copyright PCSO 61295 Mark Fitzgerald Residents from Lower Irlam, Salford-Manchester have joined police in setting a Home Watch scheme in their area.

It comes following concerns over an increase of vehicle crime in the area.

The scheme will give residents the opportunity to discuss concerns about crime and antisocial behaviour in their area to police and PCSOs in their area. They will be kept informed of any issues affecting their community through regular meetings, email updated and telephone conversations and will act as the eyes and ears of their street. Members will also be provided with home security advice and will be able to identify problems and solutions by working alongside police, authorities and housing associations.

PCSO Mark Fitzgerald from the Salford South Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “Home Watch is a vital link in helping us reassure communities and fight crime. By having the scheme in the community we are able to build greater links and break down barriers.”

The residents that joined the scheme were also presented with Smartwater kits to securely mark their property. Smartwater is a property marking spray that uses chemically enhanced water which contains a unique forensic fingerprint that glows under ultraviolet light.

Signs have also been put up to show any perpetrators that the area is part of the Home Watch scheme.

PCSO Fitzgerald said: “This is just one of a number of schemes that I have helped to set up in the area. In an ideal world I would like to see one on every street as they help bring the community together and give people a sense of ownership over their area.

“Home Watch is one of the most active ways residents can tackle the issues that affect the community most and improve the quality of life for everyone.

“Members of the public who join the scheme will not only see an improvement in their own home security, because we provide advice and devices to help them stay safe, but they will also see relations with their neighbours improve as they stand together stop people who commit crimes or behave in an antisocial manner.

“If you wish to be a Home Watch Coordinator please contact your local neighbourhood policing team who will be more than pleased to welcome you into the process."

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Police forces will struggle to make further cuts, says watchdog
Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary says five forces will have difficulty meeting Theresa May's demands for further savings
Alan Travis, home affairs editor, Thursday 18 July 2013
The latest figures show that 14,186 police officer jobs have been lost since the last general election. The HMIC report says that while forces have plans to reduce frontline officer numbers by 6,600 by March 2015, the proportion in frontline roles of those left is expected to rise from 89% to 93%.

But the watchdog also expresses concerns that neighbourhood policing teams have been asked to take on more response and investigative roles at the expense of crime prevention work.

The inspectors are also concerned that some forces have missed the opportunity to lay the foundation for long-term savings, such as by collaborating with the private sector or other forces, and this may damage their effectiveness in the face of further cuts. The report says that only 18 of the 43 forces expect to deliver more than 10% of their savings this way.

Technology that is available to officers and could deliver savings also remains poor with the police frustrated by out-of-date systems and equipment.

HM inspector Zoe Billingham said HMIC had found considerable variation in the approaches taken by forces: "In some cases, this leaves us with concerns about how some forces will manage in the face of further cuts. We also have some concerns that neighbourhood policing risks being eroded as forces change how they deliver local policing. Finally, there are missed opportunities. The overall progress on collaboration, which is driving major efficiencies in some forces, is deeply disappointing," she said.

Tom Winsor, the chief inspector of constabulary, said it would be necessary for the police to "work smarter": "That will include greater measures of collaboration between forces and with the private sector and other parts of the public sector. It will also mean using modern technology to make the very best use of police time, keeping officers on the streets, making people safe, and not spending time in the police station using outdated technology in inefficient working practices."

More than £400,000 was given out in redundancy payments to two top executives as part of a shake-up of the police authority by Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy.
select for full details Marc Waddington 18 July 2013
The pair, who were awarded £282,000 in “compensation for loss of office”, received in total more than £400,000 between them in “exit packages” shortly after Mrs Kennedy’s election in November last year.
While the former Wavertree MP said streamlining her office staff would mean cost savings in the future, critics questioned the pay-outs, which saw more than £700,000 paid out to the 12 officers who left between November 2012 and March this year.

Around half of the Police Authority staff were made redundant as part of cost-cutting measures, when the body was replaced with the Office of the Police Commissioner.

But Cllr Simon Shaw, who represents the Birkdale Ward and is a member of the Panel, questioned the amounts paid out. He said: “I am absolutely appalled that the Police Commissioner has spent nearly £700,000 in just four months on pay-offs to staff in her office.

