Inspector Simon Riley’s Blog: March 2019
Welcome to my latest blog. As I type, we have just officially entered Spring and the clocks are about to go forward.
Spring is always a time of great optimism for me as the earth wakes up after the darkness of winter. Despite some of the awful events going on in the world at present and the ongoing political crisis in the UK, the prospect of longer, sunnier days and warmer weather just around the corner once again is a great source of motivation to me in continuing to try and make a difference. I hope that you are all also able to find similar inspiration from the new season, in whatever you do.
Sadly, however, events in Christchurch, New Zealand on Friday 15th March, were a stark, horrific reminder to us all, as to the effect a major incident elsewhere in the world can have on our communities locally. My team and I have been in regular contact with the Muslim community in Broxtowe since Christchurch and I have offered my reassurance and support to them in the wake of this horrific tragedy. My officers have been conducting reassurance patrols around the mosque on Evelyn Street in Beeston with a particular focus on Friday prayers and will continue to do so in the coming weeks.
I recently attended the ‘Visit my Mosque’ open day at the Muslim Centre on Evelyn Street, along with various members of the local policing teams here at Beeston. This was a fantastic event, which gave us an insight into the Muslim faith and saw us receiving some amazing hospitality and food from our hosts. Most important for me though was to see the work being done to convert an old industrial unit at the rear of the mosque into a new community centre which will be for the use of the whole community locally and not just followers of the Islamic faith.
To see the amount of work done already and to hear the vision that Shafique and his team at the Muslim Centre have for the place was tremendous. The promotion of community cohesion is a priority for us all – this type of inclusivity and feeling of community has to be the way to defeat the evils of division in modern society and is vital in preventing any more tragedies like Christchurch.
Alongside the national and international context, this is particularly pertinent locally. In recent weeks we have had the issues which arose from the bespoke fitness classes for Muslim females, with a number of hate crimes being recorded as a result of that and in the past 2 weeks we have seen a slight rise in the number of hate incidents reported, some of which were directed at members of our Muslim community. Whilst this isn’t indicative of an upscaling in anti-Islamic rhetoric locally, it is nevertheless something we are monitoring closely.
Serious Violence Offence at Nuthall
The realities of knife crime hit home locally with a major incident that my teams were called to deal with at an address in Nuthall, overnight on Thursday 14th March. A total of seven individuals were hospitalised with injuries of varying severity, following disorder at the address involving knives/edged weapons. This necessitated a large policing operation at the scene and at 3 different hospitals in the region, protecting victims and making arrests. A total of 5 people have been arrested so far.
This is obviously a live investigation, so I am limited in what I can disclose to you but I would like to underline the message that I gave on BBC East Midlands Today the day after the incident that, whilst I understand there will be significant public concern about such an out of character incident for the location, there is no ongoing or wider threat to the local community.
We believe that the victims and offenders were known to each other and the reasons behind the accident are specific to them and don’t form part of a wider series of offending in the local area. The investigation remains live at this time, but all of those arrested have been released whilst enquiries continue. The victims and those arrested are not from Nottingham and at present, we do not know whether their assailants are local to us, or local to the area from which the victims originated.
If anyone has any information at all with regard to the incident, then please call 101 and quote incident number 0956-14032019.
Knife Crime Week of Action
That this incident should happen during Operation SCEPTRE, our force-wide knife crime ‘week of action,’ serves to underline just how serious the consequences of knife crime can be and that there is absolutely a need to continue to send out the message that the illegal carriage of knives and their use for criminal means will NOT be tolerated.
The knife crime week of action (Operation Sceptre) ran from Monday 11th March to Sunday 17th March. My teams all took part in engagement events in schools and youth organisations, undertook ‘hi-vis,’ pro-active patrols of potential hotspots and visited young people who have either been involved in, or are at risk of becoming involved in, knife crime.
Overall, as a result of the week of action, we made 7 arrests, including 2 youths arrested for bicycle theft in Beeston who also had knives in their possession.
Eastwood Drugs Enforcement
Partnership working came to the fore this past week with an enforcement operation by our colleagues from Derbyshire Police at an address on Scargill Walk in Eastwood. Four people were arrested from the offence as part of an investigation into drug dealing in Derbyshire. This follows the linked arrest of another Eastwood male a few days previously. We will continue to work closely with our colleagues from across the A610 on this and other matters. As a result of this enforcement action, we are now liaising with the local authority around the tenancy agreement at the address.
Cycle Coding Events
The Broxtowe South NPT have had a busy couple of weeks in relation to cycle thefts. As mentioned above, after a successful policing operation in Beeston town centre, two local nominals were arrested for the theft of a bicycle and possession of a bladed article. The investigation is on-going but this is a very good result for the team in an area which has been hit for cycle thefts recently.
They have also been involved in a number of cycle-coding events across the South of the borough, with over 100 local residents bringing their cycles for coding across 3 different venues.
Relevant crime prevention advice was also given and I’d urge local residents to ensure they get their bicycles security marked to try and deter would-be thieves.
We recently executed a warrant at an address in Beeston where we seized 11 cycles. Of these only 1 was postcoded and able to be reunited with it’s rightful owner. Had the remaining 10 been coded also, then not only could we have returned them to their owners, but we would then have potentially had enough evidence to have charged the offender with more than 1 theft.
Continued OPCC funding for Stapleford
Funding for Stapleford from the Office of the Police and Crime Commisioner as one of the PCC’s priority crime areas, will continue into the new financial year. To date, we have seen some successes in Stapleford as a result of the focus placed upon it by the OPCC. I am hopeful that this progress will be built upon and that together with our various partners on the Stapleford Focus Group, we can continue to make a difference in that area.
Pc Paul Toon Retires
Finally, may I pass on my best wishes and a huge good luck for the future to Pc Paul Toon who retired at the end of March. Paul spent 20 years with Nottinghamshire Police, all on the front line and the majority of them at Broxtowe North. He leaves a wealth of experience after becoming one of the best known faces in the community in Broxtowe North. Paul’s replacement, Pc Becky Wilson, will be starting with us during April.