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St Neots Awards 2017

Police & Crime Update 

The Love's Farm community met with St Neots Police Sergeant Adam Bagulay for an update on policing issues in our area.  The bottom line is that the police are significantly stretched and we need residents to respond to help our community.

We need to lobby for more Police resources

The key message from the meeting was that police resources are unbelievably scarce. St Neots and surrounding villages is served only by ONE police sergeant and THREE full time (and one part time) PCSOs. We need to apply pressure wherever we can to ensure more resources are allocated to St Neots and Love's Farm. We would urge residents to write to:

Be vigilant and take simple precautions

A significant proportion of recently reported crime has been simply opportunistic. Don't make it easy for criminals! Be vigilant and help your neighbours by keeping an eye out for each other.
  • Ensure doors, windows, garages and sheds are secure
  • Light your property at night indoors and out and consider security systems
  • Keep valuables out of sight and mark belongings including bikes, scooters and prams
  • Tell your neighbours if you are going away for a time
Immobilise is a free national facility that allows you to record your personal property and belongings. In the event that a registered item is lost or stolen, they can easily be returned to you if any of the items are recovered by an officer.

Report, report, report!

It's tempting to think that because the police are so busy there's no point in reporting minor crimes. Nothing could be further from the truth! Whilst it's true that the police might not have time to investigate or follow up, the reports are used to build a picture and to allocate resources. If nothing is reported, the assumption is that everything is fine.
  • Reports can be made online at https://www.cambs.police.uk/report/Report It only takes a few minutes and you don't need to wait on the phone.
  • You can all 101 for non-emergency reports.
  • You should always call 999 when it is an emergency, such as when a crime is in progress, someone suspected of a crime is nearby, when there is danger to life or when violence is being used or threatened.
  • If you want to give some information about a crime, but need or want to remain anonymous, you can contact CrimeStoppers - https://crimestoppers-uk.org/ - 0800 555 111

Detailed Q&A

Here's a more detailed run-down of the questions answered at the meeting:

Since the summer crime seems to have increased. Are we being affected by issues such as County Lines?
Over the past year there has actually been a decrease in the number of violent crimes. However, there has been an increase in thefts from motor vehicles and thefts of pedal cycles. Many of these have been opportunist thefts of unsecured items.

‘County Lines’ is when organised gangs identify drug users in towns and use them to run drugs into a community. Towns such as St Neots with direct train lines from cities are often targeted.  It’s a problem not just in Cambridgeshire but everywhere. This town is not any worse than other areas.

How do we compare to other areas?
The crime statistics vary considerably by month. Love’s Farm is generally no worse than anywhere else in the county. There are pockets of crime which officers could get on top of but with resource limitations the response is usually reactive.

What resource do you have to tackle crime on the estate?
There is one full time police officer and 4 PSCOs, one of whom is part-time, to police St Neots and the villages in the surrounding area. This represents a population of over 40,000 people. There is a limit to how responsive the team can be given the geography they cover.

There is recognition that Love’s Farm needs more police resource however St Neots and Love’s Farm will be competing for this with other police teams across the county.

The community can highlight concerns, report incidents and antisocial behaviour to help the County Police Force identify what resource is needed and where it needs to be. This will help reallocate resource if it is a priority.

Where is the funding we pay as taxpayers going if we are not seeing responses to cars being stolen or investigated for over three days? It is not reassuring to see crime not being responded to.
Unfortunately this is a result of the reduction in resources and is not an exception for this area, or the rest of the country at this time.

What can we do as a community to reduce crime? What can I do myself?
Love’s Farm Community Association run a ‘Street Reps’ scheme to bring together streets and develop a sense of community – most streets have a Facebook page which residents can join to access information about their street and what’s going on in the community.

Neighbourhood Watch has been set up in one area of Love’s Farm. We are looking at how we can facilitate this across the whole development. Please get in touch with your Street Rep if you would like to get involved. 

You can also help reduce crime by:
  • Ensuring doors, windows, garages and sheds are secure
  • Light your property at night indoors and out and consider security systems
  • Keep valuables out of sight and mark belongings including bikes, scooters and prams
  • Tell your neighbours if you are going away for a time
Immobilise is a free national facility that allows you to record your personal property and belongings. In the event that a registered item is lost or stolen, it can easily be returned to you if recovered by an officer.

Why should I report incidents? How do I do this? Can I do it anonymously?
Incident reporting is important to help the police identify where resource can be allocated and build intelligence. Reports of incidents are not always answered but unless an incident is reported to the police they cannot act.  Reporting is important to help build a picture of crime. Even if a person is not seen the incident, the location and what happened is logged.

You can call 999 if a crime is happening or 101 if a crime or incident has occurred.

You can log crime that has happened, incidents, car theft, suspicious activity and traffic incidents via Cambridgeshire Constabulary’s website: https://www.cambs.police.uk/report/Report-Shared/Report-a-crime or via social media including Facebook: https://www.cambs.police.uk/information-and-services/About-us/Social-media

If you would prefer to report incidents or crime anonymously you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

You can also request that a police officer does not visit your address to take statements or follow up on an incident reported if you feel this would put you in danger or difficulty.

How can we get more police resources to help Love’s Farm community tackle crime?
Resources are stretched. Get in touch with your town, district and county councillors to highlight your concerns about local policing. Without pressure from councillors there is unlikely to be a change in policing resource. Without a community speaking with one voice the community will only receive reactive policing.

Direct your concerns to councillors as they can hold police to account. You can access our councillors contact details here.

You can also contact our MP Jonathan Djanogly (https://www.jonathandjanogly.com/) or the Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite (http://www.cambridgeshire-pcc.gov.uk/)

What is the community association going to do?
We will continue to have community meetings. It is helpful to be able to say to our police force and councillors that the community is engaged and wants to tackle this issue. Meetings with the community demonstrate that there are issues in the community and the community cares and is asking for resources to address issues in their community. The Community Association will continue to work with the police and councillors to highlight issues and request additional resource. We are also working to establish Neighbourhood Watch across our community.

Marcus Pickering, 24/10/2018

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