Crime up 17% in Devon and Cornwall police area

Owl says: one way to get more officers on the beat is to abolish the post of Police and Crime Commissioner and the 20+ staff that work for her. But would you believe (you would) that it is impossible to find out exactly how much she and her staff cost? Accounts are (designed to be?) impenetrable. AND there is no central register of the overall cost of the 40+ Police and Crime Commissioners in post!

“Devon and Cornwall’s Police and Crime Commissioner has said she is committed to “securing more funding for front-line officers” – as new figures show a rise in recorded crime.

Between July 2017 and June 2018, recorded crime was up 17% in the Devon and Cornwall force area, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

Nationally there was an increase of 10%.

Alison Hernandez said she was “concerned” about a rise in violent offences, although she said serious violent offences “are still very unusual in the peninsula”.

“It’s clear to me that more money is needed to support greater officer numbers,” she said.

She added she was working with her office to help tackle the increases.”

Cranbrook gets police drop-in surgery – but only for a couple of hours a month

“A member of Cranbrook’s policing team will be available to meet in the foyer of the Younghayes Centre across the next two months, subject to availability.

Next month, an officer should be at the Younghayes Centre on Saturday, November 3, from 1pm to 2pm. They are planned to return on December 1 at the same place and time.

A spokeswoman for Cranbrook Town Council said: “Please do come and make use of these sessions, which will be a great opportunity to raise any concerns you might have and to meet local officers.”

Cranbrook Town Council has approached the chief constable to request a permanent neighbourhood beat manager. The authority has been dealing with several issues including anti-social driving and unruly behaviour at night.

“Policing at ‘tipping point’ over budget cuts, warns police chief”

“Policing has been left at a “tipping point” by government cuts, and on the verge of failing the public and struggling to detect crime, a senior police chief has warned.

Dave Thompson, the chief constable of the West Midlands force, said agreement was needed on what the police should stop doing. It is an idea discussed privately by police chiefs and done by stealth by some forces.

Thompson leads for the National Police Chiefs’ council on finance and resources and his comments accept standards of service have fallen so badly the police risk becoming ineffective. He said: “The public’s experience is policing that is less visible, less responsive and less proactive.

“Core aspects of policing – such as answering calls, attending emergencies, investigating crime, bringing offenders to justice and neighbourhood policing – are being pushed beyond sustainability, and are in danger of becoming ineffective to the detriment of confidence in the police.”

Thompson took aim at the Conservative government’s approach to policing since they came to power in 2010 to explain the crisis.

He said “the government has had a partial view of policing in the last few years” – very interested in terrorism and high-end threats, but less focused on local crimes.

Those have been left for forces and police and crime commissioners to manage locally amid steep budget cuts, as demands on the police rise. The chief constable said: “This more local agenda has many positives in setting priorities but it has come with steep budget reductions and a widening mission. There has been a real-term reduction of police budgets of 19% since 2010, but ranging between 11- 25% across forces.”

Thompson said the fight against terrorism and serious and organised crime had improved, but added: “The gains we’ve made have come at a cost to perhaps the most important parts of policing for the public.

“Crime is rising and so is the demand on our service. The calls do not get answered as quickly as they did. Officers are not as fast at responding to emergencies and more crimes are dealt with on the phone. Fewer high-volume crimes like thefts are investigated and as a result fewer offenders brought to justice. The visibility and proactivity of neighbourhood policing is much reduced.

“Bluntly our ability to manage the big threats and protect the vulnerable, yet still be the traditional police the public want and need, is becoming ever harder. We are in danger of pursuing efficiency to the point of ineffectiveness – where we can process the work but we’re not detecting crime as we should be and not meeting public expectations. …”

“Town council requests neighbourhood beat manager to bring an end to anti social behaviour in Cranbrook”

“The authority has been dealing with several issues in Cranbrook, including anti-social driving in the town’s railway station car park and unruly behaviour at night from youths.

Cranbrook is currently under the responsibility of Ottery’s rural policing team.

A spokeswoman for Cranbrook Town Council said: “The existing local policing team do a great job and we work very well together with them. Our request is to enhance that team as Cranbrook grows. This is because, firstly, our current policing team covers a very wide area and, secondly, during the last six years Cranbrook has grown from green fields to a town with a population of over 4,000 residents.

“Like most towns of a similar size a police presence is required to ensure the safety of the residents and to deal with any misbehaviour which occurs.”