“It's not quite at BBC levels, but I do feel it is a shocking use of public funds on the part of Jane Kennedy.

“You can get a lot of police officers or police community support officers (PCSOs) on the street for £700,000.”

In recent months, tensions appear to have been building between the new administration and members of the 12-strong Police and Crime Panel, which comprises of councillors from the region’s local authorities.

Earlier this year, the panel, led by former long-standing chair of the Police Authority Cllr Bill Weightman, questioned the “reduction in senior management resources”.

Mrs Kennedy, who dismissed the Panel’s earlier criticisms as “misplaced”, defended the decision to bring to an end a situation which saw 17 member of the authority sit on a total of 29 committees and sub-committees. She said those changes meant the office personnel had to be reshaped to adapt to the new system, and that any payouts were what the officers were contractually entitled to.

Mrs Kennedy added: “I have saved £700,000 this year, and the costs of redundancies come out of the funds that the police use to restructure the force, so they’re different streams of money.

“People are employed under certain contracts and when the work they are doing stops or changes dramatically, as it did with the introduction of Police Commissioners, they are entitled to be made redundant. This will save £800,000 a year in future years, and the streamlined way we are operating means we are able to make the most efficient use of senior police officer’s time so they can do their duties.”

select for full details Wyre Forest police station shake-up details revealed
Kidderminster Shuttle 3:42pm Wednesday 17th July 2013
BEWDLEY and Stourport police stations will be downgraded after a shake-up, aimed at saving £1.5 million a year, was announced by West Mercia Police.

The plans would see Bewdley’s Kidderminster Road site become a community policing post, which will not be permanently manned but will be a base for officers and volunteers working in the town. A police building in the Walshes will take on the same role.

In line with announcements made in February, Stourport’s Bewdley Road site will also close as a traditional police station and become a home for community officers patrolling the town. Discussions to relocate the facility to Stourport Civic Centre are still ongoing.

A small police base in Queen Elizabeth Road, Comberton, Kidderminster will close, with officers who used it being deployed from Kidderminster Police Station, Habberley Road.

The force’s Police and Crime Commissioner Bill Longmore and Chief Constable David Shaw announced the plans today and want to reduce the number buildings owned by West Mercia Police.

They say the changes will allow for more police officers and police community support officers to keep their jobs. Wyre Forest MP Mark Garnier said it would see more police on the streets

select for full details Neighbourhood policing risks being 'eroded', HMIC warns
18 July 2013 BBC NEWS
Budget cuts are damaging neighbourhood policing and could jeopardise crime prevention efforts, the police watchdog for England and Wales has warned.
HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) said neighbourhood officers were being put on other duties, resulting in a less visible street presence.

But forces were praised for generally coping well with cuts and maintaining standards of service to the public.

HMIC acknowledged that crime was falling, as new figures were released.

The data showed that crimes recorded by police in England and Wales fell by 7% in the year to March 2013.

The Office for National Statistics figures showed there were reductions in nearly all the main categories of crime including violence, but sexual offences rose 1%.

The HMIC report largely praised police forces for absorbing significant cuts, which are expected to total 20% cut by 2015 as the government reduces spending.

But HM Inspector of Constabulary, Zoe Billingham, warned: "We also have some concerns that neighbourhood policing risks being eroded as forces change how they deliver local policing."

Ms Billingham said neighbourhood policing was the "cornerstone of the British policing model" not a "nice to have".

Broadening the remit of neighbourhood policing would have a "potentially detrimental effect" on crime prevention work and "impair" the level of service the public received, the report added.

Some neighbourhood teams were staffed by just community support officers, not fully-warranted police.

HMIC said most forces planned to balance their books by the end of the spending review period, while working to make 31,600 staff reductions by March 2015.

It said forces planned to have 6,600 fewer officers working on front-line duties but the number of front-line officers as a proportion of staffing was forecast to increase.

select for full details David Cameron hails 'magnificent' fall in crime despite police cuts
Britain is getting safer despite cuts to the police budgets, David Cameron said today, as crime fell to its lowest level in more than three decades.
By Rowena Mason and agencies 10:36AM BST 18 Jul 2013
The Prime Minister praised the "magnificent" work of the police, after new statistics showed crime is at its lowest level since 1981.

