Letter from Chief Superintendent Nikki Watson

Chief Superintendent Nikki Watson, District Commander

Yeovil Police Station, Horsey Lane, Yeovil, Somerset, BA20 1SN

Telephone: 101

E-mail  nikki.watson@avonandsomerset.police.uk 

Our Ref:   NW/LS

 10 May 2013

Dear Parish/District/County Councillor/MP’s/NHW Co-ordinators/Sue Mountstevens, 

Welcome to my first letter of the 2013/14 year.  Since I last wrote our new Chief Constable, Nick Gargan, has been appointed and has spent his first weeks in the organisation visiting all areas of the Force to speak with communities, partners and staff to familiarise himself with local issues.  I have found Nick to be very progressive in respect of communication and he uses Twitter on a regular basis to keep everyone updated – do take a look at #ngargan_police.  Nick is taking the opportunity to review the Force Operating Model in respect of geography and management structure as well as devolvement/centralisation of services to ensure the most effective and efficient service for communities and to continue making the savings required under the comprehensive spending review.  The decision has been taken that from Monday, 3 June 2013, the current policing districts will be combined to form three larger Basic Command Units (BCU’s) to cover the Force area, one area being Bristol, the second area being Bath and South Gloucestershire combined.   I am delighted to be able to inform you that I will be the Police Commander for the third area which will be the Somerset BCU and will comprise of the three Local Policing Areas of East Somerset, West Somerset and North Somerset.  The geographic boundaries of these Local Policing Areas will be co-terminous with South Somerset and Mendip District Councils, West Somerset District Council, Taunton Deane and Sedgemoor District Council and the Unitary Authority of North Somerset.  The focus moving forward absolutely remains on delivering excellent policing services in local communities.  The whole energy of the organisation will be geared towards supporting local policing and over the next year an operating model that supports this ethos will be developed and delivered to strengthen the new three BCU structure.  I will be supported by Superintendents’ Ian Wylie and Keith McCoubrey.  Chief Inspector Richard Corrigan will be the local senior manager for the East Somerset Local Policing Area.  Clearly, there will be much to organise over the next few months and I will keep you updated of any changes as they progress. 

PCC Sue Mountstevens and Chief Constable Nick Gargan chose Frome for their first community meeting last month.  The event was well supported and the audience asked a number of questions in relation to a new police station in Frome, rural visibility of PCSO’s and police support for Community Speedwatch.  A full summary of the event can be found at www.avonandsomerset-pcc.gov.uk.  These events will be held regularly across the Force and will be advertised on the PCC website.

Turning to local successes in reducing crime and anti-social behaviour and bringing offenders to justice I can report that crime reduced by 14 ½ % during the last crime year compared to the year before.  This equates to 2,175 fewer victims and was the second best crime reduction achieved in the Force.  Looking at priority crime we recorded 33 fewer robberies and 115 fewer theft rom motor vehicle than the year before and achieved top force position for reduction in serious and acquisitive crime.  Another notable category was violence against the person where we recorded 200 fewer crimes.

In respect of bringing offenders to justice, we achieved our best ever overall detection rate of 38.2% which was 5.8% better than the previous year and we were the only area in the Force to record higher actual numbers of detections than last year.  Our focus on early arrest in respect of violence against the person reaped benefits and we achieved the best detection rate in Force of 63% representing a 7.3% improvement on the previous year.

These results are not achieved in isolation, reducing crime and bringing offenders to justice is a complicated process with inputs from communities, partners, PCSO’s, police officers, police staff and volunteers at different points along the journey.  I attribute the success to the fantastic team work I witness day in and day out across the District.

We recently ran a Relentless week of action on Rogue Traders.  We made several arrests and were able to recover a stolen trailer and mini digger at Cannards Grave, near Shepton Mallet and further stolen farm machinery from Frome in the Bath area.  In addition to this, our Neighbourhood Watch Schemes notified us of vulnerable members of the community who we visited with our Bobby Van to give practical advice in relation to saying no to rogue traders and improving the security of their properties.  PCSO’s teamed up with meals on wheels providers across the area and visited elderly residents to deliver the doorstep education “Stop, chain, check”.

Other examples of good results include a painstaking investigation which lead to a warrant being executed in Ilchester. We recovered  stolen trailers, tractors, chainsaws and hedge trimmers valued at £21,000 and were able to prosecute the culprits. 

In the Frome area some information from a member of the public provided the final piece of the jigsaw enabling us to identify two men and arrest them for a small series of burglaries they had been committing, both men were remanded in custody charged with six burglaries.

Following a domestic dispute in Yeovil, the violent male party had locked himself in a flat and set the property on fire.  Local officers forced entry to the burning residence and managed to restrain and detain the man as well as extinguishing the fire preventing further damage or harm.

In the last month I have had the pleasure of attending Neighbourhood Watch Co-Ordinators annual meeting in Mendip and South Somerset along with our Co-Ordinator, Lindsey Stone and the local Neighbourhood Inspectors.  The membership has again impressed me with their dedication, passion and commitment to assisting us reduce crime and keep their areas safe.  We are currently exploring different ways to improve our communication with Neighbourhood Watch and I hope to be able to bring you some news soon on this topic. 

Thank you for reading this newsletter, which is intended to regularly keep you up to date with what is happening in Somerset East District.  If you have any feedback for me, my contact details are: nikki.watson@avonandsomerset.police.uk.

Yours sincerely

Nikki Watson

Chief Superintendent

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