Guildford Crime Summit report

Guildford Crime Summit report

87 people registered (mostly residents but including some partners) to attend via the eventbrite website.   A total of 54 of those who registered attended plus 2 who hadn’t registered.  In addition, a range of about 20 partners attended from Guildford Borough Council, victim support, Surrey Police etc.  No evaluation of the event was carried out with those attending, but staff were given positive comments.  G-Live were very helpful and well set-up as a venue.

Main presentation and Q&A Session

Presentations were given by Kevin Hurley, Richard Billington and Lynette Shanks.   A Q&A session was facilitated by Jeff Harris.

Wisley Common has become recognised as a Public Sex Environment (PSE). The perception of local residents is that referring to it as a PSE legitimises its use as such.

  • PSE is an unacceptable and unfortunate term. It is not Surrey specific.
  • The problem is difficult to deal with and difficult to police. However, it falls in to anti-social behaviour and requires a zero-tolerance approach and needs to be robustly dealt with.
  • Late night patrols might be ideal, but there are a lot of demands on Surrey Police, however, the point is noted.

 

A number of concerns in Worplesdon from residents regarding road safety and a wish for the speed limit to be reduced. Also, concerns that the Crime Reduction Officers are being reduced across the county and a view given that they provided an important preventative role.

  • The speed-limit is a matter for the County Council to progress.
  • The approach to CRO/CRUs is being changed. Broadly speaking this will involve training PCSOs to handle more, so there should actually be an increase, not a reduction. However, can’t give details as discussions still on-going with staff.
  • Possible to use Community Speed Watch (CSWs) more by giving them powers to prosecute so they can issue tickets and enforce. Enforcement changes behaviour.

 

Questions around what the public can do to assist the police in protecting them. Views in Neighbourhood Watch and the need for more of them.

  • 3,500 Neighbourhood Watches across the county. Fair to say not all are operating at the same level. Looking to improve them and involve more young people.
  • Re helping the police, sign up and use Immobilise: www.immobilise.com

 

Is there anything that can be done to name and shame drivers who use their mobile phones whilst driving? Is there anything the public can do to help enforce?

  • It’s about enforcing out crime, so possible to use CSWs more to do this, if properly research, resourced and widened.

 

Is there anything that can be done to tackle “legal highs” to ensure a consistent approach nationally?

  • A good idea. Not been looked at. Would need to be done with partners in schools and colleges etc. Will do more research on it.

 

Detection rates are dropping, is there a target to improve?

  • Targets lead to perverse outcomes. We want qualitative improvements, however, Surrey Police are expected to produce reductions also.
  • Rates are monitored for serious crimes, like violence, rape, murder, burglary, but generally it’s not a good measure of monitoring performance.

 

What’s being done to tackle minor anti-social matters, such as cycling without lights or on pavements?

  • The level of response comes down to resources.
  • However, looking at a new approach regarding enforcement, being piloted in Reigate & Banstead next year.
  • Also looking to increase the powers that PCSOs and PCs have.

 

People find it difficult to contact people in the Force, they are not visible.

  • All information is on the website and also in libraries.
  • However, what matters is that a problem is dealt with, not  by whom.

 

Breakout Group 1 – Purple Flag and Guildford Town Centre

Most members of the public there were unaware of Experience Guildford (the company set up by business and the Council to enhance Guildford)

 

Would like to see the following:

 

  • More attractions (castle grounds, museum etc. open in the early evening) and the Castle grounds local parks etc. to be used for Plays, other activities etc.
  • A mixture of business/activities in the town to attract people of all ages in.
  • Better use of the riverside – café’s, shops etc.
  • Better advertising of local events.
  • Would like the area around the town centre to be made more attractive/pedestrianized.
  • Would like the Casino night club closed

 

Current problems/issues:

  • Parking
  • Traffic
  • Pavements very narrow (one way system etc.) – people being forced into the road at certain times especially at night at closing time.  Limited routes from town centre to the station causing congestion on the pavements on Bridge St at certain times.
  • Perception of Guildford not a safe place to be late at night due to drunken idiots etc.

 

 

 

 

Breakout Group 2 – Reducing Victims of Crime

Introduced by Rodney Bates and Lynette Shanks.

