Category Archives: crimewatch

“Oliver” Aka Clive Grunshaw “Twist” Is Back!

He’s announced his Annual Precept Consultation 2020-21 Version.

There’s a certain inevitability about the annual “Oliver Twist” police precept grab. It has an unusual “twist” this year. Mr Grunshaw has previously had less police officers, so he needed more precept. This year he is having more police officers, so he needs more precept! Probably his annual 5%?

“Due to the General Election there is a delay in the confirmation of the level of central government funding for 2020/2021, the uplift to the funding for new officers, and the flexibility to raise the precept, meaning that timescales are tighter than ever. My survey launched last week and is open until 9am on Friday 17th January.

“Running Lancashire Police costs over £286m a year, with almost 72 per cent of this coming from Central Government funding, and the remainder being raised by the Policing element of your Council Tax bill. I’m required by law to set the policing element of the Council Tax bill every year. This decision is made by taking into account lots of things, including what you, the public want your police service to look like against how much you want to pay for it.

“Despite having saved over £86m from the police budget since 2010, last year, thanks to the support of council tax payers, I’ve made good on my promises in 2019 and investment was made back into policing here in Lancashire, with the creation of Task Force teams covering every district across Lancashire, focusing on reducing and preventing crime and dealing with the issues that matter most to people.

“Specialist target teams were also strengthened tackling cross border crime and criminality, alongside burglary and robbery and there was an investment in detectives following public feedback to prioritise investigations around major crimes, child exploitation and domestic abuse.

“There’s some positive news this year, as we know that there is government funding for some additional officers, but that does also come with additional costs. Lancashire is growing as a police force and the costs of running it will go up proportionately. There are also the standstill pressures, including inflation and statutory pay rises which unless they are addressed by government will leave the force with a £7m deficit.

“My current proposal this year is to increase the precept to meet some of the pressures that are coming through alongside a plan for savings to meet the deficit, rather than to seek cuts, but I want to hear what you have to say”.

Don’t suppose two words, one being “off” will work?

Courier Fraud. Please Do Not Believe Any Callers Asking For PINs Or Passwords

Lancashire Police

Our Police have reported that in the last two days “We have received three reports of Courier Fraud in the Burnley area, with each victim handing over £4,900 to scammers. We believe these offences are linked and we are urging people to remain vigilant throughout Lancashire.

In all instances, vulnerable and elderly members of the community have been targeted with phone calls from an individual claiming to be from the bank or Police.

In these instances, the victims have been told not to inform any friends or family, withdraw large volumes of cash or purchase euros and hand them over to a ‘courier’ who has later visited their property with a pre-agreed code word.

Fraudsters are highly persuasive and use an array of systems and tactics to appear like legitimate organisations. In both of these instances mentioned, the fraudsters held the victims phone line open all day to ensure that should the victim call their genuine bank or police, they could intercept the call.

Please do not fall for this fraud in West Lancashire

Clearly, these instances are highly emotive and extremely distressing for the victims, who are now left feeling vulnerable and without their cash over the festive period.

If you have loved ones, friends, family or neighbours that could benefit from this advice, please remind them that their bank or the police will NEVER:

• Phone and ask you for your PIN or full banking password.
• Ask you to withdraw money to hand over to them for safe-keeping.
• Ask you to transfer money out of your account.
• Send someone to your home to collect cash, PINs, cards or cheque books.

If you have information or concerns regarding Courier Fraud you can call 101, or 999 if it’s an emergency.

Thanks. Lancashire Police

Crime And Policing In Aughton, Latest Published News

From the Minutes Of Meeting Held On Monday, 14 October 2019

The Chairman welcomed the representatives from Lancashire Constabulary, Chief Inspector Ian Jones, Sgt Billy Matthews and PCSO Jillian Reid who would be speaking on ‘the Policing of Aughton’ during Public Question Time.

PUBLIC QUESTION TIME – the Chairman adjourned the meeting at this stage and welcomed Mr Clive Grunshaw, the Lancashire Police & Crime Commissioner and Chief Inspector Ian Jones

who gave an update on ‘the Policing of Aughton’ since his last visit in May 2019. With regards to the anti-social behaviour issue, he said the police had not been fully aware of what was going on in Aughton and he was grateful to the Parish Council and some local residents for pointing out what was happening, where and when. Aughton ranked high in the County for nuisance and antisocial behaviour but a plan had now been put in place to try and eradicate this.

