Police & Crime Bulletin for June 2019

First rural crime barn event heralded as a great success

This month saw the first ever Rural Crime barn event in Thames Valley. The evening brought together farmers and members of the rural community with officers from Thames Valley Police, Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Fire & Rescue Service, First Responders and a number of sponsors who specialise in vehicle tagging and rural security.

More than 150 people attended and discussed rural crime operations by the police, how Special Constables are supporting rural communities and opportunities to raise issues directly with neighbourhood policing teams from Milton Keynes and Aylesbury Vale.

The event was recognised by those who attended as a great success and will hopefully be repeated at other locations across the Thames Valley.


Thames Valley Police launch Home Security Guide

Being burgled is a traumatic experience. It’s not just the financial cost of replacing stolen items, but also the emotional impact of feeling violated after a burglar has been in your home. The Thames Valley PCC has always made burglary a priority for the police and in recent months there have been further reductions in the numbers of burglaries.

Thames Valley Police have also produced a Home Security Guide to help residents with a range of physical and digital security measures. There is also advice on how to avoid invalidating your home insurance through poor security and a handy checklist when going away.

You can reduce the risk of becoming a victim by looking at your home security through the eyes of a burglar. Think about how you would break in if you locked yourself out. You may be surprised at how easy it would be.

Click here to download the Home Security Guide now.


Telephone fraud prevention advice

Following a series of frauds in the Bracknell and Wokingham area Thames Valley Police have issued some crime prevention advice.

Often elderly victims are telephoned and asked them to withdraw cash from their bank account as part of a bogus police investigation.

Residents can reduce the risk of becoming a victim by following our crime prevention advice.

  • The police will never ask you to withdraw cash from your bank account, or arrange for a courier to collect valuables from you.
  • If you receive a call from someone claiming to be a police officer and asking you to withdraw cash or send valuable items in this way, you should hang up immediately and contact Thames Valley Police on 101. Do not call any other number as you could be speaking to another fraudster.
  • When making this call it is important to use a different phone to the one that you have been contacted on. If no other phone is available, you should wait at least five minutes to ensure the phone line has cleared before making the phone call.
  • To verify the identity of any police officer, you should ask for their name and shoulder number and then call 101 to speak with the relevant police force. Always make this call from a different telephone, or wait at least five minutes for the line to clear.
  • More advice about how to protect yourself against fraud is available on the Thames Valley Police website at: https://www.thamesvalley.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/fa/fraud/personal-fraud/


Award for volunteer custody visiting service

The Independent Custody Visiting Association (ICVA) presented Thames Valley OPCC with a Code Compliant Award at its Quality Assurance awards ceremony at the House of Lords on 15 May.

The Independent Visitor Scheme is delivered by volunteers who make unannounced visits to police custody to check on the rights, entitlements, well-being and dignity of detainees held in police custody.  They report their findings to the Police and Crime Commissioner who in turn holds the Chief Constable to account.

ICVA is the national organisation which supports, leads and represents locally-run custody visiting schemes.

The Quality Assurance awards were introduced by ICVA to help schemes:

  • Reflect on how they comply with the Code of Practice, the legislation that underpins custody visiting
  • Celebrate areas of strength
  • Promote custody visiting and the achievements schemes have made
  • Drive performance and increase sharing of good practice

Anthony Stansfeld, Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, said: “I am delighted our Independent Custody Visitor Scheme has been recognised nationally.  The ICV scheme is so important in ensuring the welfare and entitlements of detainees across the Force.  All Independent Custody Visitors are volunteers and we wouldn’t be able to deliver the scheme without their continued commitment and support”.

For further information about the Independent Custody Visitor Scheme and to find out how you can volunteer, please visit. https://www.thamesvalley-pcc.gov.uk/get-involved/independent-custody-visitors/


Volunteer rural crime spotters launched

Thames Valley Police has launched a new team of volunteer rural crime spotters in Chiltern and South Buckinghamshire.

The volunteers are all horse riders who will engage with the rural community whilst out on their normal hacking route and assist in rural and equine crime prevention. The role is voluntary and has no police powers attached. The role builds on the work of the Thames Valley Horse Watch network which brings local horse owners, riders and equestrian workers together with their local police team.

The volunteers will report any suspicious activity, including fly tipping, unauthorised off road biking and hare coursing to the rural crime reporting line, run by the National Farmers Union in conjunction with Crimestoppers. This national, anonymous reporting system allows offences and activity to be directed to the correct agency. For example, fly-tipping is dealt with by the local authority. Where a crime is in progress, spotters will report this directly to the police.

Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Barber said: “The support that volunteers give to the police is vital to keep our communities safe. We all have a responsibility to report crime and suspicious activity and it is great to recognise the work of these rural crime spotters in assisting the work of Thames Valley Police across the countryside.”

By ringing 0800 783 0137 or visiting www.ruralcrimereportingline.uk, farmers, rural businesses and the public can anonymously give information about rural crime.


Funding available following criminal seizures

Applications have just closed for the latest round of the Police Property Act Fund grants.

The Fund, which is jointly managed by the PCC and the Chief Constable, is created from money recovered by the police and the proceeds from the sale of items that cannot be returned to identified owners, including seizures from criminals.

Last year £198,650 was distributed to 52 different organisations in addressing Police and Crime Plan priorities and the PCC and Chief Constable expect to allocate around £140,000 in this grant round.

The successful grants will be announced in due course. For more information about this and future rounds of funding please visit https://www.thamesvalley-pcc.gov.uk/get-involved/police-property-act-fund/.

This year successful recipients will be invited to attend an award ceremony held on the afternoon of 20th September at Sulhamstead.