2011 NEWS

By Mark Hughes, Crime Correspondent 12:15PM GMT 22 Nov 2011
Met Police chief: officers will still arrest swearing suspects despite court ruling
The Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe says that he is “deeply disappointed” by a court ruling which says that swearing at the police is not a crime and suggested his force would arrest people who direct foul language at officers.

Mr Hogan-Howe, Britain’s most senior police officer, suggested that officers could find ways around the last week's ruling, made by a Court of Appeal judge.

He said there are "still opportunities" to arrests suspects who swear at officers.

Mr Justice Bean overturned the public order conviction of a suspect who repeatedly used the “F” word while being searched for drugs.

Quashing Denzel Cassius Harvey's conviction, Mr Justice Bean said officers were so regularly on the receiving end of the "rather commonplace" expletive that it was unlikely to cause them "harassment, alarm or distress".

But Mr Hogan-Howe said he “doesn’t understand” the decision

Asked about it he said: “I do not agree. I can only speak as a police officer with a few years' experience. It is not acceptable to be sworn at for anybody, so why would it be any more acceptable for a police officer? "Even if you accepted that argument, then it doesn't look too good, does it, in terms of respect? A police officer challenges about something and they stand there being abusive.

"I just don't understand how that works. So I am deeply disappointed by that decision, but I respect the fact that apparently it is a statement of the law."

Mr Hogan-Howe was speaking on LBC Radio’s Nick Ferrari show. Asked by the presenter whether he would still direct his officers to arrest people who swore, he said: “I still think there are opportunities for that arrest to happen.”

The Commissioner explained that a suspect who swore could be arrested for other offences.

“Quite often they are threatening in their behaviour,” he said. “They are being aggressive or moving towards you, waving their arms about or making threats as well as using abusive language.”

Mr Harvey appealed against his conviction after he was fined £50 for bombarding police with foul language when they attempted to search him for drugs.

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select to read more Sussex PCSO claims lack of powers is actually an asset
This is Sussex: 29 July 2011
HAVING been labelled "ridiculous" by the county council's own head of community safety, one Sussex PCSO this week claimed a reputation for being weak could be an asset.

In a letter to the Courier, they said: "A huge benefit is that because some people do not see us as people that can actually 'do' anything, they hide less from us. I have seen people openly use drugs near me and this has led to it later being dealt with by police.

The letter was prompted by comments made last month by East Sussex County Council's Bob Tidy, who also sits on the Sussex Police Authority.

Mr Tidy said: "PCSOs are made to look ridiculous sometimes. People chide them and challenge them, knowing their powers are limited."

Former policeman Graham Alexander went even further, saying: "PCSOs are just about diluting and watering down the police service. All this talk about public reassurance is complete and utter hogwash."

But making a stand for their £18,093 salary, our community support officer wrote: "I want to point out my role and how important I feel it is to many people.

"I have done my job for more than two years. The best thing about this role is that we don't get tied up in custody for hours, preparing statements, putting case files forward and having ongoing battles with the Crown Prosecution Service.

"Yes, we are policing on the cheap, but if all PCSOs were replaced with police officers there would be a big gap in society. Yes, maybe more crime might be dealt with by the police officers but that would mean more time off the street, less time doing crime prevention visits and less time getting to know local people.

"The way I see it is police officers deal with crimes and can get offenders and suspects to court while PCSOs can do the community engagement."

The officer went on to point out several examples of their daily duties, such as offering crime prevention advice, putting people in touch with support groups and going into schools.

"Many residents do not know who to approach for this help", they said.

What do you think of PCSOs? Write to us at

Booze is seized from teenagers
Peterlee mail: 31 July 2011
select to read more
DOZENS of bottles and cans were seized by police during a clampdown on underage drinking.

Residents in the south of Hartlepool had complained of drunken youths causing a nuisance so officers hit the streets as part of a three-week campaign.

A total of 25 bottles and 50 cans of alcohol were confiscated and taken back to Hartlepool Police’s Jutland Road office and one arrest was made.

Sergeant Mark Haworth, from the south neighbourhood police team, believes the haul will send a message to young people that boozy behaviour will not be tolerated.

Sgt Haworth said: “Underage or irresponsible drinking causes harm to not only the person consuming the alcohol but to residents who are forced to endure the fall out of any anti-social behaviour or crime.

“My message to young people is think again. Do you really want to be making yourself known to police at such a young age and affecting your future?

“We are determined to do everything we can to improve communities by reducing the number of incidents. We have had some great successes and the confiscation of this alcohol shows this.”

