I have now been here as the Local Policing Unit commander for North West Leicestershire for seven months, and I am thoroughly enjoying my time here.
I am fortunate to be part of a superb team, and day in, day out I continue to be impressed by the hard work, drive and ambition of all of the staff and volunteers at this LPU.
On Wednesday 4th December I hosted an evening to thank the many volunteers and Special Constables who in addition to their day to day work, do so much to assist our work in local communities. During 2013 our volunteers have helped us at 26 different events, including, Download festival at Castle Donington, Snibston Miners Gala, and the Ashby Remembrance Parade. In total they have given us 450 hours of their time which is a staggering amount and to both them and our Special Constable colleagues I would like to publicly thank them for all that they do, for us the police and you the community. I will be talking more about the work of the Specials in my next blog.
Retail crime in particular shoplifting continues to be a priority for us, and in October and in the run up to Christmas we are running retail crime initiatives in Coalville and Ashby which are designed to combat this type of crime. This will include high visibility patrols, promotion of the retail radio scheme and crime prevention advice.
During October and November we took part in a number of force wide initiatives designed to tackle alcohol harm, and I was particularly delighted with the results of a test purchasing operation we carried out across the area. Nine off-licences were visited by a plain clothed officer and a young person. The young person attempted to purchase alcohol at each off-licence, and all nine refused to serve the young person.
This shows that our message about selling to under age people is getting through. However we are not complacent and we will continue to work closely with our partners and local licensed premises to tackle alcohol related crime and disorder.
Linked to this is our Keep Safe initiative which will be running throughout December. We will have the mobile beat bus available in Ashby on Friday and Saturday nights. This will act as a place of safety for anybody who has a problem in and around AshbyTown centre. It will be staffed by our volunteers, including Special Constables, and Street Pastors and Swanswell Drug and Alcohol Advisory Service. Look out for it, and be sure to say hello if you are passing.
As in many communities illegal drugs continue to be a concern. Acting on local intelligence and information, we executed a number of warrants under the misuse of drugs act. In Castle Donington we found a cannabis factory and seized around £50,000 worth of cannabis plants. Two local men were arrested in connection with this offence.
In Coalville we executed two further warrants and seized cannabis and cannabis growing equipment. One local person was interviewed in connection with the offence of possessing cannabis. Have a look at this video we made during the course of executing the two warrants
Over recent months we have worked hard to tackle crime, in particular the theft of motor vehicles and theft from motor vehicles. Since the beginning of the financial year in April we have had a 24% reduction in vehicle crime, which represents 101 fewer victims. However we still receive reports of vehicle crime where it has been made a lot easier for the criminal. As a reminder, when you leave your vehicle always remove all valuables, and lock the vehicle. If you leave it on show expect it to go.
If you are defrosting your vehicle, please do not leave your vehicle unattended with the engine running. By taking these simple measures you greatly reduce the chances of becoming a victim of crime.
On a final note, on behalf of everybody at North West I would like to wish you a safe and happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
Inspector Helena Bhakta
NW Leics LPU Commander
You can follow me on twitter please visit this link: @NWLeicsLPU