Neighbourhood Policing Team
PCSO Joby Lewis gave an overview on recent Crime and Community Safety issues in the ward, and the following points were raised:
- Overall crime figures for the ward were down by 42% from the previous year. Burglary of dwellings was down by 83.3%; other burglary incidents were down by 82%; and criminal damage was down by 46.7%. There had been a 50% reduction in drug offences and sexual offences, and a reduction by 72.7% of thefts from vehicles.
- PCSO Lewis reported that they had just come to the end of a week long initiative on Rogue Traders, raising awareness with local residents and giving out preventative advice. He noted that this was a national initiative and had been also undertaken across the city. PCSO Lewis advised that cold calling control zones had been set up in particular streets within the ward, and the Safer Neighbourhood Team would be interested in hearing from any residents who had been experiencing problems or harassment from cold callers.
- PCSO Lewis then reported that the SNT had been working to forge better links with community groups, to ensure that everyone was aware of and had access to the services which are available to them. This included work with the Turkish Women’s Group and Number 22 The Avenue.
- New Neighbourhood Watch schemes had been set up, and existing schemes were being strengthened.
- PCSO Lewis informed residents about Operation Joypad, an initiative to combat burglaries and theft from vehicles. He advised that officers were checking houses and vehicles in the area and raising awareness with residents about the importance of keeping their property secure.
- Finally, PCSO Lewis advised that they were trialling a new approach to anti-social behaviour, giving it a more community-led focus. He noted that there was not a serious issue in the ward at present, but there was a possibility incidents may increase in the summer months with lighter evenings. PCSO Lewis advised that the intention would be to consult with residents on local issues, and ask for feedback on how they would like these issues to be dealt with in order to move forward. He noted that a number of meetings were planned to discuss this, and encouraged residents to get involved.
In response to a question regarding a sharp rise across North Yorkshire in the number of thefts from lock-ups and garage buildings, PCSO Lewis noted that this was an issue they were aware of. He advised that the law on scrap metal dealings had now changed, making it impossible to trade for cash, in an effort to reduce the number of thefts for scrap. PCSO Lewis further advised that portable, high value items were usually targeted, and that the Safer Neighbourhood Team could provide advice on securing outbuildings such as sheds if required. He also reported on the Organised Crime Group initiative, which focussed on gathering intelligence and carrying out surveillance on known offenders in order to secure grounds for prosecution.
Residents asked for clarification about their rights in relation to cold callers. PCSO Lewis advised that there was no law against knocking on the door, but that it would be a civil offence if they did not leave when asked to. He asked residents to report any incidents of cold calling in the area, by phoning 101, as their presence was a concern that needed to be dealt with. In response to a question about how quickly officers would attend any call, PCSO Lewis advised that this was dependent on resources, but stressed that this issue was a priority.
Councillor Douglas thanked PCSOs Lewis and Parkin for attending, and they left the meeting.