The number of reported rapes has risen by 2 per cent in the past year, with the increase thought to be linked to the knock-on effect of the Jimmy Savile investigation.

Fraud has also soared by 27 per cent. However, overall crime is down by nine per cent on last year - the lowest level since the Crime Survey for England and Wales began.

The data was released as the body representing rank and file officers warned forces would be unable to cope with a repeat of the 2011 riots as a result of Government austerity measures.

The number of police officers in England and Wales has fallen for the fourth consecutive year - by more than three per cent or 4,516 - taking the total to its lowest level since 2002

But Mr Cameron said the figures showed police are doing "more with less", after coping with tough budget cuts.

"This is good news because we see a reduction both in recorded crime and in the British Crime Survey, which shows that crime now is at its lowest level since 1981," he said.

"I think we should congratulate the police. As a Government we have asked them to do more with less resources. They have performed, I think, magnificently and I think all the work that has gone into crime prevention has helped as well.

"This is good news, that Britain is getting safer as well as stronger."

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, also hailed the police's "impressive ability to rise to the challenge of making savings while still cutting crime".

"This government has played its part by slashing red tape and scrapping targets to enable the police to focus on crime fighting," she said.

"We have encouraged chief constables to make savings in back offices to give renewed focus on the frontline and we are seeing the benefits of those efficiencies."

Met police failing to deal effectively with racism complaints, watchdog finds
Scotland Yard admits it is letting down the public after IPCC investigation into handling of complaints against officers
Vikram Dodd, Wednesday 17 July 2013
A report by the police watchdog has found Scotland Yard is failing in the way it handles complaints of racism and discrimination against officers, a decade after the force vowed to stamp out prejudice in the ranks.

The report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) led the Met to admit it was letting down the public in the way it handled racism complaints.

The report followed allegations of police racism, some of which were revealed by the Guardian.

Some 3% of complaints against the Metropolitan police, Britain's largest force, involve claims of racism. The IPCC said it was "crucial to public confidence" that racism complaints were handled fairly.

The IPCC commissioner Jennifer Izekor said: "This report shows that, though there are some examples of good practice, in general there is an unwillingness or inability to deal with these complaints robustly and effectively.

"Too often, complaints are dismissed without proper investigation or resolution, complainants are not properly engaged with, and lessons are not learned.

"In relation to race complaints, it can exacerbate a negative experience if the racial element is not properly addressed. It can also mean that officers are not held to account, or do not learn from their actions.

"We know that there is less confidence both in policing and in the complaints system among BME [black and minority ethnic] communities. If the Metropolitan police service is serious about building that confidence, there will need to be a cultural change to complaints handling."

The IPCC report said: "All too often the MPS's [Metropolitan police service's] handling of complaints alleging racism was not sufficiently robust, fair, or customer-focused."

The IPCC called for "a cultural change in the way the MPS deals with such complaints, supported by training, monitoring and community feedback".

The IPCC paid special attention to 20 cases where the Met was left to investigate racism cases itself. It found in the majority, 13 cases, "the investigating officer made no effort to obtain additional evidence that could have supported the allegation of racism".

"Ridiculous" plans to change neighbourhood watch groups into care status
Tuesday, July 16, 2013 By MICHAEL YONG
NEIGHBOURHOOD Watch group members have branded a minister's call for them to care for elderly people as "ridiculous".
Health Minister Norman Lamb said yesterday the watch groups should be responsible for providing care to pensioners in their area.

Mr Lamb wants neighbourhood watch groups to apply for care status and suggested they should help "wash and feed" pensioners and be a companion to them.

He told the Daily Telegraph: "The truth is that many people in this day and age live miserable lives.

"If someone lives on their own and has substantial care needs, and the extent of their life is getting out of bed, getting washed, sitting in a chair and going back to bed, with no one to see during the day, that is a miserable life."

Don Kempster, 80, from Leckhampton, said it is not the job of the Neighbourhood Watch groups to "wash and feed" pensioners.

The chairman of Cheltenham Neighbourhood Watch committee said: "I think it is just ridiculous.

"You have got to be joking. He obviously doesn't understand what the neighbourhood watch is about.

"We assist the police by making household and personal crimes as difficult as possible by looking after our neighbours and reporting back to the police anything unusual.

