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What the Coronavirus Tiers mean for Thames Valley
From Wednesday 2nd December the national coronavirus lockdown will end and we will enter a new period of tiered restrictions. The majority of the Thames Valley will be in Tier 2, with the exception of Slough which will be in Tier 3. These restrictions will be reviewed again on 16th December, ahead of the Christmas regime coming into Force on 23rd December.
Thames Valley Police will continue to maintain normal policing services and response will continuing with the same common sense approach to enforcement of these new rules. The Force will adopt the Four Es approach:
- Engage with the public to understand the circumstances
- Explain the regulations and why they are in place to protect public health
- Encourage people to follow the rules voluntarily in order to protect themselves and others
- Enforce only as a last resort, either by fixed penalty notice, or if necessary by arrest
These rules are controversial for many and none of us want to have restrictions imposed for any longer than necessary. The Police have a duty to enforce the regulations, but it is important that they use their reasonable judgement in doing so fairly. Officers from Thames Valley Police will continue to deal with suspected breaches of the regulations whilst using enforcement powers only when necessary to protect public health or to deal with repeated and blatant breaches.
It is hugely important that the police continue to strike the right balance in dealing with coronavirus in order to maintain public confidence whilst also dealing with other pressing issues of crime and public safety.
Thames Valley bolstered by 260 additional police officers
- New statistics show that nearly 6,000 extra officers have been recruited in the first year of the Government’s major police recruitment drive, with 260 more in Thames Valley alone.
- This confirms that the Government is on track to deliver 20,000 extra officers by 2023, and is ahead of schedule to have the first 6,000 in place by March 2021.
- These new officers will be crucial to driving down crime and to make our streets safer.
Matthew Barber has welcomed the announcement that Thames Valley has been bolstered by an additional 260 officers since the Government launched its major police recruitment drive one year ago.
The addition of these new officers brings the total number of police across Thames Valley up to 4,510, 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 5,824 extra officers have joined police forces across England and Wales.
These statistics confirm that the Government remains fully on track to meet its manifesto commitment of recruiting 20,000 extra officers by 2023, and is ahead of schedule to have the first 6,000 in place by March 2021.
The new statistics also show that the police workforce is now more diverse than ever before, with 10.7 per cent of new recruits identifying as Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic, and with 9,842 of all officers now being from these groups.
This recruitment drive is at the centre of the Government’s commitment to back the police with more resources, powers and support to keep the public and their communities safe.
Alongside the recruitment campaign, the Government is also boosting police pay by 2.5 per cent this year, equivalent to a constable receiving an extra £1,100, providing officers with an increase above inflation for the second year running, the largest pay rise in a decade.
The Government is also enshrining a new police covenant into law, which will offer enhanced support and protection for frontline officers, and is bringing forward legislation to double the maximum sentence for those convicted of assaults on frontline staff including police officers, firefighters and paramedics.
Other steps to support our frontline officers include a £1.1 billion funding boost for police forces this year – the biggest increase in a decade, funding to provide over 8,000 more officers with Taser devices, and personalised new stop and search powers so that officers can effectively target repeat offenders.
Commenting, Matthew Barber said:
“Getting more police officers onto our streets is one of the people’s priorities, and so I am delighted that in just over one year, this Conservative Government has already delivered an extra 260 officers across Thames Valley.
“Every one of these officers will make an enormous difference in helping to cut crime and keep people safe – and I know that many more will follow as this Government continues to deliver on its promise to recruit 20,000 more over the next three years.
“By backing our police with the funding, powers and resources they need, we are keeping the public and our communities safe, so that people everywhere can live their lives free from the fear of crime.”
Operation Riddler: Drugs, cash and vehicles seized
Officers from Thames Valley Police have carried out a series of warrants in order to combat and disrupt organised crime.
The warrants have taken place at addresses in High Wycombe, Bourne End, Marlow, Flackwell Heath, Farnham Common, Wooburn Green and Slough.
The warrants, which are part of Operation Riddler, have been the resolution of a year-long investigation into organised crime, focussing on the sale of illicit drugs and money laundering.
Officers attended 19 addresses, making a total of 20 arrests, seizing significant amounts of cash and drugs, as well as vehicles, clothes and other items believed to have been purchased with money earned through criminal means.
This has been a significant operation which has come as a result of more than a year’s worth of investigation and intelligence gathering by a large number of officers. As a result of their work, Thames Valley Police were able to identify a number of people and addresses we believe are connected to selling drugs
This shows that whilst the police cannot always tell the public about ongoing investigations going on behind the scenes, the many reports from the public about some of this activity have been taken very seriously and action has been taken.
