Staying in touch during the pandemic
I lead a team of PCs and PCSOs called the Safer Neighbourhood Team.
We work to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour in this area.
We are based at Watford 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 Ellie Berry
How we are working to keep your neighbourhood 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.
Drug crime in the High Street.
We have conducted plain-clothes operations at train stations to make it difficult for suspected drug dealers to enter Watford via the rail network. These proved a success and we made several arrests including one person found with 50 wraps of crack cocaine, which was seized. We continue to make Watford a hostile place for drug crime.
Anti-social behaviour and street drinking.
One hotspot was Wilmington Close, where we identified that the home of a vulnerable resident had been taken over by a gang to deal drugs from.
We worked with the council, housing and mental health services to support the resident. The resident moved away, and the group causing issues left. To tackle street drinking, we ensure all Public Place Protection Order breaches are reported, and we issued community protection notices and warnings to repeat offenders.
We saw a rise in purse dipping offences after the first lockdown so ran several covert operations to identify offenders. In one, we arrested two people and when we located their vehicle, we found several stolen debit cards. Recently we ran an operation with Watford Borough Council and Trading Standards in response to intelligence alleging stolen goods were being sold. Suspected counterfeit goods were seized and we’ve seen a significant reduction in reports since.
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
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 Ian Grout
I took up the role of Watford Chief Inspector in September 2020 and brought with me more than two decades of experience in policing.
I am Watford born and bred. I have lots of local knowledge and I am committed to tackling the crimerelated issues affecting those who call our town home.
Watford is one of the busiest areas in the county in terms of demand on policing, so since my arrival as Chief Inspector, I have worked to understand the town’s key crime priorities. I have also met with
partner agencies who play a key role in maintaining public safety and reducing crime and supported
my teams as they relentlessly tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.
I’m looking forward to working closely with local partner agencies to create an even safer borough for people to live, work and visit.
Officers speak to young people about knives
Officers have been providing a daily presence in the town centre and near the college after several knives were found in foliage during a weapon sweep in the area.
As part of this, PCs and PCSOs from the Watford Safer Neighbourhood Team have been explaining the dangers of carrying a knife to young people as they walk to and from school or college.
Two PCSOs from the Watford Community Safety Unit, who are dedicated to engaging younger
people, also gave anti-knife crime workshops in schools when children returned after the lockdown.
These included interactive sessions, virtual assemblies, ‘question andanswer’ sessions and presentations from anti-violence charities. This was for both primary and secondary age pupils and was part of their ongoing youth-related crime prevention scheme.
The Watford Central Safer Neighbourhood Team is also planning to carry out a joint operation with
British Transport Police at train stations in the town in the near future.
They will be using knife-detecting wand technology and stop and search powers to stop suspected criminals and anyone else who chooses to carry a weapon on Watford’s streets.
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.
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
Your Safer Neighbourhood Team is based at:
Watford Police Station
To contact the team or to make an appointment to speak with them, please email them or call 101.
You can follow local police at:
Other useful local contacts
Protect your money
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
We all know that 2020 was different, difficult and challenging but the plan to build Hertfordshire’s largest ever police force remains on track.
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).
More officers for one of the largest police stations in the county
As the county’s largest town, Watford has one of the largest police stations with an open front counter. Led by new Chief Inspector Ian Grout, it includes local neighbourhood officers, detectives and emergency response teams. I have ensured that members of the public can contact local officers to report a concern or to make an appointment to see them. Contact details are in this newsletter.
The close proximity to London and good transport links risks bringing criminality to Watford. In 2020, I have funded an extension of the countywide SOS+ Serious Violence project to enable it to identify and support high risk young people. Frontline officers will continue to have my full backing to use their full stop and search powers following an intelligence-led practice to improve stop and arrest ratios.
Fly tipping does not just blight rural areas. This year a scheme run by my office, which funds the removal of rubbish dumped on private land, was used in Watford for the first time.
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
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
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.
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner
Harpenden Police Station
15 Vaughan Road
Or call 01707 806100.
You can follow the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire at: