Inspector Simon Riley’s Blog: January 2021
I’ll begin this month’s blog with an update on Operation HALIFAX, which is the investigation into the tragic murder of 16 year old Joe WHITCHURCH in Stapleford on Boxing Day. This investigation is being led by the East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU) Major Crime. Jake ROLLINSON (20) was charged, initially with attempted murder and is currently on remand in prison. Subsequently, Lorna RICHARDSON (25), also of Stapleford has been charged with Perverting the Course of Justice in connection with the murder. Richardson was released by the court on conditional bail.
It goes without saying that, like everyone in the local community, I was shocked and sickened by this tragic waste of life. My most sincere condolences go to Joe’s family and his friends for their loss.
Robbery offenders swiftly caught
Two robbery offenders were successfully hunted down and put before the courts this past month. Victor RICKETT (68) from Newstead, was charged and remanded for robbery, along with taking a vehicle and road traffic offences and Jayden ANDERSON (22) of Eastwood, was charged and remanded with the attempted robbery of a couple outside Tesco Express in Eastwood on January 12th. Both of these arrests came about as the result of some excellent police work by my teams at Eastwood and without their prompt response and diligence, these charges would not have been possible.
Beeston CID are currently investigating a series of distraction burglaries in Stapleford / Beeston which have occurred in the last few weeks. Sadly, elderly victims have been targetted by unscrupulous criminals who think it acceptable to prey on vulnerable, elderly people. If anyone has any information regarding these or similar offences, then please contact us and pass that information on – confidentially if you’d rather.
Local Policing Priorites
This month I have re-set our local policing priorities. Between January and March, these priorities will be;
1. Operation LARKSPUR (Stapleford)
This operation has been in existence since August 2020 and was set-up to pro-actively target ASB, violence and criminality, including the local drug trade in Stapleford, following an increase in these types of incidents coming out of the first national Covid lockdown.
Focussed on the town centre and the open spaces including Hickings Lane recreation Ground, Queen Elizabeth Park and Archer’s Field, the operation has seen additional patrols in place, some funded by overtime payments from Operation Scorpion (the national knife crime surge fund) and Operation Bion (Coronavirus funding). This has been the priority tasking for the Broxtowe Reacher team since they landed in October 2020.
The operation has had some good success since its inception, however, the shooting on Hickings Lane Park in November 2020 and the tragic murder of 16 year old Joe Whitchurch on Boxing Day, mean that this operation is now very much in focus and raised in priority for us. Op Larkspur will entail high visibility patrols, covert activity and proactive, intelligence led targeting of key nominals, including the enforcement of search warrants wherever this is possible. We will work with and alongside internal and external partners to achieve our aims in this.
2. Operation HADAR (Eastwood)
This is an operation set-up to pro-actively manage any vacuum created by the enforcement of Operation BOODLES in November 2020, which effectively dismantled an OCG operating out of Eastwood and controlling the lucrative local drugs trade.
We have identified that there are now gaps in the local drug market which will undoubtedly be attractive for other dealers to try and fill. Op HADAR is designed to identify these gaps, identify rival suppliers and prevent them getting a foothold in Eastwood and thereby preventing associated violent and acquisitive crime.
Op Hadar will entail high visibility patrols, covert activity and proactive, intelligence led targeting of key nominals, including the enforcement of search warrants wherever this is possible. We will work with and alongside internal and external partners to achieve our aims in this.
3. Burglary of people’s homes
This will always be a policing priority for Broxtowe Neighbourhood Policing Area. The impact on victims drives this as a priority. We have made some good in roads in the past 2 years into burglary on the borough and CAP data is currently showing excellent, sustained reductions.
Residential burglary is currently showing a reduction of 25% across the borough, whilst burglaries at business and community properties has reduced by 45% in the year to date (April 20 – January 21), meaning that our overall burglary reduction currently sits at 30%
It is acknowledged that the Coronavirus pandemic (and the initial ‘lockdown’ period in particular) has had a significant impact on the levels of burglary reported to us. However, to maintain current downward trends, we will keep burglary at the forefront of our policing activity.
A recent spate of distraction-style offences against elderly victims in Stapleford and Beeston is currently the focus of a CID investigation and is linked to similar investigations in the City and Derbyshire.
There are currently no other hotspots or trends. We will continue to target those offenders whom we know or suspect are responsible for this crime.
Finally, our response to the Coronavirus pandemic and the current lockdown remains focussed. We are still following the 4E’s approach to dealing with reported breaches of the Lockdown restrictions – Engage, Explain, Encourage and Enforce. I am pleased to say that the majority of people are still following the government instruction to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives. Unfortunately, a small number of people still think that it is socially acceptable to break the lockdown restrictions and gather in groups. Since this 3rd lockdown began on 30th December a total of 22 Fixed Penalty Notices have been issued to people breaching lockdown restrictions.
My message to you all is that this pandemic is not a game and the lockdown is not something which is negotiable. The restrictions – enshrined in law – are there to protect everyone and prevent the spread of the virus. We need everyone to play their part in beating this virus which has blighted our communities for almost a whole year.
Everyone, please stay safe.