"We are not social workers who are trained to take care of people.

"Neighbourhood Watch teams are not trained to do that.

"It is not our job. Our job is to take care of older people as well, but to remind them not to leave their valuables lying around and to lock their houses.

"That is one of major roles, but if you told anyone someone from the neighbourhood watch will wash and feed them, I don't think they will accept it. I can't believe he had said that."

Mr Lamb had suggested professional carers could given the neighbourhood watch groups training. The plans are still under consideration, but it is expected that groups will have to apply to their local authority to act as carers.

A MAN who drove his car at a police community support officer in Rye as he tried to issue a parking ticket has been ordered to pay £1,000 in compensation and fines.
29 May 2013 Rye And Battle Observer
PCSO Neil Holden suffered an injured leg during the incident in Rye High Street last June after the driver parked on yellow lines.

James Davie, 27, of Old Lydd Road, Camber, has pleaded not guilty to assaulting a police officer when he appeared at Hastings Magistrates Court, but magistrates found the case against him proved.

PCSO Holden, who is based in Rye, said: “I hope this sentence shows that Sussex Police will not take assaulting one of their officers or members of staff lightly and sends a message to others who do not take legal parking seriously.

Police denies claims it 'ignores 45% of London crimes'
Last updated Tue 16 Jul 2013 ITV NEWS
The Metropolitan Police has defended itself after allegations that they "ignore 45% of crimes in London", Conservatives on the London Assembly claimed today.

Police data for 2012-2013 showed that 76% of motor vehicle thefts, 40% of residential burglaries and 23% of robberies were "screened out".

A spokesman said: "It is incorrect that the Metropolitan Police Service does not investigate a high number of crimes. The Met investigates every single allegation of crime that it receives.

"The Met currently conducts secondary investigations in approximately 60% of all crime allegations, as compared to the national average of 45%".

select for full details Popular Stratton PCSO is vital part of the community
6:40pm Friday 12th July 2013 in News By Elizabeth Mackley
POLICE Community Support Officer Mandi Coles has pounded the Stratton beat for 10 years, and become one of the most popular members of the community.

In October 2003, after joining the force in September, Mandi started working around Stratton visiting members of the community to talk about crime prevention, offering advice, and supporting victims of crime.

“I love it, it’s all good. You get to see all different people and it’s quite nice really because I get to know everyone,” she said.

“I just enjoy my job really. And I feel a part of Stratton.

“It’s not a chore coming to work because I feel a part of Stratton and a part of the community “I do it because I want to do it, not because I’m asked to do it.

“I’m just blessed that I have such a lovely area that I work for and they are all so lovely.

“Quite early on I helped to get some fencing put in for pensioners in Midwinter Gardens, which helped them to regain some privacy and helped them to make sure they felt secure and safe.”

Mandi has been involved with numerous youth groups in the community, including the Air Cadets, Scouts and visiting local schools.

She said: “When I first started in Stratton, anti-social behaviour was quite a problem, but we managed to get involved with the young people and change behaviours.

“I just visit and get to know the young people.

“If you knock down the barriers and get to know them then you can help them.”

For two years, Mandi has organised the Junior Good Citizen Scheme, the multi-agency partnership scheme, which aims to help children avoid putting themselves at risk of accident or injury.

This year the event, which took place last month, attracted an amazing 13,000 primary school children from 36 schools around Swindon to take part in the two-week scheme

‘Two in five burglaries screened out by Met’, claim City Hall Tories
The Metropolitan Police is “refusing to investigate a huge number of acquisitive crimes”, a Conservative London Assembly Member has alleged.
Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Sebastian Mann Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Nearly one in four reported robberies and 40 per cent of burglaries are “screened out” by the Met, according to “disgraceful” figures obtained through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by Roger Evans.

The data also shows that more than 80 per cent of cycle thefts and three-quarters of car thefts are not investigated.

“If you are a thief in London, you can rest assured that over three quarters of your crimes, reported by victims, will be ignored by police,” said Mr Evans, the Greater London Authority Tories’ spokesman for police and crime.

“With the high availability of CCTV in London there is no excuse for this lackadaisical attitude. We need a dramatic shift in the way police see these crimes – they may not be exciting to investigate but they are serious.”

