Police to fight crime on bikes
West Sussex County Times 7 DEC 2013
select for full details Electric bikes with a top speed of 25mph could be issued to police across the Horsham district.

It is planned that ten police community support officers (PCSOs) will have the new mode of transport in the coming months.

Inspector Clare McKnight, who is championing the scheme locally, said the idea was ‘fantastic’ and hopes it will bridge the gap between having a police car and walking.

The bikes cost between £1,200 and £1,800. The price fluctuates depending on the weight of each PCSO.

“For me, ensuring we are accessible to the public is the most significant thing,” said the inspector.

“There’s an opportunity to fill the gap between having a vehicle and people walking.

“It enables the local neighbourhood policing team to get around the district in an effective manner whilst being very accessible to the community.”

Insp McKnight revealed the news at the annual Neighbourhood Watch Horsham district meeting on Monday night (December 2).

Officers in the Horsham district cover a 203 square mile area. The majority is rural.

During the presentation at the Capitol Theatre the inspector said statistically it would take 28 years to become a victim of crime in the district - regarded as being one of the safest in West Sussex.

There are an average of 13 crimes per day and two burglaries every three days.

She compared this to the amount of crimes tackled by the Met per day in London which stands at an average of 2,312.

The inspector advised Neighbourhood Watch members that being crime conscious at home is about ‘balancing everything up’.

She said: “I have been to a house fire where two people have been dead at the door because the house was too secure to get out of. We don’t want to frighten [residents] out of their minds, but we want them to protect their properties.”

Man denies growing £25,000 worth of cannabis plants in Birstall bar
Mike Muncaster 13 DEC 2013
select for full details PHOTO: Cannabis farm found at Jardy's Sports bar in Birstall with PCSO Sanda Jaganjac at the scene

Police who raided a sports bar found an underground labyrinth in the cellar containing £25,000 worth of cannabis plants, a court heard.

Jason Hardy, of Gelderd Road, Birstall, denies growing the class B drug in the basement of his former bar, Jardy’s.

Police raided the bar in Low Lane, Birstall, on February 17 this year and found seven cannabis plants in the cellar.

Charles Blatchford, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court the plants were capable of producing skunk cannabis with a street value of £25,000.

He said: “It was a sophisticated underground operation under a sports bar.

“It is a labyrinth in the basement. They found seven very tall and well established cannabis plants and hanging around the side were leaves being dried out. The plants were so tall they started to interfere with the lighting in the room.”

PC Andrew Maloney told the court officers entered the premises after obtaining a search warrant.

After speaking with Hardy in the bar’s office, police searched the bar for entry points to the basement.

Officers found a small entry point behind a fire escape and searched under the floor boards.

They removed the laminate flooring in the corridor with a metal crowbar, revealing a trap door.

Mr Maloney said: “Under the door there was a set of ladders and when I went down there, it was quite open planned with purposely built rooms.

“I followed the air ducting and found the cannabis in the main room.”

Police also found a surgical glove with traces of Hardy’s DNA on it.

Mr Maloney told the court from previous drugs raids he attended, the building showed clear signs it was being used as a cannabis farm.

He said: “The plants were very bushy and the biggest I have ever seen. Some of the plants have been harvested and were hanging to dry.

select for full details “We found a water butt and a time switch, which is an automated system to turn the lights and water off.

PCSOs soon able to fine cyclists without lights *or* reflectors
Carlton Reid on Bike Biz 10 DEC 2013
Lords pass Bill giving police community support officers new powers to fine cyclists. Gov't amendment expands powers even further.

A new clause inserted by the Government into the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill will give police community support officers (PCSOs) in England and Wales expansive new powers to stop and fine cyclists who do not have lights on their bikes. But not just lights. PCSOs will also be able to stop and fine cyclists if they don't have reflectors on their bicycles, including on the pedals. Clipless pedals don't have reflectors fitted to them, but to be street legal all bicycles used at night will need to have a rear reflector and two reflectors on each pedal.

PCSOs will also get new powers to give out on-the-spot fines to cyclists having more than one person on a bike; cyclists who fail to comply with traffic directions; and cyclists who blow reds. PCSOs will also be able to fine drivers parking in school zones and other motoring offences.

While the Government seems unable to do much to protect cyclists' safety on the roads with legislation that would actually make a difference it has spent time on a clause that could be used to harass cyclists who may be highly visible, with hundreds of pounds worth of lights but who don't have pedal reflectors worth pennies. select for full details

Staffordshire Police to recruit eight PCSOs
The Sentinel 9 DEC 2013
STAFFORDSHIRE Police is recruiting eight new Police Community Support Officers.

The force is looking for applicants to join local policing teams across the county as PCSOs.

Chief Constable Mike Cunningham said: "I want the very best people to join us in serving the communities and we have created an online application process to help us find the very best candidates.

"The PCSO is very much part of the force family and their work is really valued by both the communities they serve and the police officers they work closely with.

"The role of a PCSO can be challenging but also very rewarding and I'm looking for people with a real passion for working with people and who have the determination to deliver the very best service."

