THE summer is well and truly with us and I trust you are making the most of the fine weather we are currently enjoying. As always, the summer brings a number of differing challenges for the police to manage and this summer has been no exception.
Whilst the World Cup may have taken place many miles away in Brazil, we had to work hard to ensure that the many clubs and bars across our district were able to host special events, particularly for the England games.
We worked with licensees to ensure that these events could take place in a safe and peaceful environment, and this required a complex partnership strategy.
Although, regrettably, we did not have too many England games to worry about, the deployment of additional resources during key games and the work undertaken with local licensees ensured the tournament passed off peacefully with very few incidents for us to have to deal with.
Earlier this month, officers from the Local Policing Area were deployed to work on the Henley Royal Regatta operation. The regatta has a strong night-time economy and this is something which we robustly police.
I did speak to some Henley residents who expressed concern about the behaviour of some of those attending the event. In the coming year, we will be working hard with partners and residents to establish how we can reduce the negative impact that such a large event can have on the local community.
We work hard with licensees, partners and the regatta organisers and will continue to do so this year, to try to establish an even stronger infrastructure to effectively police the regatta next year.
Despite policing some big events in the past couple of months, our district continues to enjoy unprecedented low levels of crime and antisocial behaviour. I am pleased to be able to tell you that in the first three months of this financial year we have reduced burglary by a further 50 per cent on last year’s figures and overall recorded crime by a further five per cent, ensuring we continue to enjoy some of the lowest levels of crime in the country. Whilst we are proud of these successes, we are not resting on our laurels and are working hard to robustly police the small minority who continue to commit crime and blight our communities.
This was demonstrated recently by the conviction of Carl Skelton, who was sentenced to four-and–a-half years in prison and a consecutive two-year suspended sentence for possession with intent to supply of a class-A drug.
This sentence reflected the impact this individual had on the local community and I trust will serve as a deterrent to those who may consider such criminality.
I never ceased to be amazed at the depths that some criminals will stoop to in order to commit crime. It is, therefore, always particular satisfying when we catch criminals who have perpetrated particularly distasteful crimes, as occurred earlier this month when officers arrested two males stealing lead from a church roof in Southmoor.
These offences invariably cause significant damage to the roof in the commital of the crime and untold further damage is subsequently caused by the rain entering the building which has stood for hundreds of years and is a significant part of our heritage.
Our officers were alerted to these offenders, who had been seen acting suspiciously, by an alert member of the public, to whom I am very grateful.
It is vitally important that people call the police if they suspect someone is acting in a suspicious manner. We are totally reliant on the public’s calls. We would far sooner come out and confirm everything is in order, than wait and find out an offence has occurred after the offenders have gone.
One of the most effective ways to keep your neighbourhood safe and reduce crime is to become part of the Neighbourhood Watch Scheme. For more information, call administrator Carol.Rudd@ thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk As I regularly point out, we have not reduced crime on our own and I am extremely grateful for all your continuing help and support.
Finally, I would like to pay a particular thank you to our officers and staff who work tirelessly, often in very difficult situations, on your behalf. Together, we are challenging the criminal, protecting the vulnerable and delivering a high-quality service.