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PCC Vera Baird supports rural policing week of action

22nd June 2016

Police in Northumberland are stepping up their activities this week with a series of initiatives taking place across the county.

Officers will be visiting residents in the more rural areas and carrying out crime prevention work with partners at a variety of locations.

West Tynedale Neighbourhood Inspector Kevin Oates, said: “Our neighbourhood officers carry out targeted patrols on a regular basis to catch offenders, keep our roads safe and deter criminals from committing offences in Northumberland.

“We also regularly work with our partners including Farmwatch and the local authority and others to provide our communities with crime prevention advice.  Over the course of this week we are delivering a number of these initiatives of concentrated police activity.”

Officers are focusing activity across Morpeth, Alnwick, Tynedale and Berwick areas.  Neighbourhood officers are also working with farmers and gamekeepers to tackle poaching and teaming up with VOSA  (Vehicle and Operator Services Agency) and DVLA, stopping vehicles and checking they are roadworthy, carrying out dip samples of tanks to identify and deal with anyone illegally using red diesel.

The week long activity includes neighbourhood staff visiting vulnerable people in rural communities, including repeat victims of crime, to assess their crime prevention needs and give them the support they need.

Motor Patrols Officers will support the initiative with Operation Weekender, as part of the Road Safety Operation Dragoon, reminding motorcyclists of speed limits and the dangers of speeding.  This road safety work is reinforced with help from volunteers from Community Speed Watch operating at locations where police have received complaints of speeding. The volunteers note details of any speeding vehicles with an advice letter sent to the driver. For persistent offenders, officers will make contact with the driver and positive action will be taken.

Officers are also making additional visits to rural pubs to reinforce the Pubwatch scheme and lend to support to bar staff.  Police will be calling in to car parks with crime prevention advice for locals, and visitors with multilingual crime prevention signs, to advise motorists to lock their vehicles and remove valuables when they park.

Last week officers were given training at Hexham Mart organised by the NFU to get advice from farmers about how best to help identify stolen animals when tackling sheep rustling offences.

During this week the neighbourhood team will be making drop-in visits to community events to meet local residents including:

Visiting Hexham Mart on Friday, June 24, from 9am to noon with the crime prevention advisors and Community Safety officers from Northumberland County Council offering advice.

Stopping off at Wylam Fair, and Armed Forces Day on Beaumont Street in Hexham on Saturday, June 25, and Holy Island Fair on Sunday, June 26.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird, said: “This range of activity demonstrates that tackling rural crime continues to be high on our agenda here in Northumberland. I will ensure that as part of this week of action and beyond, our officers continue their pro-active approach, working with those living in our most rural communities, helping them prevent crime and doing all we can to catch those responsible.”

Insp Oates added: “We want to reassure our rural communities that their neighbourhood teams are here tackling and preventing crime and dealing with vulnerability. Officers will be continuing their work to keep residents and visitors safe on our roads and in our rural communities across the borough throughout the year.  If you see an officer carrying out this work please do stop and say hello, we’re always pleased to speak to local people and give them the support they need.”

Northumberland County Councillor and chair of the Safer Northumberland Partnership, Liz Simpson said: “We are working closely with partners including Northumbria Police to keep our communities across Northumberland safe.

“By working together with partners we can solve problems in a number of innovative ways and this leads to better results.”

Anyone with concerns about crime or other policing matters is asked to contact their local neighbourhood policing team on 101.