Anyone wishing to apply should go to the force's website to complete the online application process before midday on December 20.

Mr Cunningham added: "We have some challenging questions in the online process to help us select those suitable to progress to interview, so it's important those interested take the time to answer the questions fully." select for full details

Heaton and Frizinghall PCSO Cath Elder is honoured
Telegraph and Argus 10 DEC 2013
A PCSO’s scheme to reduce burglary in Heaton and Frizinghall Bradford has won this year’s i13 award.

PCSO Cath Elder, of the North Bradford Neighbourhood Policing Team, worked with the community on the project.

The ‘i’ is an annual scheme run by West Yorkshire Police and supported by the West Yorkshire Police Community Trust and The High Sheriff of West Yorkshire, which offers grants of up to £200 for 11-18 year olds to carry out projects to improve their communities in conjunction with their local NPT.

PCSO Elder created a crime prevention video and secured Proceeds of Crime cash for its exposure at venues such as surgeries and children's centres.

The group canvassed Frizinghall residents for two new ‘No Cold Calling Zones’. These were launched last month and will bar people from calling at more than 250 homes in the area

Police providing purse bells to combat pickpockets
Simon Meechan 6 DEC 2013
select for full details PHOTO: The bells are being provided at police stations and from PCSOs and provide a clear warning if sly 'purse dippers' try to lift valuables from bags

On Monday, December 2, a purse was taken from an elderly woman's bag in the town centre.

PCSOs Graham Knight and Jason Miller of the Maidenhead Central neighbourhood team have warned that cunning pickpockets will target vulnerable people in crowded shopping districts.

The pair said the cunning crooks will often look to distract victims by tapping a shoulder or bumping into them before snatching valuables.

They are also warning shoppers to take care when entering their PIN number at cash points or while paying for goods.

PCSO Knight, who has worked in his town centre beat for six-and-a-half years, explained that criminals watch people paying with their debit or credit cards in shops, follow them out, and steal their purse.

The purse-dippers also operate in busy shops where they can take advantage of crowded situations.

PCSO Knight said: "It has a devastating effect on the victims. Because with their pension gone they can't buy presents, food or pay their bills."

The two officers have some tips to protect yourself against the thieves.

"Separate money out. Have it in multiple places. Do not have one large wad of cash in one place," said PCSO Knight.

PCSO Miller described the thieves as 'very low' for targeting the elderly at Christmas.

PCSO ‘abused police database for laughs’
11:50am Wednesday 11th December 2013 in Echo Local News
A PCSO serving in south Essex is under investigation for allegedly abusing the police’s database.

The female community support officer has not been suspended, according to Essex Police, but is understood to be facing a tribunal on Thursday which will rule on allegations and decide on her future with the force.

The revelation closely follows the dismissal of a Southend constable for meeting and texting a vulnerable witness, the jailing of a female Benfleet constable for failing to pass a rape case to prosecutors and the investigation of a suspended Rayleigh constable after allegations he targeted vulnerable witnesses and struck up relationships with them. All the allegations have come to light in the past four weeks.

A police spokesman said: “Our professional standards department is investigating an allegation of misconduct relating to data protection issues. This is an internal investigation relating to one of the force’s PCSOs.”

Review raises questions over Gwent Police's fall in crime
Jonathan Evans 10 DEC 2013
select for full details An internal review into Gwent Police's crime figures found half of the 50 incidents it looked at were incorrectly recorded by officers.

The enquiry was ordered after police and crime commissioner, Ian Johnston, accused former chief constable Carmel Napier of manipulating the force’s crime figures.

The claim came after Gwent Police recorded the largest fall in crime in England and Wales for the year 2011-12.

Mrs Napier, who controversially quit in June after an order from Mr Johnston to ‘retire or be removed’, has denied the claims.

A spokesman for Gwent Police said steps are now being taken "to improve the ease by which officers can gain access to the guidance they need" - but admitted up to half of incidents looked at during the review period had not been recorded in line with Home Office regulations.

The internal review was published this week and will be put to members of the police and crime panel on Friday.Despite stating that some crimes haven’t been recorded correctly, the review adds that people ‘can have confidence in Gwent Police’s crime figures’.

The report says: “There was no evidence of widespread or overt desire not to record incidents as crimes.

“However, there was evidence to show that officers had not recorded all crimes in line with the relevant Home Office counting rules (HOCR).

“The reasons for this primarily revolved around misinterpretations of the rules as well as a desire to support the wishes of the victim.

“Given the importance of the HOCR and their interpretation, they should be more prominently available with interpretations and guidance clearly visible.

“Further consideration needs to be given to the migration to officer closure as envisaged with the introduction of Niche later this year

“It is not clear yet that the key messages are now embedded or that the understanding is mature enough to proceed this way.

“A similar review should be undertaken on a quarterly basis led by either the force crime manager or the contact centre manager.”

The report added that new chief constable, Jeff Farrar, needs to reiterate his strong support and guidance to officers on the difference between thoroughly investigating an incident, seeking to support the wishes of the victim and the administrative requirements to comply with the HOCR.

