Thames Valley Police Chief Constable, John Campbell will be attending the meeting with Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Barber to deliver a presentation on the work of Thames Valley Police over the last year.
Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Matt Barber gave a presentation on the Police and Crime Commissioner’s (PCC) role and responsibilities and strategic priorities within the Thames Valley Police and Crime Plan 2017-21. He highlighted the Victims First service as well as an overview of the crime figures across the Thames Valley and an explanation of the waiting times for callers using the 101 service to report incidents.
Chief Constable, John Campbell and Local Police Area Commander, Felicity Parker gave a presentation on the local policing issues and crime figures within Bracknell Forest. The complexity of issues surrounding policing were explained in the context of the Thames Valley Police Strategic Plan for 2019/20. It was explained that their priority was on preventing crime and responding to offences involving vulnerable residents. It was acknowledged that having neighbourhood officers that were familiar to residents and accessible and were present in the community was important.
In response to a question regarding what specific actions Councillors could undertake to ensure that crime and policing challenges within their neighbourhoods were are being tackled and reported it was reiterated that the Police were the operational arm but they relied on local information. All Councillors were encouraged to keep in touch with their local PCSO so that problem solving could be started at the earliest opportunity and to let them know if more information about police acitivity was needed to be shared.
In response to a question regarding Thames Valley Police’s support of the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme it was reported that it was a significant decision to accredit people and the Police have to ensure that the appropriate processes and training were in place and also review the application to ensure that its use is proportionate.
In response to an enquiry about how the police tackle antisocial behaviour it was reiterated that they were working with the Community Safety Partnership and the Anti-Social Behaviour Officer within the Council. Councillors were asked to report any hot spots within the area so that problem solving could be undertaken to reduce it.
In response to a question regarding the impact the Northern parishes would see following the announcement that Thames Valley Police would be recruiting 600 additional police officers it was explained that the focus would be to recruit well to maintain standards. The priority would be those force units who had seen a reduction in officers with a focus on local policing and the Local Area Commander would make an assessment as to where these resources should be allocated.
Following questions relating to overt drug-dealing at Westmorland Park and other nearby sites regarding how the local Policing team were engaging with residents and taking steps to stop this it was explained that there may have been covert activity which could not be shared. Examples had been given in the presentation about the range of responses which could be deployed and Councillors were encouraged to report concerns to the to the local team to improve their intelligence base and response to incidents.
Clarification was sought on the poor inspection judgements relating to crime reporting data and it was confirmed that Thames Valley Police was one of 44 forces which had fallen short of the inspectorate’s standards. A practical example of the challenge of maintaining data integrity was given and it was explained that the threshold between being considered good versus inadequate was very narrow. Members were reassured that the direction of travel on this measure was good but because rules kept changing they never expected to reach 100%.
In response to a question on poor handling of scam investigations it was reiterated that the priority for Thames valley Police was were vulnerable people were involved. It was explained that they have a well established economic crime team who were successful at getting money back from fraudsters and some examples of success were provided.
The Community team were congratulated on their work at local events in the area acting as ambassadors for the force with all ages.
It was queried why there was not a dedicated team supporting Windsor rather than local officers being pulled into the neighbouring borough. The Local Area Commander explained that Thames Valley Police do have officers servicing the Windosr guard but PCSOs were always available to engage with people and based locally. She added that she was working with the operations department so that less Bracknell people are being taken – although this was an important part of the work this needed to be shared with other forces.
It was explained in response to a question that additional funding would only reduce crime if it was linked to officers being available.
In response to a question about how targets were set it was explained that trends, data and performance statistics were tracked and although it was aspirational to reduce crime to zero a realistic target was set but that not all crime targets wwere about reduction as increasing reporting was also a success measure.
When asked about the regretful number of assaults on officers and the sentencing policies the Chief Constable said it was not for the Police to criticise judiciary outcomes but instead focus on providing training and equipment to protect officers.
The Mayor thanked the Chief Constable, Local Police Area Commander and the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for their attendance and informative presentations.