I want to say a big thank you to the more than 313,000 people across Thames Valley who voted for me to become your Police & Crime Commissioner. I am honoured to take up the role and am committed to serving every community across Thames Valley to cut crime and make our streets safer.
As your Police & Crime Commissioner I intend to continue these monthly email bulletins to keep you informed about my work and activity that is going on across Thames Valley. Anyone can sign up by visiting matthewbarber.co.uk/newsletters. This newsletter is produced entirely by me and is not funded from the public purse.
You can also visit the official PCC website and find out more information about my office at www.thamesvalley-pcc.gov.uk.
You can find out more information about the election result and my campaign by clicking here.
My new Police & Criminal Justice Plan
Having consulted with the people of Thames Valley through the course of a long election campaign I am now in the final stages of completing my Police & Criminal Justice Plan. This document will set the strategic priorities for Thames Valley Police and guide the work I do as your Police & Crime Commissioner with other agencies such as councils, health services and criminal justice agencies.
The draft plan has been shared widely and available on my website for over almost two years. In the time I have listened to residents concerns and modified and updated my plan. It is now in the final formal stages and I intend to present it to the Police & Crime Panel - the final stage before adopting the plan - by the end of June.
The five priorities set out in my plan are Strong local policing; Fighting serious organised crime; Improving the response to cyber crime and fraud; Improving the criminal justice system and reducing reoffending; and dealing with illegal encampments.
Police and Crime Commissioner supports ‘Protect Your Pooch’ campaign
Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, Matthew Barber, is supporting Neighbourhood Watch’s ‘Protect Your Pooch’ campaign.
The ‘Protect Your Pooch’ campaign is encouraging dog owners to keep their pets secure, in sight, searchable and calls for stiffer sentences for stealing dogs.
According to a survey conducted in partnership with the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners 27,440 people (22% of the 124, 729 people who responded) have had a dog stolen or knew someone who had over the last year.
79% of people to whom the question was applicable said they had grown more fearful of taking their dog for a walk during the day and an even greater number, 83%, have grown more fearful of taking their dog for a walk at night.
Matthew Barber, Police & Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, said: “As a pet owner myself I know the concern that recent thefts in our communities have raised first hand which is why I support this campaign.
“The Protect Your Pooch campaign gives simple but effective advice on how to keep your dog safe – I’ll definitely be following this advice with my dog Oscar.”
To help keep your dog safe, Neighbourhood Watch have pulled together some top tips on how to keep your dog secure, in sight and searchable and reduce your chances of becoming a victim of dog theft. Read more on my website...
The rules on e-scooters
E-scooters, or electric scooters, are growing in popularity but there is a lot of confusion around where they can be used.
There are also a number of government trials underway to pilot the use of rental e-scooters in a number of UK towns and cities.
With more and more e-scooters for sale, being purchased and available to rent, Thames Valley Police have set out the information that you need to know about electric scooters, click here for more information.
Thames Valley Police officers recently issued over 30 electric scooter riders with warnings during an operation in Slough.
On Friday 21st May officers from the Roads Policing, Road Safety and Slough neighbourhood teams joined together to raise awareness on the rules surrounding e-scooters amongst those living and working in Slough.
Officers and PCSOs patrolled Slough on foot and in vehicles and stopped a number of people using e-scooters across the town. 32 riders were stopped and issued with warning letters during the afternoon. The majority of these were riders using private e-scooters but a number of individuals using the rental electric scooters were also issued with warnings.
Earlier in the day, Slough Borough Council and Neuron, the rental e-scooter provider for Slough, ran a Scoot Safe event in the Thames Valley University car park to demonstrate how to safely ride one of the e-scooters that are available to rent in the town.
Earlier this year a man was sentenced for illegally riding an E-Scooter in Marlow. Nico Webb, aged 20, of Seymour Park Road, Marlow, pleaded guilty to one count each of obstructing/resisting a constable in execution of duty, using a motor vehicle on a road/public place without third party insurance and using threatening/abusive words/behaviour or disorderly behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress, at High Wycombe Magistrates’ Court on 12 May.
His driving licence was endorsed with 6 points and he was fined.
All Thames Valley secondary schools to receive new drugs awareness teaching
All secondary schools across the Thames Valley are being provided new resources to help educate young people on the dangers of drugs.