Police launch 'Badvent' calendar with wanted criminals lurking behind every door
Lucy Osborne 9 DEC 2013
select for full details A police force's 'badvent calendar', which reveals the faces of suspected criminals in the run-up to Christmas, was hailed as an original and eye-catching way of fighting crime.

But despite its positive reception from the public, Nottinghamshire Police have been banned from using the term, after their own staff complained it was offensive to Christians.

Police bosses have now been forced to rename its 'Badvent' calendars to the far less catchy 'Festive Crime Calendar'.

The Nottinghamshire Police initiative - in which the name and face of a different wanted person is released from behind an online 'closed door' every day until December 25 - received an 'overwhelmingly positive' reception from the public.

But several of its own staff complained the calendar, which appears on the police's website and features a large photograph of a snowman wearing a policeman's helmet, was in 'poor taste'.

It is believed many of the objections were on religious grounds. Staff reportedly suggested it was disrespectful to Christians who traditionally use advent calendars to count down the days until the nativity of Jesus on December 25.

The online advent calendar shows a snowman with a carrot for a nose that is wearing Nottinghamshire police tape across its body.

The tongue-in-cheek initiative was set up as a way of catching people's attention online and 'getting wanted people into their memories'.

If and when suspects are caught, people who visit the website will see their pictures disappear from the calendar.

The 'badvent calendar' has already been used by police in Bristol, Thames Valley and Oxford in previous years - where it was a success and the name remained the same.

A spokesman for Nottinghamshire Police said today: 'The Force is always looking for new ways to engage with the public to help reduce crime and arrest offenders.

'Traditional methods of getting crime reduction messages out can no longer be relied upon as a way of capturing the public's attention and using events such as the run up to Christmas to raise awareness of outstanding offenders is a way of doing this

'The response from the media and the public to our calendar has been overwhelmingly positive with only one person expressing concern via social media.

'However, following several complaints from our own officers and staff who felt it was in poor taste, the decision was taken to change its name to a Festive Crime Calendar.'

The suspects who appear in the calendar are wanted for questioning in connection with alleged offences, have failed to appear in court, or been recalled to prison for breaching the terms of their release.

Behind the first door was Jamil Miah, who is wanted in connection with a serious assault in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, last year.

When it launched the calendar last week, the police force said: 'This year Nottinghamshire Police is issuing a twist on the festive tradition - a Badvent calendar.

'Instead of seasonal images and chocolates each door of the calendar will reveal a person wanted by the police.

'The calendar forms part of our Alliance Against Violence campaign - a zero tolerance approach to violent crime. By publishing details of those who are wanted targets, have failed to appear in court or who have been recalled to prison we are hoping to make Nottinghamshire a safer place.'

Terry Sanderson, of the National Secular Society, defended the calendar.

He said: 'People who take their Christianity seriously may well find the use of an advent calendar for that purpose might be a little bit shocking.

'But I think advent calendars rather lost their meaning when Cadburys starting putting chocolate in them and cartoon characters on them.

'Most people don't associate advent calendars with their true purpose anymore. I think they have completely lost their meaning and to use it in this way is, I don't think, any worse than the way chocolate manufacturers use it to sell their sweets.

Gwent police which boasted largest fall in crime 'failed to report dozens of incidents'
Alice Philipson 11 DEC 2013
select for full details A police force which boasted the largest fall in crime in England and Wales failed to record dozens of incidents, a report found.

An investigation into Gwent Police's figures discovered half the reported crimes it looked at were incorrectly recorded by officers.

It comes months after Police and Crime Commissioner Ian Johnston accused former Chief Constable Carmel Napier of manipulating the force's crime figures.

Mrs Napier strongly denied this but quit in June after an order from Mr Johnston to "retire or be removed".

Gwent Police recorded the largest fall in crime in England and Wales for the year 2011-12.

But the review looked at 50 incidents over a 10-day period in July 2013 where it appeared a crime was committed but had not been recorded.

It was discovered 25 incidents had not been recorded in line with the Home Office counting rules and National Crime Recording Standards.

An internal review said: "There was evidence to show that officers had not recorded all crimes in line with the relevant Home Office counting rules.

"The reasons for this primarily revolved around misinterpretations of the rules as well as a desire to support the wishes of the victim."

Crime figures will now be monitored quarterly to give the public accurate crime figures for the force area.

The report called on new Chief Constable Jeff Farrar to advise officers on the difference between thoroughly investigating an incident, seeking to support the wishes of the victim and the administrative requirements to comply with the Home Office rules.

The review added: "It will be necessary to develop guidance for all officers as well as easy to use guides on the broad principles of recording crime.

But it concluded: "The fact that there is no evidence of overt influence on crime recording is significant and the people of Gwent, the police and crime commissioner and chief constable can have confidence in Gwent Police's crime figures."

Blaenau Gwent MP Nick Smith said the report still left a lot of unanswered questions.

He said: "The public need confidence in police data, but there have been real concerns from all quarters about figures that were being celebrated just a few months ago.