The FOI request asked for Met data on burglaries, robberies, theft, violence against the person, sexual offences, fraud and forgery, criminal damage and drugs for the year 2012/13. Overall it found that 45 per cent of reported offences were not investigated by police.

Mr Evans added: “It’s a disgrace that the Met Police are refusing to investigate a huge number of acquisitive crimes.

“A victim of crime shouldn’t feel that the police have no interest in them unless you are physically or sexually assaulted.

“Resources are tight; but crimes such as burglary are, in no way, minor. They can have a devastating impact on the confidence and wellbeing of the victim.

“Moreover, many criminals’ illegal activities escalate each time they get away with it so we are sending out a very dangerous message.”

People should be allowed the right to appeal to their local safer neighbourhood boards, which launch next year, when police decide not to investigate alleged crimes, Mr Evans said.

Responding to the allegations, a Met spokesperson said: “It is incorrect that the MPS (Metropolitan Police Service) does not investigate a high number of crimes. The MPS investigates every single allegation of crime that it receives.

“A number of crime allegations will require secondary investigation once the initial investigation is complete.

select for full details Amnesia PCSO who 'forgot' theft conviction 20 years ago sues Yard after she is denied promotion
Emer Martin Published: 17 June 2013
The PCSO suing Scotland Yard after she was denied a promotion because she stole £20 of jewellery more than 20 years ago said today she had been “demonised” by the Met.
Rachida Sobhi, from Bromley, launched a legal action against the force after she was diagnosed with a rare form of amnesia which means she cannot remember committing the offence.

She claims she was disabled when she filled in a form for the promotion to constable and failed to declare the conviction – an act which blocked her from ever applying again.

But the Met are “vigorously” contesting her case, arguing that her condition is irrelevant as she would not be allowed to become a constable with a criminal record, despite apparently accepting her condition.

Speaking of her ordeal exclusively to the Standard, she said: “It has been an incredibly difficult time. I have been labelled a thief and a nuisance. I have been demonised by the Met and now in public. In 1991 when I committed the offence, I could barely speak English. I simply have no recollection of the crime.”

She previously worked in Notting Hill, West London, and continues to be employed by the Met as part of a safer neighbourhoods team in Bromley, patrolling local streets with regular police officers and attending community events.

“It just seems ridiculous. I have worked with local communities for nearly six years. I speak four languages

London Conservatives are saying how appalling it is that 45% of all reported crimes are ‘screened out‘ and not investigated fully by the Metropolitan Police.
16 July 2013 | Politics | By: Rachel Holdsworth
Screening means that a crime is initially assessed and then marked for no further investigation. Figures obtained by Assembly Tories show that 70%-86% of various types of theft, 40% of burglaries in homes and 23% of robberies from people are screened out.

Now, the Met has its problems. We can all agree on that. But one thing we can’t imagine is officers sitting around, feet up on a desk, saying “shall we look into this car theft on a residential street with no CCTV and the miscreant wore gloves, or do you want another cup of tea? Pass the custard creams”. Is it not more likely that the police have to make a reasonable assessment of the best use of their time?

At a time when officer numbers are being cut, it’s not surprising to discover the Met doesn’t have time to investigate everything. Officer strength at March 2013 (the most recent numbers we have, PDF) was 30,265 – that’s compared to 33,260 in March 2010 and is 1,692 fewer officers than it originally planned to have in post. Most crime is falling, but clearly not fast enough that we need fewer police to be able to deal with it all.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has also been looking into the police. Data for 2012 obtained under Freedom of Information shows that Met 999 response times have increased by 30 seconds since 2010 for the most serious incidents and nearly six minutes for calls classed as ‘priority’-not-emergency. But, more relevant to today’s discussion, callers to 999 classed as non-emergency (i.e. you probably shouldn’t have called 999 in the first place) waited over 12 hours for a response – over four hours longer than in 2010. Another example of police having to prioritise around cuts?

There’s also an issue around cuts to the number of support staff. Green Mayoral candidate and Assembly Member Jenny Jones told us last year that the Met had cut 900 civilian staff and were 1,500 short of where it expected to be; then in November came an announcement that 3,500 more staff were to go. Quite how this is supposed to help officers investigate crimes, we’re not sure.