He had looked at what there was for youth in the area and, although it was not his role, he had gone to the Police & Crime Commissioner for assistance and funding to: • Set up a Boxing Club in Ormskirk. • Set up a New Zone Bus to visit the hotspots in the area. • Working with the police cadets. • Try and educate youngsters through the schools on knife crime, drug use, etc.

He went on to: • Give an update on the serious incident, with the use of firearms, at a property in Back Lane, Aughton. • Noted the problems at the Quarry Woodland, off Delph Lane, on the park off Cherry Tree Lane and the site off Winifred Lane including the playarea, car park, bowling green and Sports Pavilion area. • Give a brief update on the proposed dedicated Task Force of Police Officers to be introduced in West Lancashire to tackle the issues that matter most to local residents, eg nuisance & anti-social behaviour, drug-dealing, etc. • PCSOs were now trained up on pedal cycles and were being trained to operate speed guns. • The introduction of ‘mini police’ – school children to encourage parents not to park on yellow lines outside schools etc. • Finally, the CBM vacancy on his team had now been filled and the officer would be taking up the post as soon as possible.

A question and answer session then took part with the Chief Inspector on various issues including Working with the British Transport Police at both rail stations in Aughton; Mischief Night – all police staff were on duty – problem youngsters to be taken to a dedicated area in Skelmersdale awaiting ‘parental release’; Police/Public Protection Orders; Reassurance to stop antisocial behaviour; Drug taking by youngsters and how the police were trying to deal with the problem, mainly through the parents; Police numbers reduction over the last few years but the force now hoped to get back to the previous level of officers for Neighbourhood Policing – Task Team, Response Team, Neighbourhood Team; Questions on the statistics produced on the Police Website; the problems with the ‘101 service; Suggestions for engaging with young people and the older youths; Aughton Police Station, Neighbourhood Watch & refurbishment of Skelmersdale Police Station.

The Chairman thanked the Chief Inspector and his staff for attending the meeting and said he hoped they would return to Aughton at a future meeting to give a further update on the Policing of Aughton.

Mr Clive Grunshaw

the Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner, was then invited to speak. He touched on his role as the PCC for the last 7 years and then covered 3 main aspects: • the Budget – cuts in budget, reduction in police officers, policing to threat, harm and risk, cuts on all services. • the Police & Crime Commissioner Plan 2016-2021 which outlined the priorities for Lancashire Constabulary over the coming years, and • the Chief Constable, who was responsible for policing but he was accountable to the Police & Crime Commissioner.

He spoke about the proposed increase in police officers by the Government and the allocation for Lancashire; the proposed introduction of dedicated Task Force Officers to give ‘visibility’, TACOS and the Drone Team, the need to reconnect with the Neighbourhood Force and empower with the community; and finally, Our Lancashire and the Volunteer Partnership to be launched on ‘Lancashire Day on 27 Nov’.

A question and answer session then took place with Mr Grunshaw on various issues, and he responded accordingly. He said local residents could contact him direct through his website which also covered in detail many of the issues raised above. The Chairman thanked Mr Grunshaw for visiting Aughton to update local residents on Policing in Lancs.

Minute 11186 CHAIRMAN/VICE-CHAIRMAN/PARISH CLERK’S OCTOBER MEETING WITH THE LOCAL POLICE – a brief report was given on the informal meeting held 9 October 2019 – PCSO Jillian Reid attended.

There had been 21 reported crimes since the last meeting (September, 17 crimes) (August 14 crimes) (July 21 crimes) including 4 domestic incidents, 2 malicious communications, 4 cases of assault, 1 harassment, 4 burglary in a dwelling (Long Lane, Scarth Hill Lane, Holly Lane, Liverpool Road), 3 criminal damage excluding a vehicle (Delph Common Road, Town Green Lane, Delph Park Avenue), 1 case of arson (domestic related), 1 missing from home incident (person found), 1 vehicle crime (Moor Hall).

