Police & Crime Bulletin for September 2018

Over £350,000 funding to reduce reoffending and protect young people from gangs

This week I have announced over £350,000 funding for seven organisations delivering projects to support key strategic aims within the Police and Crime Plan.

The successful projects are spread across the Thames Valley and are between 1 and 2 years in length.  Four of the projects focus on reducing re-offending, one on elder abuse and two on young people and exploitation or gangs.

Examples of funded projects include:

  • an intervention to reduce violent re-offending of people under the influence of alcohol,
  • safeguarding training for small community groups to support older people who may be vulnerable to abuse and exploitation,
  • youth work aimed at vulnerable young people who may be at risk of exploitation from gangs, or on the edge of County Lines drug trafficking to get them involved in local activities or groups in the local community, and
  • the development of an intervention programme to reduce re-offending of stranger rape.

The projects funded address a range of issues which negatively impact our communities from young to old.  They are areas which cannot be addressed by one organisation alone which is why this funding is so important in being able to explore different approaches to tackling what can be large and complex problems.


The future of probation

The Ministry of Justice is consulting on the future of probation. There has been widespread criticism of the Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) contracts and the Government has decided to end those contracts early.

They are now looking for a solution to replace the current arrangements. These are likely to involve Police & Crime Commissioners across England. I have attended an engagement event with the Ministry of Justice to find out more. Like many PCCs I am concerned that the proposals will create a system that is still too centralised and will not provide the full benefits of a locally commissioned service.

Click here to view my video on probation

The plans would create 10 regions across the country and whilst PCCs would be involved there would be no additional powers in order to hold other criminal justice partners to account.

I look forward to the opportunity to continue engaging with the MoJ and whatever the outcome we will continue to work on the important issue of reducing reoffending in the Thames Valley.



30 Days - 30 Ways

From the widespread floods of 2014 and the M40 Valentine’s Day multi-vehicle crash in 2015 to responding to the recent acts of terror in London and Manchester, Thames Valley public sector organisations are well prepared for and experienced in responding to major incidents and emergencies. But not all emergencies make the headlines. Every day, we are affected by a variety of disruptions such as power cuts, flu and bad weather.

During September 2018, in support of a national campaign, the Thames Valley Local Resilience Forum – a multi-agency public services partnership who plan, prepare for and respond to emergencies – are coming together to provide daily information on key risks to be aware of in our area, and advice and guidance on preparing yourself, your home and your business whatever the emergency for 30 days.

The initiative will run across Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #30Days30WaysUK and will

involve public sector organisations from across the Thames Valley, including: Thames Valley Police, Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Services, South Central Ambulance Service, NHS England and district, city and county councils.


About the Thames Valley Local Resilience Forum

The Thames Valley LRF was established by the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, which placed a duty on public sector organisations, such as emergency services (police fire and ambulance), local authorities, the NHS and health agencies and environment-related government agencies, such as the Environment Agency, to warn, inform and advise the public in the event of an emergency. The borders of the LRF match those of Thames Valley Police and cover an area of the 2,200 square miles of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Milton Keynes.



How's your eyesight?

Roadside eyesight tests are being carried out as part of a wider campaign to encourage the public to take driver vision seriously. An estimated 1.5m UK licence holders have never had an eye test and crashes involving a driver with defective eyesight are thought to cause 2,900 casualties every year on the UK’s roads.

Rob Heard, Road Safety Sergeant for Thames Valley Police said:

“All of us require good vision to drive safely on our roads - not being able to see a hazard or react to a situation quickly enough can have catastrophic consequences. The legal limit is being able to read a number plate at 20m, around 5 car

lengths, however this is a minimum requirement and a regular eyesight test with an optician is a must if we are going to be safe on the road.”

“Since 2013, the Police have a new procedure – Cassie’s Law - to fast track notification to the DVLA should they find someone who cannot read a number plate at 20m in daylight conditions. Offending motorists will within an hour have their licence revoked and face prosecution. During September, we will be carrying out 20m number plate checks at every opportunity and those who fail will have their licences revoked. I hope we do not find anyone and everyone makes sure they are safe to read the road ahead.”



Could you be a Police Cadet leader?

We are looking for volunteers to assist in running Cadet weekly sessions and supporting Cadets at events and community activities across the Thames Valley. These are great opportunities to become more active in your community and help make a difference in the lives of young people locally. Good interpersonal skills are required and a desire to help mentor and support young people. Volunteers need to be over 18 years old.

The Cadet Scheme engages young people in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire and inspires them to participate positively in their communities. Cadets come from diverse communities and will include those vulnerable to crime or social exclusion.

Skills/Training Required:

  • Able to commit at least a minimum of one evening a week with additional hours when required
  • Willing to take training as required
  • Knowledge of Police Services
  • Communication Skills
  • Experience of dealing with conduct issues
  • Ability to relate with young people

You can find out more about this and other volunteering opportunities by visiting https://www.thamesvalley.police.uk/join-us/volunteers/


National Audit Office criticised police funding formula

The National Audit Office (NAO) have published a report on the financial stability of police forces. Whilst I wouldn't agree with all of their conclusions, they do support the call - made over many years by Thames Valley PCC - for a change to the police funding formula. This isn't just about the total amount of money going into UK policing, but how that money is divided amongst forces.

The Home Office have accepted that this formula is out of date and work has already been undertaken to review it. However currently the Home Office are awaiting the

outcome of the comprehensive spending review before implementing any changes.

When the NAO report was published I spoke to BBC Radio Berkshire about how the funding formula should be improved to benefit Thames Valley.

Click here to listen to the interview