The lager, cider and spirits were seized not only from underage youngsters but also those over 18 who were loitering alongside them.

Among them was a 20-year-old man who was arrested on suspicion of failing to comply with a direction to leave and resisting arrest.

Police had stepped up patrols on an evening at particular anti-social behaviour hotspots where groups are known to congregate, Officers also carried out stop-checks on those suspected of carrying alcohol.

Parents have also been sent letters explaining the children’s involvement with the police and the support available to help youngsters clean up their act.

Police say the operation coincides with work in the Seaton Carew area to reduce incidents of underage drinking and arson in and around the sand dunes.

The Mail also reported how Alcoholwatch was also recently launched in the town to help officers identify where the children may be getting their alcohol from using tamper-proof stickers placed on bottles in licensed premises.

select to read more PCSO 'battered while trying to break up playground brawl' had intervened in ‘organised year vs year rumble’
Daily mail: 11 July 2011
Nine school pupils were arrested after a Police Community Support Officer was battered as he tried to break up a brawl - in the playground.

The male PCSO, who has not been named, was rushed to a hospital in Warwickshire with head injuries after he was attacked by a group of teenagers.

He was repeatedly kicked in the head and body after trying to break up the fight which broke out at 1.15pm on Friday.

It emerged the violence was the result of a pre-arranged 'year vs year rumble'. Pupils said initially ten Year 10 students had arranged to have a fight against 20 Year 9 pupils. The gangs of boys had arranged to meet on the rugby playing fields at lunchtime for the end-of-term scrap. But it quickly got out of control with up to 150 students, some as young as 13, being embroiled in the mayhem.

One 17-year-old student said: ‘The fight had been the talk of the school - everybody knew it was going to happen.

‘Every kid had been chatting about it all day - in class and in the playground.

‘The fight had been planned between Year 10 and Year 9 pupils. It was known as the Year vs Year rumble.

‘There were going to be ten Year 10 kids, and 20 from Year 9 because they're younger.

‘They met on the rugby playing fields around 1.15pm. At first there were maybe 20 to 30 people.

‘It didn't start off very violent at first - just people pushing each other around. Some were even laughing.

‘Then more and more kids from Year 10 and Year 9 joined in and things got really heated.

‘My mate even got a bleeding nose when he was hit by a younger kid.

‘There were around 150 people fighting by the end.

‘It was mad, really scary - I've never seen anything like that.’

Comments on PCSOs
are timely
        Friday, July 08, 2011        Sussex Courier

Comment on Safety chief brands PCSOs 'ridiculous' from page 1

BOB Tidy will split opinion with his scathing remarks about police community support officers, but that does not necessarily mean he was wrong to speak out.

Mr Tidy is an experienced county councillor and rarely puts a foot wrong, so his comments were no slip – they were a carefully phrased and intentionally judged statement making clear his stance on local policing.

He is not, of course, attacking those who diligently patrol our streets in the PCSO uniform.

His target was the system that has seen a "visible police presence" – one of the most overused and unpalatable phrases used in modern Britain, by the way – come at the expense of officers with the powers to perform the basic policing tasks the public expect of those charged with their protection.

If community support officers are to be truly effective then they need practical powers that will mean yobs are not able to literally laugh in their faces.

Yet to give them greater power is to effectively elevate them to the status of police officers, in which case we may as well abandon the PCSO programme altogether and replace them with PCs.

But in that example we would be bereft once again of those whose sole function is to provide reassurance to communities simply by their being on patrol, as officers become swamped with paperwork and desk-based intelligence work.

It was public demand for "bobbies on the beat" that saw PCSOs introduced, and it was a credible effort to serve this need.

But the Government should now accept that at present we have a halfway house which is not quite fulfilling the purpose.

It is time for alternative approaches to be looked at.

select to read more Essex police stations set to go as part of £41m budget cuts
Essex Echo: 25 July 2011
POLICE stations are set to close as part of the cost-cutting measures.

Essex Police could not reveal which stations will go – but they will be announced in the next few months.

Some stations are set to be sold off, but that is on hold until a decision is made on where officers are needed.

Mr Barker-McCardle explained: “If you think about it, we couldn’t make changes to our estate and then find it doesn’t support the operational changes we wanted to put in place.”

He said some of their 46 front counters would have to go, to prevent them having to take police officers off the street to man the counters.

However, they are hoping to take more mobile police stations out on to the streets to meet people.

