Tougher sentences for dog thefts
Thank you to everyone who has already signed up to back my campaign for tougher sentences for dog thefts. The demand for dogs as pets has hugely increased along with the price. Some puppies can cost as much as £3,000 making them an attractive target for organised crime gangs. Dog Lost, the UK's largest lost and found dog service, estimates that thefts have risen by 250% in the last year.
Backing new laws to tackle illegal encampments
Home Secretary, Priti Patel is set to announce new legislation that will make it a criminal offence to intentionally set up a camp and trespass on private land.
It is understood that the legislation will give police power to fine those who intentionally break the law up to £2,500 and include the possibility of a three-month prison sentence.
Currently landowners face legal battles and court costs to evict travellers from their sites because trespass remains a civil offence.
Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner and Conservative PCC Candidate, Matthew Barber has welcomed the plans:
"I have lobbied the Home Office on the issue of illegal encampments for many months. It is a real concern for residents across Thames Valley. I have spoken to the Home Secretary and the Policing Minister at length and I look forward to seeing the details of the proposal when they are presented to Parliament.
“This will be similar to legislation introduced in Republic of Ireland in 2002 and will fulfil one of the Conservatives' manifesto commitments. I am fully behind the government's strong action.” he added.
The new Criminal Justice Bill will authorise the police to take enforcement action against two illegally parked vehicles. The current number is six. The police would also be able to take action to prevent any damage, disruption or distress to landowners.
Your questions answered live on Zoom
I am continuing my series of online Police & Crime Conversations. If you have any questions, views or concerns about policing and crime issues across Thames Valley or some of the major national issues that impact on policing in our community why not join the conversation?
The next free online event is tomorrow evening, Monday 1st March at 7pm on Zoom and Facebook Live!
Simply log click the link below to register on to Zoom or join in via my Facebook page.
£4.3m to support victims of domestic abuse across Thames Valley
Domestic abuse victims and their children living in Thames Valley will be able to receive more support thanks to extra Government funding.
The extra money will help victims and their children access life-saving support in safe accommodation, including advocacy, counselling, and therapy in safe locations such as refuges or specialist safe accommodation, where victims and their children can go to get away from their abusers.
- Councils across Thames Valley are to receive £4,328,950 to help fund a new duty to ensure victims and their children are able to access life-saving support in safe accommodation.
- A total of £125 million has been allocated to councils across England to support domestic abuse victims and their children.
- This new funding is part of the Conservative Government’s landmark Domestic Abuse Bill and package of comprehensive support for victims.
Thames Valley bolstered by additional police officers
Matthew Barber has welcomed the announcement that Thames Valley Police has been bolstered by an additional 258 officers since the Government launched the major police recruitment drive over a year ago.
The addition of these new officers brings the total number of police across Thames Valley up to 4,250, meaning there are now more frontline officers on our streets to keep the public safe.
Since the launch of the Government’s recruitment campaign one year ago, a total of 6,620 extra officers have joined police forces across England and Wales.
The new statistics also show that the police workforce is now more diverse than ever before, with 10.2 per cent of new recruits identifying as Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic, and with 9,871 of all officers now being from these groups.
Alongside the recruitment campaign, the Government has announced the second round of the Safer Streets Fund, backed by £20 million of new money, to crack down on neighbourhood crimes that blight our communities. This funding will enable PCC’s to make crime cutting interventions in residential areas to ensure people feel safe in their communities.
Men sentenced following the murder of Josh Harding
Following an investigation by Thames Valley Police’s Major Crime Unit, two men have been given lengthy prison sentences for their involvement in the death of teenager Josh Harling in Thame on 22 July last year.
Nathan Braim, aged 20, of Broadwaters Avenue, Thame, was convicted by unanimous jury verdict earlier this month of murder, conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm with intent and possession of an offensive weapon following a trial lasting seven weeks at Oxford Crown Court.
Benjamin Eyles, aged 19, of Monks Hollow, Marlow Bottom, was cleared of murder, but was found guilty by unanimous jury verdict of manslaughter and conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm with intent.
Braim was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 19 years.
Eyles was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment.
The convictions of Braim and Eyles related to two incidents in July last year, the second of which, on 22 July, resulted in the death of Mr Harling, who was 19-years-old.
Blight on the countryside or big business? In the case of fly-tipping it is both. To some people the odd bag of rubbish dumped in a gateway or some waste in the corner of a housing estate is little more than an annoyance, but what we are witnessing is organised criminality that seeks to exploit communities for significant financial gain and with scant regard for the environmental consequences.
Operations to fight knife crime
£20,000 has been awarded to Thames Valley's three Lowland Search & Rescue Teams and two Search Dog Teams by the Police & Crime Commissioner.
The support for the five organisations will support a range of work, including an advanced mapping system and additional equipment.
Improving criminal justice
Coronavirus has exposed many of the fragilities of the criminal justice system, but the challenges run much deeper.
In recent months the result of court closures due to lockdown has thrown fresh light on the fact that even before the pandemic the delays in getting cases to court could be significant.
Police & Crime Survey 2021
I want to know your views on policing in Thames Valley. I have set out my priorities for the future in my draft Police & Criminal Justice Plan, but I want to know what you think. Click the button below to complete my survey now.
Business Crime Survey
Crime doesn't just affect individuals. You might be a business owner, an employee or a sole trader - I want to know about your experience of business crime and how it has impacted you. Please take a minute to complete my survey today.