Category: crimewatch

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?

Watch Out For These Fake Texts About Your EE Bill

These fake text messages  purport to be from EE and claim that you haven’t paid a bill. The link in the message leads to a phishing website designed to steal your EE account login details, as well as personal & financial information.

Don’t be tricked into giving a fraudster access to your personal or financial details. Never automatically click on a link or attachment in an unexpected email or text.

For more information on how to stay secure online, visit http://www.cyberaware.gov.uk

Expensive Fish

Local Police are reporting that the people driving this Peugeot Partner  van are believed to have been selling fish door to door throughout West Lancs. The last time it was seen was in the Tarleton and Mere Brow areas. Their prices are exorbitant (£300+). Please report any sighting to 101 quoting LC-20180605-0332. It is not thought the brown wheelie bin is being used for delivering the fish.

Elsewhere rural crime is being highlighted after it was reported a local politician returning home found a strange vehicle on his property, and on being challenged the driver reversed into the owner’s car before escaping. Apparently an arrest was made later. It will be interesting to know the full facts when the expected court case takes place. Police have so far made no comment. 

Oh My Lords, No Referendum?

The Government has responded to the petition you signed – “Give the electorate a referendum on the abolition of the House of Lords” .

Government responded “The Government is committed to ensuring that the House of Lords continues to fulfil its constitutional role as a revising and scrutinising chamber which respects the primacy of the House of Commons. As set out in the manifesto, the Government is committed to ensuring that the House of Lords continues to fulfil its constitutional role as a revising and scrutinising chamber which respects the primacy of the House of Commons.

“Whilst comprehensive reform is not a priority, the Government will also continue to work to ensure that the House of Lords remains relevant and effective by addressing issues such as its size.

“The Lord Speaker’s committee on the size of the House of Lords, chaired by Lord Burns, made recommendations in October 2017 on ways of reducing the size of the House without requiring legislation. In response, The Prime Minister has written to the Lord Speaker and agreed to continue with the restraint she has shown so far when making appointments to the House. It is incumbent on all sides of the House to consider what they can do to further promote the culture of retirement. In light of the Prime Minister’s letter, the Lord Speaker has asked the Committee to reconvene to consider next steps”. Cabinet Office

The immediate solution might be to stop all allowances for members, most of whom are failed politicians on Commons pensions anyway. That should cull about half of them. Then introduce democracy and start elections. Does anyone seriously think this system of dumping muppets into the Lords is acceptable ?

Neighbourhood Watch, A Special Responsibility Without Allowances

Would You Be Interested In Setting Up A Neighbourhood Watch (NHW)  Scheme?”. I was asked that question a few days ago. Strange, I thought, I have already set up a scheme and I am its co-ordinator. It started in January 2016. It’s now part of the Lancashire Volunteer Partnership. But when I started there was a paid Police Watch Liaison Officer.

The December 2015 Minutes of the Aughton Parish Council state “The Chairman then invited the representative from Lancashire Constabulary, Lynn Wareing, to give her presentation on Neighbourhood Watch. The Watch Liaison Officer gave details of what the setting up of a NHW scheme entailed, the number of properties involved (between 5 & 20), and the role of a Co-ordinator for each scheme. She introduced the Chairman of Chorley & District Neighbourhood Watch Association who brought his experience to the meeting and full details on how a Co-ordinator would set up a Neighbourhood Watch, manage a Scheme and listed the benefits which included: bringing people closer together, building a stronger community spirit, helping to reduce crime. Leaflets on Neighbourhood Watch were circulated at the meeting and would be available at Aughton Police Station”.

In the spirit of voluntary unpaid local service some people who attended that meeting, me being one, signed up. It might be, to some, a special responsibility without the special responsibility allowances some other, 32 I believe, elected, people are deemed to need and receive!

In October 2016 we received this news from Lynn Wareing “I have been in the role of Watch Liaison Officer since December 2011, however, I was informed last week that my role is to be disestablished and therefore abolished as part of the Lancashire Constabulary’s change process. I have been assured that police support for Neighbourhood Watch will continue although, at this time, I have no information as to how this will look in the future. Similarly, I have no information as to who will become the Single Point Of Contact within the Constabulary or indeed whether there will be such a S.P.O.C. I will no longer be responsible for the ‘In The Know’ (ITK) message broadcasts that you receive in relation to local crime, threats and updates. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with such dedicated and caring community volunteers as yourselves and I would like to thank you, personally, for your hard work, dedication and commitment to community safety and the care of vulnerable individuals”.

It became obvious that the reduced Police funding crisis made the Watch Liaison Officer an easy target, and off she popped, leaving behind some disillusioned co-ordinators.

On hearing of local unrest, the Police and Crime Commissioner  wrote to us “I have been contacted by some co-ordinators who have raised concerns regarding the role of NHW Liaison Officers as part of this work…I wanted to give you a little more information and hopefully re-assure you of my commitment, and that of Lancashire Constabulary, in supporting you and your local schemes. Neighbourhood Watch is an important part of my vision for policing in Lancashire, it is part of the key priority of Protecting Local Policing in my new Police and Crime Plan…Crime, however, is changing and so the responses to crime must also change and develop and I am keen to support Neighbourhood Watch in this…I am committed to ensuring Neighbourhood Watch, alongside our cadets and Special Constabulary get the best support possible and my office and I are working with the Constabulary and the neighbourhood and Home Watch Network as well as others on a new volunteering model across the county which recognises the importance of partnership working across all of the public sector…I want to ensure the support you receive in the future is fit for purpose and supports you in making the different you want to see in your communities…If roles are changed this will be to reflect new ways of working and I am clear that the level of support offered to co-ordinators such as yourselves should not be diminished”. Blah blah!

Anyway, back to the recent invitation. You need “a passion for making your community a better place, to become a Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator”. Act as a key point of contact to receive and cascade information between watch members, other local coordinators and partners, where relevant. Manage watch administration, ensuring that the scheme and membership information is registered in line with local policy and kept up to date. Signpost members with community safety issues to the most appropriate organisation. Promote personal responsibility for community safety by encouraging watch members to improve both home and personal security. Promote neighbourliness by encouraging members to share crime reduction information and keep an eye on each other’s homes and possessions, giving special consideration to vulnerable neighbours. Support public services to identify local issues and solve problems where there are community concerns”.

Cascading of information is a strange phrase to use about NHW, at least in Aughton, where once a month the Parish Council Chairman and Clerk attend what is called a “Meeting with Local Police”. It used to be a PACT meeting, unfortunately abandoned due to poor local public interest. They don’t let me attend, something to do with secrets, although in my work I signed the Official Secrets Act 63 years ago and remain bound by it. They receive details of crimes in Aughton which are reported at the following parish meeting. So all the crimes reported are therefore historic, perhaps five weeks old. No use whatsoever to the NHW co-ordinators and their members who must wonder why they joined. This poster    is not available to us. If I print it and stick it to a lamp-post I will become a crime statistic perhaps five weeks after I am convicted of doing it. Crazy!