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Harpenden and Rural - Safer Neighbourhood newsletter - winter 2020/2021

Staying in touch during the pandemic

I lead a team of PCs and PCSOs called the Safer Neighbourhood Team.Sergeant Mark Essam

We work to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour in this area.

We are based at Harpenden Police Station but we also conduct regular patrols and hold socially-distanced surgeries or other events so that residents can continue to raise issues or concerns.

Read on to find out about more ways to stay in touch.

Sergeant Mark Essam 

 How we are working to keep your neighbourhood safe

Safer neighbourhoods: reducing crime, catching criminals and keeping people safe

Throughout the year, your Safer Neighbourhood Team sets priorities for policing in this area.

These priorities are based on reports or feedback from the public. We then work with our partners, including the local council, to tackle these issues. These priorities are discussed and updated throughout the year at priority-setting events. We advertise these events regularly on social media and OWL.

You said:

Tackle flytipping.

We did:PCSO Ilias Poulakis speaks to Harpenden residents at a safe distance during the pandemic, offering crime prevention advice and answering questions.

This is a long-term problem and includes rural crime across the area, including the villages. We have been doing regular high-visibility and plain clothed patrols and have been working closely with farmers and landowners, and the council, to catch those responsible. The council have installed CCTV in hot spot areas.

Fly-tipping is a criminal offence and if convicted, offenders face a fine of up to £50,000 and/or 12 months imprisonment. You could be liable if you pay someone to get rid of your waste and they dump it illegally.

You said:

Anti-social behaviour (people hanging around smoking cannabis and drinking) at Rothamsted Park.

We did:

We are working with the local town council and partner agencies. We have given out warnings and made several arrests for drug offences. We have also used community resolutions and fines. We will continue our high visibility patrols.

You said:

Inconsiderate parking and causing an obstruction at school drop-off and pick up times.

We did:

We are reminding parents to allow enough time to park further away from the school for the safety of all children. After an initial warning, we will issue a TOR (traffic offence report) which could lead to a £100 fine and we will consider towing cars that are causing an obstruction. We have conducted speed enforcement operations around Roundwood School, Crabtree School and Grove Road.

echo - what matters most

echo: What matters most

You can use our community voice platform ‘echo’ to let us know what you think we should be prioritising in your area.

Your feedback will help towards shaping our local policing priorities, plans and campaigns.

OWL - Online Watch Link

OWL: Online Watch Link

Sign up to OWL to receive email updates from local police and Neighbourhood Watch officers about crime and anti-social behaviour in your area.

The updates are free and include relevant crime prevention advice.

A message from Chief Inspector Lynda Coates

We have adapted the way we police during the pandemic to keep people safe and protect the NHS.Chief Inspector Lynda Coates

My officers have remained on patrol, dealing with crime and anti-social behaviour, but also wearing masks and social distancing as much as possible. We remain committed to engaging, explaining and encouraging the public regarding the restrictions, and only enforcing breaches where we have no other option.

I am pleased to say that burglaries in the district remain very low.

But we are seeing a rise in car crime, especially thefts of catalytic converters and of property left in unlocked cars. Please remember to remove all items from unattended vehicles and lock them. I urge you to contact us if you need police assistance, especially if you feel unsafe in your own home.

New Sergeant to tackle rural crime

New Harpenden and Rural Safer Neighbourhood Sergeant Mark Essam is keen to tackle rural crime across the area.Responding to concerns from members of the public, PC Iffy Iqbal carried out a speeding operation in Park Hill.

He also wants to deal with speeding and anti-social behaviour, and execute drug warrants.

He said: “I have an excellent team of dedicated neighbourhood officers who are out patrolling, dealing with anti-social behaviour and crime, and being a visible police presence. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have had to adapt the way we work, but please be reassured we are still out and about across the area.”

Sgt Essam has lots of experience having spent most of his 14-year career as an Intervention officer, including two years in St Albans.

He always wanted to serve the public following in the footsteps of his father who was in the army and his grandfather who was in the Royal Air Force. He joined Hertfordshire Constabulary aged 20. He was nominated for Officer of the Year in 2017 and has received numerous awards of recognition for going above and beyond.

Your police force working for you

As well as your Safer Neighbourhood Team, there are many more policing teams working in this area, and across the county, to keep you safe.

Our “Intervention” teams respond to emergencies and reports of crime, missing people or other urgent incidents. There is also a detective team who investigate crimes including burglaries.  Volunteer police officers from the Special Constabulary also provide support.

There is also a wide range of countywide specialist teams that work to investigate complex crimes, protect people and pursue offenders.

Collaborated teams such as the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Road Policing Unit and Major Crime Unit work to keep our motorways safe and investigate the most serious crimes. We also work with partners including other police forces and law enforcement agencies to tackle cross-border crimes such as county drug lines and organised crime.

Protecting people from domestic abuse

The pandemic and associated restrictions have brought many challenges to individuals and families.  If home isn't safe, we're here to help.  If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, call 0300 790 6772* for advice and support.  *In an emergency, always call 999.  If you are afraid to speak, call 999 from a mobile and press 5, 5.  For mo

For people living with domestic abuse, it has been particularly difficult. Many were left feeling more isolated and vulnerable due to the measures. Early reports in lockdown also suggested that perpetrators may be using the restrictions to wield more control over their partners.

As a result we as a force stepped up our response to domestic abuse.  Working with partner agencies, we jointly-launched a social media and advertising campaign to let people know that help and support were available despite the restrictions on daily life.

