Op Holly launched across Thames Valley
Dangerous drink and drug drivers are being targeted by Thames Valley Police during the seasonal Op Holly Christmas campaign in a bid to reduce drug and alcohol related traffic collisions and to protect other road users.
Police are encouraging drivers to know ‘It’s Not Worth the Risk’ and not to drink alcohol and/or take drugs before getting behind the wheel.
Between 1 December 2019 and 1 January 2020 officers will be carrying out breath tests, drug tests and field impairment tests, working to deter any motorists thinking about driving while impaired by the effects of alcohol or drugs.
On average 20% of all fatal collisions involve an impairment from drink or drugs. In Hampshire and Thames Valley, around 400 drink drivers are caught a month.
The public are encouraged to report drink and drug drivers with as much information and detail as possible so they can be targeted. If you know someone who drink or drug drives you can report them online or by calling 101. Alternatively if you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. If there is an immediate risk to the public always call 999.
The true cost of casual cocaine use
The UK is one of the biggest consumers of cocaine in Europe and Thames Valley Police has launched a new campaign "True Costs" to highlight the unseen harm that can be caused by the casual use of illegal drugs.
The true costs of cocaine use are significant and far reaching, from child exploitation and other criminality, to health and environmental. Most people don’t see the awful things we see so the Force are shining a light on these costs.
Not everyone who takes cocaine knows the reality of how it is produced and supplied. We are providing the facts so you can make informed choices for yourself.
What's the scale of cocaine use in the Thames Valley?
There are currently a number of active organised crime groups involved in the supply of cocaine in Thames Valley. This means there is a demand for the drug which must be supplied via a network of organised crime groups. In recent years, awareness of county drugs lines has grown due to media interest. This type of organised crime is a breeding ground for wider criminality, including the exploitation of children.
Children as young as seven are being groomed into the world of drugs. They are forced to move cocaine, sometimes inside their own bodies across counties and beyond. In doing so, they face violence, intimidation, risks to their health and life. These are the true costs of cocaine use.
How does this affect children in the Thames Valley?
Through the work of Thames Valley Police with local support services, we know of hundreds of children who are, could be, or have been, at risk of exploitation, who are being supported by council teams across social care, early help and youth justice in the Thames Valley.
Mentoring in prisons
This week I was pleased to join trustees and volunteer mentors from Trailblazers who were celebrating 15 years of their work in Aylesbury's Young Offenders Institution. Trailblazers are a national charity based inside HMYOI Aylesbury and operating in several prison facilities across the country. They offer weekly one to one mentoring for prisoners as well as "through the gate" support once they are released.
The work of Trailblazers - and other organisations like them - is supported by the Police & Crime Commissioner from the Police Property Act Fund. Cash seized by the police from criminals is provided to charitable causes such as Trailblazers that work to reduce reoffending.
Not only to the help to turn around the lives of individuals, but by providing education and support to offenders they are stopping other people from becoming victims of crime in the future. To find out more about the work of Trailblazers please visit www.trailblazersmentoring.org.uk.
Tackling Domestic Abuse must be a priority for the Government
In an interview last week, retired Chief Superintendent John Sutherland said that domestic abuse is the “single greatest harm in society”. He added, it’s a “disease of pandemic proportions”. These hard-hitting words are borne out of many years’ exposure to tragic cases on the frontline.
We should all listen because the silence resulting from intimidation, fear and control often prevents victims from speaking out. And there are many victims. Last week, the ONS published a report – that passed by largely unnoticed - on domestic abuse prevalence. It shows an estimated 2 million adults suffer from domestic abuse every year. Over a third of victims are male, though this is sometimes overlooked.
Strong local policing matters
Neighbourhood policing is the bedrock of law enforcement in the UK. New and emerging threats such as terrorism and high-tech crime have created specialism which are vital to protect the public in the modern world. Yet many of these new areas of policing attract funding and interest to the detriment of more traditional neighbourhood policing.
The public and media rightly demand higher visibility. The merits of local policing, embedded in the community should not be underestimated. Even in the areas of counter-terrorism and serious organised crime it is often neighbourhood police officers and police community support officers (PCSOs) that gather the vital intelligence or who are the first on the scene of an incident.
Theft of catalytic converters
I've been asked to highlight the issue of catalytic converter thefts. The offence has been on the increase due to the high price available for the precious metals that they contain. Hybrid vehicles are often particularly targeted. Some manufacturers have provided owners with advice and may even be able to supply any theft devices to deter thieves. Details from Toyota are available here.
The police work closely with the scrap metal industry to try to identify those responsible. If you have any information regarding the theft of catalytic converters please contact Thames Valley Police on 101.
Make your voice heard to help shape the future!
The role of the Police & Crime Commissioner includes holding to Chief Constable to account, setting the council tax precept for policing, commissioning services for victims of crime, funding community safety partnerships and setting the policing priorities for the Thames Valley.
I want to know your views about policing where you live. Please spare a few moments to complete my short survey and tell me what you think is going well and what can be done better. Click the button below or visit www.matthewbarber.co.uk/haveyoursay.
Please do spread the word and share the survey with friends and family!