Thames Valley Violence Reduction Unit commissioned the PSHE Association to develop new quality assured materials and lesson plans, ensuring teaching approaches and content are up-to-date, helping to educate young people to keep them safe.
The content is aimed at Year 9 students and is designed to be delivered over three separate lessons. The first and last lesson is delivered by the teacher. For the second lesson, a specially-trained Thames Valley Police Schools Officer will attend and lead the class.
The content is designed to raise young people’s awareness of the drugs and substances they may be offered or tempted to experiment with. The lessons focus on the potential physical and mental harm of substance misuse as well as the wider damage to friendships and family relationships. They explore the legal consequences and help lead young people to consider the impact a drug conviction can have on their future lives.
The materials also allow for discussion on the growing threat posed by county drug lines gangs and the ways by which often vulnerable people are targeted and groomed, drawing them into the criminality and the risk of serious violence and exploitation.
A further package focused on violence and knife crime is being finalised and will be offered to schools later in the year for delivery to Years 7, 8 and 9.
All 16 of Thames Valley Police’s Schools Officers will be trained this summer in the safe delivery of the lesson content, receiving a PSHE Association and National Police Chief’s Council certification.
The lessons will then be taught in schools in the new academic year from September and are free to download via the PHSE Association website here: pshe-association.org.uk/tvpdrugs
Crackdown on county lines gangs
A week of action by Thames Valley Police has led to 81 arrests, £42,047 pounds cash being seized in connection with County Lines drug dealing.
Thames Valley Police worked closely with partners, from local authorities, homeless charities and schools for a week-long intensification of activities to tackle County Lines drug dealing.
County Lines drug dealing is the name given to drug dealing where organised criminal groups (OCGs) use phone lines to move and supply drugs, usually from cities into smaller towns and rural areas.
This type of drug dealing exploits children and vulnerable adults who may have mental health or addiction problems. Generally, these people are exploited by OCGs to supply and run drugs, and are often forced into this activity through intimidation and violence. It’s a very harmful criminal business model which effects many in the Thames Valley.
Nationally organised crime is estimated to cost the UK economy over 37 billion pounds a year and has a significant impact on communities in the Thames Valley.
The week-long activity saw officers from the Thames Valley carrying out warrants, making arrests and other activity to disrupt County Lines drug dealers.
This led to 81 arrests of people who are connected to County Lines drugs, 17 warrants were executed, 129 searches were carried out, and officers took over 626 wraps of cocaine, heroin and cannabis off the streets of the Thames Valley.
Additionally officers seized over £42,000 pounds worth of cash and also seized 85 phones linked to County Line drug dealing.
TVP also identified 29 vulnerable people and engaged with 95 people who were vulnerable, and our officers also carried out 103 school visits to give young people and teachers the information they need to spot the signs that someone is being groomed by an OCG.
The police also intervened in 136 addresses where known “Cuckooing” has taken place. Cuckooing is where OCGs target the address of a vulnerable adult, taking over the property that the adult is living in and forcing them to sell drugs out of their home.
Eight charged in connection with drug supply
Following the execution of multiple warrants targeting the supply of drugs in the Thames Valley last week, eight people have been charged with conspiracy to supply class A drugs.
Those charged are as follows:
Richard Gray, aged 32 of Furrow Crescent, Witney.
Patrick Gray, aged 43, of Radford Close, Oxford.
William White, aged 35, of no fixed abode.
Lewis Court, aged 35, of Scott Close, Kidlington.
Mohammed Ali, aged 49, of Chervill, Beanhill, Milton Keynes.
Sophie Plowman, aged 26, of Songthrush Road, Banbury.
Jamie Shepherd-Smith, aged 32, of Bramling Cross, Longworth, Abingdon.
Mohanned Albein, aged 35, of St Quentin Close, Swindon.
They appeared before Oxford Magistrates’ Court charged in connection with a series of warrants executed across Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Wiltshire, during which around 3kg of class A drugs, approximately £60,000 in cash and a stun gun were seized.
Approximately £190,000 was also seized during a previous stage of the operation.
Three others, a 70-year-old woman from Oxford, a 41-year-old woman from Oxford and a 31-year-old woman from Witney who were arrested on suspicion of money laundering have been released on conditional police bail.
A 28-year-old man and a 20-year-old man, both from Oxford, arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply class A drugs have also been released on conditional police bail.