In Aughton, other than reported crimes, there had been 98 incidents. Discussion took place over the many youngsters on bikes riding around the Parish in the dark without lights on their bikes (dangerous and intimidating). The Public Bowling Green and the rear the Sports Pavilion were still considered ‘hot spots’ now particularly late evening. Pavement parking in Granville Park and Town Green Lane were also reported.

“Task Four-ce” Pessimism?

In September the Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw

announced “A dedicated task force of police officers is being rolled out across Lancashire this month, tackling issues that matter most to people. The taskforce is split into proactive teams of four or five officers spread across nine areas in the county, with the responsibility for tackling local priorities including drug dealing, anti-social behaviour and burglary, alongside disrupting organised crime group activity and targeting outstanding offenders”.

Mr Grunshaw said “The Government’s funding announcement at the end of last year made it clear that the only way to raise funds to put extra officers on our streets, which the people of Lancashire consistently tell me is what they want to see, was to fully utilise the council tax flexibility given to Police and Crime Commissioners. This was the only option provided by Government to protect and bolster policing here in Lancashire and not using it would have meant a further cut to the budget and 125 fewer police officers. Thanks to support from the public, I’m pleased to say that for the first time since 2010 investment is being made into policing here in Lancashire with additional officers going into every district, focusing on reducing and preventing crime and dealing with the issues that matter most to people”.

So West Lancashire will have a Task Force. Ch Supt Sam Mackenzie of Lancashire Constabulary said “The introduction of these officers is great news and puts extra officers into our communities. The roll out of the Neighbourhood Policing task force will help us to continue tackling key crime hotspot’s and allow us to be more proactive in preventing the crimes that concern us all the most. I expect their impact to be significant in every corner of the county. I believe these officers will make a real difference in our community and look forward to seeing the effects they have”.

But “Sceptical of Aughton” who might be me, or you, has a cynical view of the concept. He’s a retired police officer who wrote to the Champion

and foresees the four, maybe five officers actually being somewhat depleted by annual leave, rest days, and sickness, leaving not much officer time to deal with burglary, drugs, anti-social behaviour, target outstanding offenders, and assist in tackling Organised Crime Groups. Not to mention the practical garaging of vehicles and storing equipment. 

As “Sceptical of Aughton” says, all the above doesn’t leave much time to have a “significant” impact on anything. We hope he is wrong, but we share his misgivings.


The Police Eyes In The Sky

Lancashire Police have a dedicated Drone Team under Police Tactical Operations.

Lancashire Police reported yesterday”Good evening from the Drone Team. These are our two latest Pilots in training and we are completing night time tasking later tonight”.

The drones are believed to be supplied by Aeryon, who build high-performance, small unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) and software for military, public safety, and commercial customers around the world. The Lancashire Police model is the Skyranger.

Perhaps the Aughton Parish Council should become a customer and position one over crime infested Winifred Lane and other local crime hotspots!

Here Comes The Commissioner’s Begging Bowl

Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner  has launched a survey asking council tax payers across Lancashire if they are willing to pay more to support the recruitment of 80 police officers and increase proactive policing in their community. The consultation follows the budget announcement last week, where the Government has once again passed the burden of the cost of policing onto council tax payers .

The latest financial settlement for Lancashire sees it increase by £6.8m and whilst the Commissioner welcomes any additional grant, it does not even cover the increase to employer pension contributions for policing, announced in September. The real world consequences of dealing with this pensions deficit alone, is forecast to cost Lancashire Constabulary around £7.1m per year from 19/20 – the equivalent to over 150 police officers.

However, since 2010 Lancashire Constabulary  has had to make over £84m of savings as a direct result of the Government cutting £50m of central funding during the same period, with an additional £18m of savings required by 2022. In the same period Lancashire has lost 800 police officer posts and 350 support staff, meaning there are increasingly fewer places where savings can be made. Despite the cuts, the Constabulary is still deemed to be efficient and effective by external inspectors.

Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner said “I strongly believe that more funding should come from the Government and I will continue to lobby the Home Secretary and Policing Minister. The current funding for policing isn’t sufficient to deal with growing demands on the police and the financial settlement allows me to raise further funds but only through passing this burden onto council tax payers. This isn’t fair and it isn’t sustainable” .