As well as investigating crimes, our specialist Domestic Abuse Investigation and Safeguarding Unit has helped many people get into safe accommodation or apply for injunctions that will protect them and their families.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, call 0300 790 6772* for advice and support.

Remember - domestic abuse isn’t just about violence. It can be psychological, sexual or financially controlling behaviour. There’s no need to suffer in silence.

*  This number operates 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.  Calls outside of these hours may be diverted to a national helpdesk.

How to contact us


For general enquiries or to report a crime after the event:

  • Report online.
  • Use our webchat service by clicking on the green button on this website.
  • Call us on 101. (101 calls cost 15p per call but you can call 01707 354000 instead if your call plan includes free calls to 01 numbers).


In an emergency,  always dial 999. An emergency is when:

  • A crime is in progress or a suspect is nearby.
  • Someone is injured, threatened or in immediate danger.
  • There is a risk of injury or serious damage.
  • You need immediate police assistance.

Your Safer Neighbourhood Team

Harpenden Police Station

Your Safer Neighbourhood Team is based at:Hertfordshire Constabulary: Prevention First

Harpenden Police Station
Vaughan Road


To contact the team or to make an appointment to speak with them, please email them or call 101.

Social media

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You can follow local police at:

Other useful local contacts

Protect your money

Action Fraud: National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre

Fraudsters continue to target Hertfordshire residents and are becoming increasingly more sophisticated.

Find out how to spot a scam and protect yourself online and offline. If you think you have been the victim of fraud, report via Action Fraud (opens in a new window) or call 0300 123 2040.

We’re recruiting now

If you or someone you know would like to become a police officer, we’re now offering a new educational route into policing, called Policing Education Qualifications Framework (PEQF).

We’re also recruiting police community support officers (PCSOs) and voluntary roles including part-time special constables. Find out about all of our current vacancies.

PCC plans largest force in history of Hertfordshire

Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, David Lloyd

We all know that 2020 was different, difficult and challenging but the plan to build Hertfordshire’s largest ever police force remains on track.Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, David Lloyd

Officer numbers in the county are already higher than a decade ago and are on course to increase to 2,314, the highest number ever, by early 2023. At the start of 2020 an overwhelming majority of residents told me they were happy to pay an average of £10-a-year more council tax to support the increase. I hope you are reassured that even after this increase, you continue to pay one of the lowest precept contributions for policing in England and Wales.

Due to the running of an effective and efficient constabulary, I have ensured that Hertfordshire is one of the few counties to maintain a dedicated local policing model. Each of our 10 districts has at least one fully-operational police station, complete with neighbourhood officers and emergency response teams. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has rated policing in Hertfordshire as ‘good’ across all areas including keeping people safe and reducing crime.

Wider work with partner agencies to reduce offending and to deliver on the public’s priorities has been conducted thanks to funding from my Criminal Justice Innovation Fund, Action Fund and Road Safety Fund.

My Community Safety and Criminal Justice Plan called “Everybody’s Business” is at the heart of what the constabulary and I do to maintain Hertfordshire as one of the safest counties in the country. I would encourage you all to read it on the PCC website (opens in a new window).

New officers for police stations in St Albans and Harpenden

New frontline officers are joining their colleagues at St Albans and Harpenden police stations.Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, David Lloyd

The city centre station at the Civic Centre in St Peter’s Street is led by Chief Inspector Lynda Coates and includes local neighbourhood officers, detectives and emergency response teams.

I have ensured that members of the public can contact local officers by email to report a concern or a crime.  Full details are available online or, if you prefer, you can visit them at the police station – just call 101 and make an appointment.

Local priorities which we will tackle in the district include violent crime, theft from vehicles, anti-social behaviour in green spaces and road safety.

Fly tipping has increased in rural areas during the pandemic, but I am pleased that St Albans City and District Council are signed up to my scheme, which enables those who have rubbish dumped on their land to have it removed for free.

In 2020, I went on patrol with officers in local parks following reports of incidents. Chief Inspector Coates assured me both overt and covert officers are being used to address this issue and others in the district, backed up with a robust stop and search policy. I also witnessed the work of Operation Tango, which is a multi-agency team, including council and charity workers who are tackling rough sleeping, begging and street drinking.

In 2021 I will take delivery of two new speed-camera enabled road safety vans, which will be deployed to those areas where the community raises concerns about speeding.

David Lloyd - Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire

Dedicated service for every victim in Hertfordshire

Beacon: Hertfordshire victim centre

In the unlikely event of becoming a victim of crime, it is important to know that you are entitled to support and services.

I am keen to ensure people are aware of their rights and entitlements, while remaining informed on each step of the journey in the aftermath of a crime.

For the past five years Hertfordshire’s Beacon victim care centre has been providing free and confidential advice to support adults and children who have been a victim of crime. They can provide practical and emotional support; advice and information; advocacy and restorative justice (the opportunity to communicate with the perpetrator if appropriate).

Two new specialist units have been created to assist victims of domestic abuse and those suffering from anti-social behaviour. Beacon already has the UK’s first dedicated Fraud Hub who contact every person in the county who has fallen victim to the crime.

Beacon’s services are available to all victims, including those who have chosen not to report the crime to the police. 

The Beacon Helpline is open from Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm and Saturday from 9am to 5pm.


Hertfordshire is a safe place to live and work, but should you ever become a victim of crime then the Beacon team is available to help you. 

Contact the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire

Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, David Lloyd

To contact the Commissioner or find out more about his work and his new Community Safety and Criminal Justice Plan, visit his website (opens in a new window) or email.

Write to:

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner
Harpenden Police Station
15 Vaughan Road

Or call 01707 806100.

Social media

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You can follow the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire at:

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