Agenda item


To receive a verbal presentation from Herts Constabulary on their work in the Southern Rural area.  


A verbal presentation was received from Guy Westwood of Hertfordshire Constabulary.


Audio Recording: 3:08


Sergeant Guy Westwood, Hertfordshire Constabulary, provided Members of the Committee with an update on crime and police matters in the Southern Rural area. This included:


·         The Neighbourhood team has been split into three teams across North Herts, which has freed Alan Clarke up to do work behind the scenes;

·         The Police priorities used to be set every three months, they are now set every 6 months with a 3 month review;

·         The three priorities are: Fly tipping, Residential burglary and Speeding;

·         Fly-tipping always comes up and remains a priority in this area;

·         Covert cameras are being placed in regular fly-tipping spots;

·         Residential burglary was a priority to focus on as the team believed there would be an increase of crimes due to the public returning to work;

·         Would have expected all crime to increase from previous year due to lockdown;

·         Hertfordshire as a whole has seen an crime increase of 4.3%. North Herts has seen a 1.5% decrease. Southern Rural has seen a 13% decrease in all crimes, from 890 last year to 774 this year;

·         19% decrease in arson and criminal damage;

·         35.8% decrease in public order offences;

·         33.6% decrease in theft;

·         37.3% decrease in vehicle offences;

·         50% decrease in theft from motor vehicles;

·         60% decrease in business burglaries;

·         50% decrease in racially aggravated crimes; 2 this year;

·         57% decrease in shoplifting;

·         Increase in hate crimes – could be down to encouragement to report it;

·         110 hate crimes this year compared to 96 last year;

·         Sex offences have increased from 23 last year to 49 this year, a 113% increase;

·         Business robberies have increased from 0 last year to 1 this year. Personal robberies have increased from 3 to 4;

·         Residential burglary has seen a 55% increase, 31 this year and 20 last year;

·         Drug offences have seen an increase from 20 to 26;

·         Theft of motor vehicles have increased by 33%. 18 offences to 24;

·         Fraud crimes are not included in these figures, as where the crime is reported is usually not where it is originally happening;

·         The team have been asking members of public to report any non-emergency reports on an Echo Link;

·         Police priorities are directly influenced by consultations with the public, through Echo Link reporting and OWL surveys.



The following Members asked questions:


·         Councillor Faye Frost

·         Councillor Sam North

·         Councillor Claire Strong

·         Councillor Mandi Tandi

·         Councillor George Davies


In response to questions, Sergeant Guy Westwood advised:


·         Plain clothed police officers have been assisting in Offley to focus on drug offences;

·         Members of public might not think there is a police presence when unmarked police vehicles are patrolling;

·         The team will post on social media when the priorities are reassessed;

·         Over the last 5 years the team size has stayed the same; Covid has been a problem but numbers have remained;

·         The team does liaise with the Bedfordshire police team, can be difficult to get them to engage with a problem they don’t see as a priority;

·         The OWL survey and Echo Link is where information is gathered as well as a Member’s meeting;

·         The Bedford Road camera van is not affiliated with the Neighbourhood team;

·         Personally handing the speeding letters to members of the public is a good way of preventing further offences;

·         Individual wards crime statistics can be provided outside of the meeting;

·         Anecdotal evidence can always be reported.


The Chair thanked Sergeant Guy Westwood for his report and for his team’s work in the area.