Have your say on Watford’s new local policing priorities – December 2023
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The Watford Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) would like to hear from the community as they prepare to decide the town’s next set of policing priorities.
The team is split across three ‘beat’ areas – Watford North, Watford Outer and Watford Central – where officers regularly review their priorities using police intelligence as well as information provided by the public and partners.
The SNT is tasked with fixing short and long-term neighbourhood issues such as anti-social behaviour. They work closely with local partners including the council, housing associations and schools to achieve this.
This will be the first time the team has set the new SNT priorities since moving to the new town-centre police station on George Street last week.
Inspector Dan Jones, who leads the team, said: “As we start thinking about the next set of priorities, it’s important that we hear from residents. What do you think we should focus on? Is there a particular problem that you would like us to prioritise?
“We want to know your views and will take them into consideration when we set the new priorities. Please let us know using echo, our online community voice platform, by Monday 11 December. We will review all the information we receive, and our new priorities will be announced shortly after.”
How can you tell us what you think?
Visit the Watford echo page (opens in a new window) to submit your feedback completely anonymously. However, please give us as much information about the issues as you can – dates, times, and locations of incidents are very important.
What work have we done against our previous set of policing priorities?
You said: Anti-social behaviour and crime in and around the High Street.
We did: In addition to increasing our patrols around peak times, we’ve been working with our Safer Watford partners to address concerns from businesses and shoppers. Police officers and PCSOs have run several Safer Streets events – the latest being in Market Street – with Watford Borough Council, Watford’s Hate Crime Officer, and the Community Safety Unit, to offer reassurance, develop intelligence, and increase membership to our Business Watch messaging service.
Several people have been sentenced for committing crimes against town centre businesses. One 40 year old man was sent to prison after admitting to five commercial burglaries, and a 26 year old man was sentenced to eight months after pleading guilty to breaking into a Watford restaurant.
We continue to work closely with businesses, the Atria and Watford BID to make the town centre a hostile place for criminals. With help from the council’s CCTV operator team five teenagers were arrested after nearly £2,000 in clothing was stolen from Uniqlo in the Atria, which was later recovered. In a separate incident, we charged a man with three bike thefts after the CCTV team alerted us to suspicious activity in Charter Place.
You said: Anti-social behaviour in the town centre, with a focus on drug and alcohol use.
We did: Exchange Road and the surrounding area is covered by the Public Space Protection Order (PSPO), which makes it an offence to consume alcohol in public. In collaboration with the borough council, we have continued to enforce this legislation by conducting both uniformed and plain-clothes foot patrols, confiscating alcohol and moving people on where necessary. With the help of our Community Safety Unit and partners, we’re in the process of applying for Community Protection Warnings and Community Protection Notices to be issued to repeat offenders and working with housing partners to address issues of safety and security at their properties.
You said: Vehicle crime in the West Watford area.
We did: Using our data, we identified a significant spike in vehicle crime in West Watford and have taken a Prevention First approach to combat it, firstly by focusing our regular patrols in the areas most affected. Secondly, we have planned and delivered multiple evening and night-time operations to check that motorists are locking their cars. Of those we find that aren’t, we notify the owners and ensure they secure their vehicles before sharing crime prevention advice.
In our most recent night-time operation, we focused our resources on St James Road in Vicarage ward, which according to our figures had been the area most affected in the past month. We checked more than 100 vehicles, with nine found to be unlocked. We informed their appreciative owners, who quickly secured their vehicles. In addition to this proactive work we have also made four separate arrests in connection with vehicle crime in Watford, with some resulting in charge.
A 31 year old man from Watford has been charged with three vehicle interference offences and is due to stand trial later this month. A 32 year old man from Radlett has been remanded in custody after being charged with two counts of vehicle interference, and a 38 year old man of no fixed address has been charged with two counts of theft from a motor vehicle. He remains on remand at this time.
In some cases, we were able to arrest the suspect after a quick-thinking member of the public reported suspicious activity in their street. If you think you’re witnessing a crime, don’t hesitate to dial 999 and provide us with as much information as possible without putting yourself in harm’s way.
To receive police messages about a range of topics including burglaries, scams and missing people in your local area, sign up to owl.co.uk/herts or download the ‘OWL crime alerts’ app from your app store.