Top cop’s promise to Spalding - ‘We are here and we care’

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The people of Spalding can count on the police “as and when they need us”, according to the two men running Lincolnshire’s policing service.

Chief Constable Neil Rhodes and Coun Marc Jones, Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Lincolnshire, brought words of reassurance with them to Spalding where a summer police engagement day took place on Thursday.

The event came just a day after an inquest into the deaths of Lance (57), Claire (48) and Charlotte (19) Hart, all three of Hatt Close, Moulton, was opened and adjourned at Boston Coroner’s Court.

Mr Rhodes said the timing of the police’s community engagement day “couldn’t have been better” after the shocking events just nine days earlier when Lance, Claire and Charlotte Hart all died in a shotgun incident outside Spalding’s Castle Sports Complex.

“It is really important that we get out and make our ourselves accessible to our communities,” Mr Rhodes said.

“Spalding is close to my heart because my wife is a Spalding girl so I’ve spent quite a lot of time here and we’ve had lots of members from the community getting to understand that police officers are people you can talk to.

The first of this summer's Lincolnshire Police community engagement days at Spalding's Sheep Market car park with Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones, Chief Constable Neil Rhodes and officers from the East Midlands Operational Support Services teams and future police officer Arthur Waters (seven).  Photo by Tim Wilson.

The first of this summer's Lincolnshire Police community engagement days at Spalding's Sheep Market car park with Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones, Chief Constable Neil Rhodes and officers from the East Midlands Operational Support Services teams and future police officer Arthur Waters (seven). Photo by Tim Wilson.

“We had this public engagement event planned for a long time but actually the timing of it couldn’t have been better because what it will do is reassure the people of Spalding that the people are here and we do care about them.

“The events (of Tuesday, July 19, when the Harts died), by any measure, were just absolutely tragic and the community needs to know that we care about Spalding and that we were there to support and to help.”

Visitors to the engagement day found out about a new Young Persons’ Advisory Group, launched by Coun Jones and Deputy PCC Coun Stuart Tweedale to get the views of young people aged between 14 and 24 on crime and policing in Lincolnshire.

There was also emphasis on the growing threat from cybercrime, with an estimated two million cases between March 2015 and 2016, according to the Office for National Statistics, hare coursing and shoplifting.

The events of Tuesday, July 19, (when Lance, Claire and Charlotte Hart died) were just absolutely tragic and the community needs to know that we care about Spalding and that we were there to support and to help

Neil Rhodes, Chief Constable of Lincolnshire Police

Coun Jones said: “There are certain things which are urban issues but, within those areas, there are issues specific to very rural patches.

“We have challenges such as hare coursing, which will continue to be something that we’ll want to fight, and equally you have more urban things such as shoplifting.

“In smaller communities, it’s about how we get police, Neighbourhood Watch and parish councils involved to really put a blanket of protection over the vulnerable people here.”

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