The council said a neighbourhood beat manager would ‘quickly understand’ the day-to-day issues facing residents, and have a deterrent effect on those thinking of taking part in anti-social or criminal activities.

They would also reassure the majority of our residents that help is close at hand if and when required. The spokeswoman added: “Although we experience a low level of antisocial behaviour as evidenced in our crime statistics, it is important to remember that victims are at the heart of the response to antisocial behaviour. If left unchecked, antisocial behaviour can have an overwhelming impact on its victims and sometimes the wider community.

“Our main concern is that, as the town continues to grow, the number of incidents of anti-social behaviour is likely to increase too.

“We think that now is the right time to establish measures in order to respond to any undesirable activities in an appropriate and timely manner.”

Council chairman Councillor Kevin Blakey and his deputy, Cllr Bloxham, recently met with Alison Hernandez, Devon and Cornwall Police’s Crime Commissioner.

The council has now written to the chief constable with a request for a permanent neighbourhood beat manager.”

Potential Devon and Cornwall police merger descends into farce

“The announcement today (Wednesday, September 26) that plans to merger Devon and Cornwall Police with Dorset Police have been delayed has not helped what has been, from the start, a flawed process.

This latest delay – coming moments after a farcical episode involving an abandoned meeting in a supermarket – has been caused because those in charge of our police cannot agree whether the merger should move to the next stage. …”

Senior police officer alleges he was told by Foreign Office to stop money laundering investigation

“The former senior police officer in charge of investigating corruption has revealed that he was ordered to halt an inquiry into Russian money laundering.

Jon Benton, who headed up the National Crime Agency’s international corruption unit, said a more senior official linked to the Foreign Office told him to drop his inquiry.

Mr Benton’s claim is deeply embarrassing for the Government which insists it is clamping down on Vladimir Putin’s cronies who have stashed their wealth in the UK. Mr Benton, a detective superintendent, headed up the international corruption unit (ICU) when it was set up in 2015. He retired last year. …”

“Police admit loophole stops speeding drivers from being prosecuted on roads in Cranbrook”

Cranbrook a NEW development? Some of the houses there are 4 or more years old!

“Drivers on some of new roads in Devon cannot be prosecuted for speeding, police have admitted.

Numerous roads running off London Road in Cranbrook are yet to be officially adopted by Devon County Council therefore leaving housing developers responsible for managing them.

This means that Devon and Cornwall Police is unable to enforce speeding restrictions around the town on roads that are unadopted and do not have street lights.

“For speed enforcement to occur, a valid Traffic Regulation Order needs to be in place,” said Ch Insp Leisk.

“This is prepared by the local authority post adoption. When conducting speed detection activity, we would always confirm the validity of the TRO.

“The other occasion where a road speed limit is always 30mph is when street lighting is present less than 200 metres apart. Unless posted otherwise, this is always a 30mph limit.

“A street layout would always be agreed with the local Highway Authority, in this case Devon County Council, prior to build as part of the planning process.”

Concerns were raised at a recent Cranbrook Town Council meeting with Cllr Ray Bloxham telling members that police would not enforce the 30mph limit on unadopted roads.

He added that the Devon County Council task group was looking at speeding on Devon’s roads.

Cllr Kevin Blakey, chairman of Cranbrook Town Council, told Devon Live that his understanding was that all aspects of the Road Traffic Act apply on all of the town’s roads.

He said: “It is true that the majority of the roads in Cranbrook have yet to be adopted, and this is usual for most new developments.

“However, the supposition that speed limits and other regulations do not apply is incorrect.

“The Road Traffic Act and associated regulations apply in full and without exception to all roads to which the public have access.”

However, Ch Insp Adrian Leisk clarified that while certain aspects of the act do apply – such as needing insurance and a valid licence – police are not in a position to be able to prosecute speeding.

He said: “Elements of the Road Traffic Act apply such as insurance, standards of driving, wearing seat belts and not using a mobile phone.

“These all are applicable as the offence is committed on a road – there is a legal definition of road.

“The setting of speed limits are always detailed in the TRO, the lack of which could be relied upon in an individual’s defence.”

A spokesperson for Devon County Council said: “Because the roads have not been adopted, and so are not managed by DCC, the responsibility rests with the Cranbrook Consortium for main roads that link with London Road, and the relevant housing development companies manage the roads in their sections of development that connect to the main Cranbrook roads.”