To receive a verbal update from Hertfordshire Constabulary on their work in the Southern Rural area.
A verbal presentation was received from PS Guy Westwood and Inspector James Lant of Hertfordshire Constabulary.
Audio recording – 3 minutes 3 seconds
PS Guy Westwood from Hertfordshire Constabulary gave a verbal update and advised:
· Priorities in the Southern Rural area were speeding, fly tipping and anti-social behaviour including unlawful drug usage in open spaces.
· Crime numbers for this year ran from 1 April 2022 to 27 February 2023, in line with the dates provided in the update last year.
· Hitchin Rural had seen all reported crimes decrease to 747 compared to 786 last year, North Hertfordshire had seen an increase to 5,959 from 5,550 previously and County overall had seen an increase to 69,552 from 67,702 last year.
· Hitchwood, Offa and Hoo, Chesfield and Knebworth had seen a decrease in reported crimes. Kimpton and Codicote had seen an increase in reported crimes this year.
· Hitchin Rural had seen an increase in residential burglaries to 35 from 32, North Hertfordshire had seen an increase to 183 from 176 and County overall had seen an increase to 2,282 from 2,248 last year.
· Hitchwood, Offa and Hoo and Chesfield had seen a reduction in residential burglaries, while Kimpton, Knebworth and Codicote had seen an increase.
· Some of the residential burglaries had been domestically related.
· Rural areas had seen an increase in burglaries involving businesses and communities, with 19 cases from 10, North Hertfordshire had seen an increase to 138 cases from 94 and County had seen an increase to 1,139 from 992.
· The Police were working closely with bordering forces as these crimes are likely caused by out of county criminals.
· Hitchin Rural had seen a decrease in thefts from motor vehicles, with 31 incidents compared to 33 last year. North Hertfordshire had seen an increase to 271 from 235 and County had seen an increase to 3,768 from 3,438.
· Hitchwood, Offa and Hoo, Chesfield and Knebworth had seen a decrease. Kimpton and Codicote had seen an increase.
· Catalytic converters were the most common parts stolen and were normally shipped abroad.
· Personal robbery levels had stayed the same in Hitchin Rural with 4 cases. North Hertfordshire had seen a decrease with 26 incidents compared to 30 and County overall had seen an increase to 548 incidents from 489.
· Violence against Persons had decreased across Rural, North Hertfordshire and County overall. Kimpton had seen a slight increase
· Criminal Damage had increased in Hitchin Rural to 83 incidents from 77 previously. North Hertfordshire incidents had increased to 736 from 620 and County had seen an increase to 6,632 from 6,623. Knebworth was the only ward to have seen a decrease in criminal damage.
· Shoplifting had seen an increase across Hitchin Rural, North Hertfordshire and County-wide. Chesfield was the only ward to have seen an increase in shoplifting. Most of the reports had come from Budgen’s in Great Ashby.
· Hate crime incidents had reduced across the Community safety partnership to 97 from 109.
· Drug offences had reduced to 22 from 24. Chesfield and Codicote had seen an increase, Kimpton had remained the same with reductions in Hitchwood, Offa and Hoo and Knebworth.
· Anti-social behaviour reports had decreased to 281 from 309. Graveley, Wymondley and Hitchwood, Offa and Hoo had seen an increase.
· Neighbourhood Watch continued to grow with 5388 members overall. The area with the lowest coverage was Oughton, with Codicote at nearly 60% coverage.
· There were four instances of fly tipping, which was not a true reflection.
The following Members asked questions:
· Councillor Ralph Muncer
· Councillor Faye Frost
· Councillor Claire Strong
· Councillor Mandi Tandi
· Councillor George Davies
In response to the questions, PS Westwood and Inspector Lant advised:
· There would be an increased police presence in Kimpton. Weekend meetings could be an option for engagement.
· The crime metrics for Kimpton were low, however the percentage made reports seem high.
· The Council dealt with fly tipping reports and prosecution, however the police offered assistance and interview rooms to the Officer when needed.
· It was young people that tended to use nitrous oxide. The Police were working with North Hertfordshire College on and education campaign on its usage.
· Nitrous oxide usage was not covered in the Misuse of Drugs Act. Anti-social behaviour arising from its use was for the Police to deal with. Littering of canisters was not the responsibility of the Police
· The location of canisters would be helpful for intelligence. The public could use Crimestoppers to report this.
· There were issues surrounding domestic violence-related burglaries, and would be dealt with through the domestic violence unit.
· Deterrents such as locks, lights and CCTV could reduce incidents of residential burglary. The OWL network kept public informed of reports nearby
· It was hoped a Barn Meet would be held this year to engage with Farmers.
The Chair thanked PS Westwood and Inspector Lant for their presentation.