As most people know this site provides the latest news for Neighbourhood Watch groups and individuals across Kenilworth.
Today, I am making an exception to the rule that the only posts put out on this site are crime alerts. The reason is because a social media site in Kenilworth that has over 5,000 followers has published a story about Kenilworth, crime and our police service implying the police are being ran to make a profit.
Consequently, I feel compelled to put another view.
For those that may not know my background is that I was Chairman of Warwickshire Police Authority between 1995 and 1997 and a Special Constable based at a Kenilworth between 2001 and 2009. I am now a Police Service Volunteer working alongside Kenilworth’s Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT).
These are my own personal comments and should not in any way be considered as attributable to Warwickshire Police.
No police service is permitted to make a profit.
How short and selective our memories can be. It’s only a couple of months since burglars were caught red handed by a householder and Warwickshire Police were on scene within 3 minutes, chased the offenders across fields on foot and arrested them! Seemingly it’s not enough.
I am very sorry and saddened to see the coverage on the Facebook social media site Kenilworth Vibes which while one can understand the upset, dismay and even anger arising from a burglary, implicitly suggests our police are lacking and have the wrong priorities.
I’d hope that most people in Kenilworth see things with a great deal more perspective and balance. Let’s look at some facts. However, before doing so I’d like to say I share the concern of those affected by burglary and I do not diminish how the affects of such an experience can upset people. That’s why we provide the immediate alerts and crime prevention advice we do.
So, some facts;
1. Policing Priorities
Policing Priorities are set by YOU – the people of Kenilworth. It’s never been so easy, you don’t even have to come the Community Forum you can do it online. Kenilworth’s police (otherwise known as Kenilworth Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) ) publicise the Forum ahead of its meeting and encourage people to vote online for their priorities, they do this via social media channels.
The number of people that take part in the voting for the priorities have never exceeded 2% of Kenilworth’s adult population. That low level of engagement is not down to the police it’s down to us, our community.
2. Speeding Enforcement
Speeding enforcement activity is often misunderstood and attracts the sort of criticism seen in some of the responses to the post, which suggest speeding enforcement activity should be stopped with resources deployed to catch burglars.
Firstly, 15% of all serious injuries and a whopping 26% of all deaths on the UK’s roads are classified as having inappropriate speed as the contributing factor. In Kenilworth we have a Community Speedwatch team which are local people who are volunteers and have been trained by the police. The CS team regularly operate checks and this deters speeding.
I understand it was a Warwickshire Speed Camera Partnership van on Birches Lane earlier in the week. These mobile cameras are operated jointly by the Community Safety Teams of the local District Council and the police.
Three of Kenilworth’s CS team were recognised by the Chief Constable only last week for all the hours they put in as volunteers to help make the community safer and rightly so. I cannot believe anyone wants someone hurt in a accident caused by vehicles travelling too fast, the CS team actively prevent that with what they do for the community. We should join the Chief Constable and thank them for what they do.
3. Bobbies on the Beat
Yes I am old enough to remember Dixon of Dock Green, it was fictional drama and based at a time when most people did not own or have access to a car. I have worked with Kenilworth Beat Bobbies in the past and they were good sound individuals that did a great job, Tony Appletree, Pat Stock, Adriano Towle, Phil Hopkinson to name just four. However, the world in 2019 has moved on, we don’t have to like it and I can understand why some don’t, but moved on it has.
I for one don’t want “Bobbies on the beat” in the literal sense because a police officer on foot can only wave at criminals as they speed past having stolen someone’s car or burgled a house!
I want police targeting criminals based on intelligence as well as patrolling the neighbourhood and they are doing both.
I see the work Kenilworth’s SNT do everyday because I am a Police Service Volunteer that puts out all the Neighbourhood Watch notifications. The SNT are a committed team that care about their Community and they are based IN Kenilworth.
I see the sheer scale of stuff that Craig, Ed, Sharon and Steven, the SNT, deal with seven days a week and all of it comes in from our community. Recently I have seen PC Anna Brown, the Beat Manager of Kenilworth SNT, take it upon herself to personally ensure the safety of a very vulnerable individual which meant several hours of dedicated commitment on her part to ensure a serious or tragic outcome was avoided, this meant other important things had to wait but she cared and it was undoubtedly the right call. Anna epitomised in her approach the oath all police officers take “To protect life and property.” I am sure that’s what most of us would want and expect from our police,
The SNT are backed up by the response teams on shift that react to 999 emergency calls and alarms, these guys and girls make me equally proud with the commitment they show towards protecting our town and it’s people. When they get a call you can take it from me “they are on it”.
4. Personal Responsibility
One of the things that is so frustrating for the police is that however well they respond to calls and emergencies people still fail to understand they themselves can do so much to avoid becoming victims of crime. For example I have lost count how many times Neighbourhood Watch have told folk not to leave valuables on show and in motor vehicles but still they do it and when their car gets its windows smashed and items are stolen it’s – ‘Where are the police ? You never see them etc etc.’
Err… no, we all have to take responsibility.
5. The reality of policing today
You would have no idea, nor can you be expected to have, of the other stuff our (Warwickshire) police are doing, investigations related to persistent offenders, county lines drugs (yes that activity is in pretty much every community), child protection and cyber crime are just four of many other streams of activity they are doing 24/7.
We need to draw a distinction between all the stuff the police are now asked, expected or required to do and the level of resources they have as this affects most forces and I do realise that some comments back to this post raise this very valid point. However, it would be wrong to entirely conflate this wider picture with some of the local issues and the level of Kenilworth’s policing.
Please read the following which is a summary of 48 hours in the life of Warwickshire Police, it is an actual recent 48 hour period that a Warwickshire Inspector shared publicly to give everyone an idea of the work and scale of Warwickshire Police’s activities.
Taken 830 calls, of which 185 calls were graded as needing an immediate response (blue lights)
Recorded 200 crimes
Arrested 31 people
There were several notable incidents that had to be dealt with including:
A serious sexual assault
Three police officers assaulted while affecting an arrest
A male badly beaten in public house
A car key burglary
A female and child found that have entered the UK illegally
Armed robbery with a shotgun and knife
Fatal road traffic accident involving a motocyclist
Eleven people reported missing requiring investigation and search
Actively been looking for six individuals to arrest in relation to domestic violence
Managing an unauthorised encampment of travellers
Finally, yes the police sometimes get things wrong, who doesn’t ? I have been critical of the police in the past so I am not given to speaking up for them just for the sake of it or because I volunteer alongside them. However, in the last couple of months there have been two posts on social media where lots of conclusions have been jumped to, the posts have generated a great deal of heat but lacked any light.
One of these previous posts referred to inappropriate behaviour in a public place. Over 100 people posted comments and reaction to it and some of the posts were critical of the police. The problem was that while everyone was busy tapping out their indignation about the incident on their smartphones or iPads and posting it on social media not one of them thought to report the incident to the police to enable them to actually respond!
What I do know is that we all love Kenilworth and living here, even national newspapers are saying it’s one of the best places to live and it is !
Kenilworth is our community and we are better by working together and supporting one another. While I realise and respect its everyone’s right to express their view and opinion I’d just ask folk to reflect that when you enter into the area of policing and crime you take some time to understand the facts and reality. Please realise that if you choose to criticise you are, at the very least implicitly complaining about a dedicated team of people who are doing their best for us everyday so have you spoken to them first and at least given them a chance to respond or are you happy just to blame or criticise them publicly ?
Our police deserve better, they deserve our support.