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Tuesday May 21st 2019

Neighbourhood Watch May/June update

Excellent news is that PCSO Lorraine Wells will soon be back with us in addition to her duties in nearby villages. At the April BPC meeting she was given a round of applause and said “My heart has always been in Bletchingley. Please have a chat if you see her and you can contact her at wells15853@surrey.pnn.police.uk or voicemail 01483 633308.

I went to the annual Borough Community/Police meeting on 30th April. Surrey Commissioner David Munro said that 100 more officers are being appointed in Surrey because 75% of residents who responded to his request for an increase in council tax had agreed to it. His main aim is value for money. He also pointed out that the County Lines drugs distribution set-up operating here as elsewhere would not exist if buyers, often well-off householders, stopped their demand.

Gavin Stevens, Chief Constable for Surrey, gave facts: phone calls exceed 1100 a day but only 10% – 15% are about crime; 94 are emergencies; 10 are road crashes; 10 missing people and many others concern anti-social behaviour, domestic abuse and rape. It struck me that the police are expected to deal with much more than catching burglars these days. He said that since 2012 £40m has been taken from UK policing so the only ways to maintain service are to PREVENT crime and to COOPERATE with other agencies like Sussex, the Met., Fire, local councils, NHW, NHS and community groups of all kinds.

Dan Gutierrez, our Borough Commander, echoed both speakers and added that it is crucial that every crime is reported, by phoning 101 if not an emergency when 999 is necessary. All are logged, none ignored, even if not followed by a police visit. (I can vouch for this; a call by a villager giving the reg. no. of a van with occupants acting suspiciously, though the observer almost didn’t think it worthwhile, resulted in links with other reports and a good outcome.) Dan said our local officers are meeting monthly with Council and other teams, working with young people, schools and the public, doing their best to increase police visibility and design out criminals’ ability to operate. Protecting vulnerable people is a priority too.

Answers to questions from the audience included:
– it’s not always the same people who are offenders
– police have a website and are monitoring social media but time available is limited
– the incidence of burglary (conviction rate is 23%) has gone down but other crime has increased
– Neighbourhood Watch covers over 10k Tandridge households and is useful to the police. (If you don’t know your rep. or don’t have one, please tell me.)
– various police premises are being sold (inc. Reigate) but Caterham will remain operative.What I want to say to you, dear readers, is that the police can only do so much and increasingly it is up to you to look after your own property. It is a horrible personal violation to have it stolen. You can get advice online or from police/insurance companies. Report ALL incidents and and please contact me if you need to.

SPEEDWATCH

MORE good news: two more toe-in-the-water wannabees came for a sundowner with me – and didn’t need their arms twisted at all so are on the list for the next training session. At our planning meeting we arranged the schedule to October and are doing at least two sites each month so need everyone in the team. We’ve already done the two new sites in Castle Street with good effect. Thanks especially to Jill Rigby who inputs the data and to Jeff Marks who has designed a new record sheet with extra info.

Big Common Lane, where we do not have a site, continues to be a serious speeding area. Police are aware of this and I hope that, after another consultation with Surrey’s transport team, some calming measures may happen. Already there are new signs but they are not enough. Two of the road’s residents have taken up the cause because there is so much danger and so many accidents are happening. We would very much like to have a Speedwatch site in the lane but already have 7 in the village so permission for more is unlikely without a strong campaign by residents. One of them wrote a letter in the April bmag and deserves support.

Finally, don’t use a hands-on mobile phone while driving. There’s a hefty fine and points if you’re caught.

Di Turner: diturner1941@hotmail.com 01883 743598