They will also hold surgeries at libraries, schools, and council offices.

select to read more Police join kids for summer kickabouts
Oxford Mail: 23 July 2011
Children on an Oxford estate will be able to enjoy a kick-about with their local bobby this summer, as police trial a new community project.

The Barton Neighbourhood police team have decided to run football games during the school holidays as a way of tackling antisocial behaviour.

They have teamed up with Bayards Hill Primary School, which will open up its playing fields.

Pcso Nigel Pearce and Pc Chloe Sutton, who will be running the project, said they struck upon the idea after receiving a number of complaints about street football on the estate.

Pcso Pearce said: “The initial idea came from Chloe after numerous call-outs.

“After consultation with the public and the headmaster of Bayards Hill school, the neighbourhood team decided to try a regulated opening of the fields.

“The idea is to give the kids somewhere safe to play and get to know the police team better.”

Pc Sutton said a lot of the children were already on first name terms with their officers.

She said: “The headteacher of the school has now very kindly offered us the use of the playing fields, so the youngsters can play games such as football away from the streets, particularly around Waynflete Road.”

The school fields will be open between 6pm and 8pm from Wednesday, July 27 to Friday, August 5, and between 3pm and 5pm between Saturday, August 6 and Tuesday, August 9, then at various times for the rest of the holidays.

Police in Barton have carried out a number of successful community projects recently and have noticed a drop in crime on the estate.

In the past year, there have been 367 crimes reported in the neighbourhood, compared with 475 the previous year and 514 the year before.

select to read more Essex Police announce 'biggest cuts in peace time Britain'
The Enquirer: 22 July 2011
BOSSES at Essex Police have warned of the biggest policing shake-up in peace time Britain as they look to slash £41m from the budget over the next four years.

Cuts will see 388 fewer police officers and 600 support staff leave over the next four years as the Force reduces staffing numbers to 2005 levels.

As exclusively revealed in last week’s Enquirer, redefined policing boundaries will see Thurrock fall under a new ‘West Essex’ boundary including Brentwood, Epping Forest and Harlow.

Basildon, Castle Point, Rochford and Southend will form a ‘South Essex’ Local Policing Area (LPA) while Braintree, Chelmsford and Maldon are married with Colchester for the first time to create ‘North Essex’.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Chief Constable Jim Barker-McCardle said: “The changes we are facing and are set to implement, I think, amount to the most significant changes within policing in Essex in peace time. It is a colossal challenge, but this is a challenge we are determined to rise to.

“There is always speculation that if police numbers go down, does crime automatically go up? I don’t think it is as simple as that.”

That claim seems to go against a recent Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary report warning a 10 per cent reduction in policing numbers could trigger a three per cent rise in crime across the county.

Other changes announced at the press briefing include the increased use of new technologies – with iPad-style tablet computers set to be rolled out for officers on the beat across the county from the beginning of next year.

select to read more Crackdown on street drinkers
This is Plymouth: 27 July 2011
BOOZING on the streets of Devonport is being stamped out as the community takes a stand against anti-social alcoholic behaviour.

Police, residents, schools and businesses are all calling for an end to people drinking in children's play parks and shopping centres.

And they say they are fed up of being intimidated by groups of drunk people who shout and swear, litter the streets with rubbish and urinate in public.

"A lot of residents are really afraid to go out if the drinkers are there," said Janet Blank, who lives in Helen Fox House, sheltered housing on Marlborough Street. Police say the drinkers congregate along the shopping thoroughfare and also in the nearby Granby Green play park.

"People feel threatened by them, especially if they are a bit rowdy," she said.

"I think this just lowers the area. If people are coming here for the first time it doesn't look very nice at all."

Police are now looking to submit an application for a dispersal order to Plymouth City Council to allow them to ask drunk people to leave the area and not return within 24 hours. And the long-term goal will be to bring in a Designated Public Place Order (DPPO), which gives officers power to control the consumption of alcohol within a certain area.

"There has been a presence of street drinkers and we have always dealt with them but it has increased," said Neighbourhood Inspector Sally Hutchings.

"I am responsible for this area, it is my patch and I am not going to tolerate this. We will help to rehabilitate people and give them every assistance they want but we are not continuing to have this problem."

She said drinkers, some of whom are staying at the nearby Salvation Army Lifehouse, are being spoken to by officers.

"We are asking them to consider the effect of their behaviour on the community," she said.

"The majority of the street drinkers are part of the community and we are hopeful that they get rehabilitated and stay in the community."

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