the Police visibility was measured and it clarified that this was a record of the time officers’ radios were outside of the Police Station.
1) That the update be noted;
2) For statistics on the number of convictions be provided at the next annual update.