If you have any concerns, or wish to make a report about anything which you think could be linked to the sale of drugs, I would urge you to call Thames Valley Police using the online form at www.thamesvalley.police.uk or by calling on 101. Alternatively, you can always make a report to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Improving support for victims of domestic abuse
The Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley has published a report on its project to help make Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) services more inclusive to all communities across the Thames Valley.
Funded by the Home Office and delivered in partnership with service providers in the Thames Valley, the project was driven by the belief that early intervention and awareness-raising can help increase the number of individuals from minority communities identified as being affected by VAWG and to help address the barriers preventing access to support. It included a range of activity including data collection and population mapping, peer review activities and engagement directly with women from minority communities, including peer support groups and working with clients on a one-to-one basis.
Specific outcomes of engagement work included:
- increased awareness of abuse so that women were able to identify abusive behaviours and recognise the signs of abuse.
- improvements in service delivery where more women from ethnically diverse backgrounds were accessing services. An increase in ethnically diverse men accessing services was also noted.
- increased empowerment by providing information and breaking down language barriers through enhanced cultural sensitivity and appropriate use of interpreters helping raising awareness of abuse and prompting disclosures.
With over 134,000 non-native-English speakers speaking more than 20 languages in the Thames Valley we know from the uptake of services that many women from minority communities who have experienced violence such as domestic abuse will not be receiving support. There are many reasons for this and this project has been successful in giving us an understanding of the needs of these communities, as well as helping to drive improvements in service delivery.
The work undertaken has identified challenges and successes to inform best practice and has begun to initiate change, however this is just the beginning. The Partnership Board, set up in delivering the project, will now continue with an action plan to address recommendations from the evaluation.
Support workers engaged with 33 community groups and 68 clients on a one to one basis from 37 different ethnic identities. Community based activities included cooking or craft sessions, religious and cultural events, trainings, as well as intensive and holistic support alongside practical advocacy.
The full Project Report and Executive Summary can be found on the PCC website at www.thamesvalley-pcc.gov.uk/victims-first/research-and-reports/
Remembering the victims of road deaths
A virtual remembrance service has been broadcast online to commemorate the lives of those lost on the roads in Thames Valley.
Held by the Thames Valley Police Joint Operations Roads Policing Unit, the service has been pre-recorded to support the family and friends of those who have lost their lives on our roads as a result of road traffic collisions. It is available to watch online by clicking here - this coincides with the United Nations World Day of Remembrance for road traffic victims, which is recognised across the world.
The Thames Valley Police service, recorded at St Mary the Virgin Church in Thame, was led by Force Chaplain Reverend Helen Arnold and Assistant Force Chaplain Graham Choldcroft. Chief Constable John Campbell attended the service alongside police officers and representatives from the ambulance service and the NHS.
In the service is an act of commemoration to remember the names of those who have lost their lives in road traffic collisions. Sadly, in 2019, 56 people lost their lives on the roads in Thames Valley.
During the ongoing pandemic it hasn’t been possible to hold our services as we usually would however it is important that we remember those who have lost their lives, provide support to their family and friends, and recognise the professionalism and courage of the emergency services.
Any families who wish to receive an invite to attend future Road Death Memorial Services may contact RDMS@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk.
Reducing reoffending across Thames Valley
In the first of its kind in the Thames Valley, a one-day virtual conference is being held to discuss how organisations can collaboratively support people who are leaving prison and reduce reoffending.
Organised by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, Aspire Oxfordshire and Thames Valley Partnership, the aim of the virtual conference is to raise awareness, inspire and encourage greater collaboration between local stakeholders across the Thames Valley.
Speakers including Darren Burns, National Recruitment Ambassador for Timpson, Matthias Stausberg, Group Advocacy Director for Virgin, and Jude McCaffrey, Head of Housing for Soha Housing Association, will reflect on how a collaborative approach including employment, housing and support opportunities will enable an ambitious future for ex-offenders.
Matthew Barber, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, said: “Collaboration is key when it comes to reducing reoffending, and we wanted to organise something which will have a positive impact on people leaving prison and for the community. We hope to secure ambitious pledges from delegates attending this virtual conference promoting collaboration, inclusivity, innovation and enterprise.
“This virtual conference has been funded by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley. We are being ambitious with this conference for the futures of ex-offenders – we believe they can give back to society, with the right support and opportunities.”
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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.
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