Crime / ASB issues raised included:

  • Cycling on pavements
  • Cycling in groups / causing obstructions
  • Vehicle crime

 

Ways to reduce victims in crime of Guildford were:

  • Education for road users particularly cyclist and clubs
  • People taking more personal responsibility
  • Checking on (elderly) neighbours
  • More powers for PCSOs
  • Better consultation with residents and businesses with regard to cycling events
  • E-mails with crime prevention advice
  • Contact victim support for advice
  • Use resident groups where they exist to get messages across

 

Break Out Group 3 – CCTV

Introduction

  • Jeff Fowler, Council Engineer, Guildford Borough Council, and Superintendent Duncan Greenhalgh, Surrey Police, introduced the topic for discussion.
  • It was explained that Council paid for the installation and maintenance of the cameras and that they were operated and enforced by Surrey Police.
  • Currently there were 53 cameras in Guildford, mostly in the town centre. Due to new Government legislation, every camera must be justified and the public engaged on their use.
  • Do people like the cameras being there? Do they want more/less of them?

 

Feedback

  • About making Surrey/Guildford residents feel safer. People are scared of committing crimes because they will get caught on camera and convicted. This makes people feel safer.
  • Reassured to learn that there were no plans to use cameras to enforce on trivial matters, such as parking offences etc.
  • Interested in the possibility of having cameras with microphones, so operators could warn people of their behaviour. Currently there are two cameras like this in Guildford, which are very effective.
  • Questions were raised around facial recognition technology and ANPR. ANPR was day to day for Surrey Police, but facial recognition cameras was being looked in to. It would depend on the cost of the cameras, which was likely to be prohibitive at this stage.
  • Cameras are good deterrent, but their implementation needs to be reasonable and proportional. People want to feel safe because it is safe, not because there’s a camera.
  • Clarification was sought regarding cameras on private land. There are some exemptions for individuals, but so long as the cameras recorded only the individual’s property and complied with legislation then they were fine.
  • Concerns were raised about how often the cameras were monitored. It was reported that during core shopping hours, and when the town centre would be busy, there would be total coverage. Often coverage was 24/7 anyway. Additionally, Surrey Police monitor how operators are using the cameras to ensure they are not being abused.

 

Conclusion

General overall support for the use of CCTV in Guildford, so long as they continue to be placed in areas of need: so are justified, proportionate and reasonable and a balance is maintained between people’s rights to a private life and to be protected.

 

Other Questions

Some residents who couldn’t attend asked questions via e-mail and put on the message board at the Summit as follows:

How does the PCC liaise with councils and others to ensure that residents’ concerns (about general issues not specific incidents) get to the relevant organisations? Also, how could questionnaires be produced jointly to facilitate coordination and to improve value for money?

Whilst the PCC doesn’t tend to get involved in individual issues, as that is a matter for the Chief Constable and councils, he is keen to ensure that the processes are in place for residents to be able to raise issues and for partnership working to take place to address local issues.   This is a key priority in his Surrey Police and Crime Plan.   As you know, one of the means that people can raise concerns is through the Crime Summits at which the PCC presents alongside council leaders and the local neighbourhood police inspector and superintendent.  The PCC has also set out in his plan that local police and councils should regularly hold local panel meetings in their areas to hear concerns from residents.  These are being regularly held, both in meeting form and using social media forums such as Facebook.  Details can be found at:

http://www.surrey.police.uk/my-neighbourhood/get-involved

In terms of questionnaires, there is a Joint Neighbourhood Survey carried out on behalf of Surrey Police, Surrey County Council and local borough and district councils.  This has been in place for the last few years and, as you say, has held co-ordination of the messages and saved money from the previous situation where everyone carried out their surveys locally.

In terms of problem solving, the PCC is leading on an initiative to promote Joint Enforcement.  This is being piloted in Reigate and Banstead and Spelthorne boroughs and will see local police and council enforcement officers work more closely in teams to address local issues.

 

What can be done about cold callers when signs are already up stating no cold callers?  And what has been done on local incidents of young people acting anti-socially/suspiciously on her road?

 

This has been passed onto the local neighbourhood team to provide a locally based response.

 

What is your stance on community speedwatch given the current reporting problems?

The PCC is very supportive of community speedwatch.  We were unaware of any reporting problems and Supt Greenhalgh will look into this.

 

As Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators we remain confused about whom residents should contact when they have a variety of people working in this area (e.g. Guildford Wardens, PCSOs, 101 etc).

Details of all local officers are on the Surrey Police website.   Please do contact them about local issues or call 101 and they will be able to advise on the most appropriate person and provide contact details.

 

Please make public aware that cycling on the pavement is illegal.

This issue was covered in the reducing victims breakout group.

 

Can you fix the lighting in Guildford Bus Station?

This has been passed to the Guildford Community Safety Officer.

 

By |2017-06-15T12:51:30+01:00December 16th, 2013|Meetings Archive|Comments Off on Guildford Crime Summit report