ON THE BEAT: By Inspector Jim Tyner
Sometimes it might seem to people that The Thin Blue Line is spread thinly across the district. It has been well documented in recent months that Lincolnshire Police have the lowest number of officers since the 1970s.
When I took over as Community Policing Inspector for South Holland I stated my intention that the towns and villages across South Holland should receive the same level of policing as Spalding. That is not always easy to achieve and I sometimes receive correspondence from Parish Councils across South Holland concerned at the lack of policing in their area.
I do recognise the unique challenges that some of our towns and villages face, particularly those close to the county boundaries. Those challenges are nothing new.
If we look at the extreme edges of the district, in Crowland, Cowbit and Deeping St Nicholas there have been a total of 117 reported crimes (compared to 157 last year). This is an average of two or three crimes a week and is a 25% reduction.
In Long Sutton, Sutton Bridge, Tydd Gote and The Gedneys there have been a total of 452 reported crimes. This is an average of nine crimes a week and a 17% reduction on the previous year. In Spalding there were 1,498 crimes over the same period (a slight rise from 1474 the previous year).
We measure recorded crime as a ‘year to date’ figure since 1st April. An examination of the crime figures for South Holland show that there have been 139 dwelling burglaries across South Holland since 1st April last year (a 12% reduction on the previous year). The burglaries were spread across the district as follows:
* 83 in Spalding
* 18 in Holbeach
* 14 in The Suttons
* 12 in Pinchbeck, Surfleet, Gosberton, Quadring and Donington
* 6 in Whaplode and The Moultons
* 6 in Crowland, Cowbit and Deeping St Nicholas
I use burglary as an example, because it is a crime that people are likely to report. This explains why I concentrated Operation Bonus in Spalding. There have been some very good results linked to Operation Bonus, but I am unable to comment further while trials are pending.
Anyone with access to the internet can check on crime in their locality by looking at a site called Crime Mapper. Visit www.police.uk<http://www.police.uk/> and put in your post code to see crime in your street, estate, village or town.
If you visit Crime Mapper and look at December as a snapshot for reported crime and anti-social behaviour, you will see the following totals:
* 214 in Spalding
* 54 in Spalding Rural
* 57 in Holbeach
* 42 in The Suttons
These figures show why I sometimes have had to concentrate resources in Spalding while still providing a balance in other towns and villages.
While I understand feelings about the lack of police visibility I must consider the needs of all towns and villages in South Holland and ensure that the allocation of resources is balanced according to demand.
We currently have 15 PCSOs in South Holland. If you want to see the ones for your area, their details are on the Crime Mapper website. They are allocated across the district as follows:
* 6 in Spalding
* 4 in Spalding Rural
* 3 in Holbeach
* 2 in The Suttons
This is an even spread that matches our demand. The PCSOs provide high visibility, community engagement and a response to much of the reported anti-social behaviour.
However, the provision of PCSOs is only one of the ways that we police the area. My police officers provide 24/7 response to incidents. I am also able to request resources, such as the Dog Unit or Roads Policing Unit, in response to specific problems.
One way people can help us achieve greater visibility is by becoming volunteer Special Constables. I have written in the past about how special I think these volunteers truly are.
I would love to see more recruits to the Special Constabulary, particularly from Sutton Bridge, Crowland and other towns and villages outside Spalding. Recruits are fully trained, equipped and carry full police powers.
If you have a minimum of four hours a week to spare and think you could make a contribution to policing your community, then please contact the recruitment team at headquarters or visit http://lincs.police.uk/Join-Us/Volunteers/Special-Constables/
You provide the local knowledge; we provide the uniform.