the place to be
Sunday September 23rd 2018

Neighbourhood Watch December Update


As I write on 7th December much may have happened by the time you read this. Generally in November things were calm except for vehicle crime – windows broken, bodywork scratched, tyres slashed – and an attempt to steal a motorbike (found nearby), a motor home stolen and tools taken from a van. This kind of problem is usually our most common locally. Cash was stolen from a safe through a break-in to a boarded window and there was one other house burglary. The silliest incident was when a woman at the Rabies Heath Road car park was chatted up by a man as she was “hiding” her bag in the boot. Not surprisingly it wasn’t there when she returned from her walk and a window of her car was smashed. What did I say last time about sensible careful local people?!

On 7th November I went to the annual review of community safety, held at TDC offices at Oxted and was very impressed by CEO Louise Round’s description of the many ways the council helps keep us safe. Just a few are action against substance misuse, domestic and child abuse, fly-tipping, illegal immigration, serious organised crime, and they liaise with police all the time.

Inspector Dan Gutierrez explained the area “Policing In Your Neighbourhood” teams, a scheme started last April and dividing police work into several sections: neighbourhood teams as before dealing with local matters not needing specialist knowledge, others concentrating on response work, more specialist crime investigation. prisoner handling and local major problem-solving. East Surrey also has a CID for really serious crime and a Community Safety team including Road Casualty Reduction officers. There is collaboration with Surrey and Sussex Counties police over the dog section and firearms unit. Dan also said that, although crime in Tandridge had increased in the past year, the detection rate had improved.

David Munroe, the Police and Crime Commissioner, was pleased with improvements in 101 telephone access, volunteer numbers and Tandridge District’s NHW scheme but would be working to improve the crime rate, police retention, traveller problems, police ICT and the effectiveness of the Criminal Justice system. He said funding for the police was just about adequate now but feared further cuts were inevitable.

Questions from attendees included: the effect of turning off street lights (no discernible increase in night-time crime), possible merger with Sussex police or the fire service (DM favoured collaboration but not merger), the effect of local housing costs on police retention (damaging but more subsidy would mean increased council tax) and how long it took police to arrive after urgent calls (15 mins. for grade 1 calls and 1 hour for grade 2).

I also went to the quarterly meeting of the Tandridge District NHW Steering Group on Nov. 22nd. It consists of one rep. for each policing area in the borough. I reported on Bletchingley and had to admit that we still have gaps and not all the coordinators are accessing the IN THE KNOW website or which enables anyone to see what’s happening in our area. I intend to make more effort this year to keep in touch with coordinators. They deserve more support from me and I apologise.

We’re still operating on the five village sites with our nine indomitable gunners but the tenth member is not well so we are even more pushed. What can I do to persuade you? Make it your New Year’s resolution!
Di Turner: 01883 743598