“However, raising funds through council tax contributions is the only option the Government have given me to protect and bolster policing and if I did not consider this, it would mean a cut to our budget. There are over a million calls for service every year to Lancashire Police and investment is needed to keep up with ever increasing demands on policing and to deliver a service the public expect. Police officers and staff are working round the clock to keep people safe but, they are over stretched.”

“The public are being asked if they would be prepared to pay an extra 46 pence per week for a Band D property to invest in policing services in their area. Three quarters of Lancashire residents are in lower bands and so would pay less, and this would raise over £10m for policing in Lancashire”. 

Increased revenue raised through council tax would help to deal with the changing nature of crime and provide more local, visible and accessible policing that is more responsive to local issues. Mr Grunshaw explained, “Across the county residents tell me that they want to see better investment in policing. More detectives are also being recruited by the force ollowing public feedback asking to prioritise investigations around major crimes, child exploitation and domestic abuse but they want more police officers, and they want to see them out on the streets, tackling crime and keeping us safe.

“The reality is the ability to invest in our policing teams and meet the pressures on the service is completely reliant on raising council tax by the highest amount we can. With rising demands, increasing costs through inflation and growing crime we cannot accept a further reduction in our police budget.

“Asking for more money , the public quite rightly expect to get something in return and need to feel the difference which is why if the proposals go ahead, it would be spent on 80 extra police officers. These officers would form task forces in every district in Lancashire to support neighbourhood policing teams to solve problems in communities, focusing on reducing and preventing crime, anti-social behaviour, public order and supporting public events. This would include three officers dedicated to tackling rural crime in each of the county’s policing divisions.

“Specialist target teams would be increased to strengthen the force’s ability to tackle cross border crime and criminality, focusing on burglary and robbery 24/7 to ensure police are making an impact around the issues that really matter to people and cause the biggest misery and concern. These extra officers would also work alongside drones funded by proceeds of crime to locate and track offenders and support searches for missing people”.

The thing is, Clive, you want ME to pay for police pensions from MY pension. How fair is that?

Fewer Councillors And More Police?

Janet Ingman has written to the Champion  to ask how we might be able to afford to let a new councillor resign and spend about £8,000 on a by-election but not put more money into policing. The short answer is the two matters are not locally related. Funding of local councils and funding of policing come from different pots. Janet Ingman surely makes a good point, as anyone could, about the short career of the Labour politician who resigned. As with the other case, the Tory in Hesketh-with-Becconsall, the public are paying for political party failures, but the bill should be sent to them, not us.

As for why do we pay so much for so many councillors, and are they the way to cut back on unnecessary spending, I simply quote again the case of Wally Westley in his Cabinet pomp, when he stated on the same day two answers. Asked in August 2010 “Why do we need 54 councillors? Surely we could get rid of about one third of them with a little judicious thought? That would lead to a smaller council, a smaller cabinet (less expenses) and a smaller administration, smaller salaries for the highly paid senior staff who would have less responsibility, smaller premises and the sale of some of the capital assets we own” he replied “The number of Borough Councillors is set by the Government and the Boundary Commission. My personal view is that there are too many and that the number could be reduced by 50%”. But when asked “As for the number of councillors, why don’t you instigate a review of WLBC with the Boundary Commission?” he replied “I would not want to waste money on a Boundary Commission Review or the resultant election. There are far more important matters and it would only be an unnecessary distraction”. Truly unbelievable until you realise the calibre of the man!

Janet Ingman mentions neighbourhood watch but doesn’t hear of them now. They do exist, with difficulty as any current NHW co-ordinator will tell her. Encouraged to organise watches, people are now disillusioned by lack of support. By chance, also in the Champion, is a headline  that “Deadline looms for bids for funding of projects to tackle reoffending”, from a “police commissioner’s £200k pot”. It beggars belief that Mr Grunshaw received a massive rise from us for his police budget, only for us now to discover HE wants to spend OUR money doing what the Home Secretary should pay for, reducing reoffending. It’s bad enough that while police bills go up police officer numbers reduce. We can only wonder what salary is paid to the Independent chair of the Reoffending Boards who just happens to be a recent Chief Constable in Cumbria?