Presentation from Chief Inspector Sharon Baker of Avon & Somerset Police
The Chairman welcomed Chief Inspector Sharon Baker of Avon and Somerset Police.
The Chief Inspector provided Members with a Power Point presentation on the work of the Police. She said:-
· South Somerset had 6 police locations across the area, 3 had Patrol officers and Neighbourhood teams and 3 had just Neighbourhood teams. There were no plans to close any of the stations, but some may move to co-locate with Local Councils or fire stations where it makes sense.
· Crime had changed so policing had also adapted. About 30% of police work related to crime and the rest was people in crisis, those missing, suffering mental ill health etc. Also people were more likely to be a victim of crime in their own home with on-line cyber crime.
· All prisoners were now taken to Bridgwater which had expert facilities and detainee staff who dealt with them, so freeing officers to return to work. There were also fewer prisoners due to legislative changes and most people were interviewed voluntarily by appointment.
· Body worn video cameras were helping by capturing evidence from a scene and improving evidence and therefore there were more earlier guilty please and less complaints.
· New technology now meant that officers did not need to be in a police station. Laptops and mobile phones allowed them to work in the community.
· Analyitics allowed immediate access to crime trends in an area which was helpful for officers at Parish Council meetings.
· Officers and sergeants met every fortnight to discuss their priorities and could bid for further support if needed to deal with a particular issue.
· They were trialling Facebook accounts to talk to the public and could be followed on Twitter where wanted photos could be posted. The public were reporting on social media rather than direct to the police.
· Operation Uplift would mean an increase of around 330 officers per year for the next 3 years.
In response to questions from Members, the Chief Inspector confirmed:-
· There were 50 uniformed officer across South Somerset and 50 across Mendip.
· The Neighbourhood teams generally did not respond to emergency calls but they did respond to slow-time requests.
· All the beat teams had been moved to work the same shift pattern. This had increased productivity and was better for the health and wellbeing of staff.
· Officers who were moved for development reasons would be replaced in the towns which they left.
· Operation Remedy had been operating for 6 months and was very successful. It had focused on burglary, drugs and knife crime.
· The mini-police project were working with 3 schools in Somerset and would be expanding to more as it was very positive.
· Operation Topaz was aimed at disrupting child sexual exploitation. They raised awareness by presentations to schools and briefings for governors.
· It was difficult to say how prevalent the county lines drug issue was but the established lines were targeted and beat officers carried out daily checks on vulnerable people who were susceptible to cuckoo drug dealing.
· The police worked in partnership with many organisations to reduce police time spent dealing with mental health issues.
The Chief Inspector agreed to follow up individual enquiries made by Members.
At the conclusion of the debate, the Chairman thanked Chief Inspector Baker for attending and providing an informative presentation and answering Members questions.