The discovery of a batch of stolen parcels linked to a van theft was just one of a number of incidents that neighbourhood policing officers investigated during a busy day shift on the beat.
The Rushcliffe neighbourhood policing team also conducted high visibility patrols and community engagement in West Bridgford town centre and during a national week of action the force is giving a snapshot into the life of a local officer.
Nottinghamshire Police is shining a light on the work of neighbourhood policing teams, also known as the true ‘bobby on the beat’, as part of the Neighbourhood Policing Week of Action
Neighbourhood officer PC Matthew Holden gave an insight into his role in a short video featuring some of the work he does in a typical day.
He started the day by going over briefings and checking for any information, intelligence or any crimes that might have happened in their assigned area.
Shortly after their initial briefing, PC Holden was alerted to reports that a number of parcels had been tipped in a lane just off Stamford Way, West Bridgford.
Acting on instincts that this could be more than just a fly-tipping episode, he made his way to the scene to investigate further.
On arrival, officers found a large haul of empty parcels, with the intendent recipients’ address on them.
Matthew said: “It is our job to go out to these kinds of reports and decipher if and where crime has happened in our area.
“My initial instincts were that this could be linked to the theft of parcels or even the theft of a delivery van and what has been reported to us seems to be the rubbish that is left over.
“We also have to be mindful of any other safety risks and we wanted to get these parcels recovered as soon as possible as they have residents’ personal details and addresses on them. Looking at the addresses, they were all destined for Leicestershire and we suspect that whoever has stolen them has simply come to Nottinghamshire to get rid of their leftovers.
“We also consider it as a fly-tip as well so it’s important we work with our partners at the council to let them know that this has happened and get this cleared up.”
“Once we’ve got all the details we need to record, we’ll speak to Amazon and Leicestershire Police to see if this could relate to any reports they’ve had, and I’ll then head to the original informant to gather further information and thank her for letting us know about this.”
Following enquiries, the load was linked to an investigation into a van theft being conducted by Leicestershire Police.
After visiting the original informant, it was time to head into West Bridgford on foot patrol, and Matthew begun by stopping off in Central Avenue.
“Central Avenue is one of the main areas within by beat and we come here a lot. It is a really busy part of the town and coming on foot patrol really allows us to engage with the community and see things we might not necessarily have been made aware of otherwise.
“We see regulars, including a man named Paul who sells the Big Issue in the town centre. By building up that trust with him and by him simply choosing to conduct his lawful business there, we’ve seen that is has displaced a number of those who act antisocially in the town centre and we’ve seen less reports of this.
“It’s also the small things as well. For example, out on patrol we have just stopped and spoken to someone who was riding their pedal cycle on the pavement and advised them to go back out on the road. It’s this type of visibility and intervention that the public want to see from their local team and which are a key part of our work on the neighbourhoods.”
Neighbourhood police officers are constantly in and around their communities, monitoring crime and responding to what locals are telling them.
Having engaged with a number of shoppers and passers-by on the high street, Matthew headed back to the station to complete tasks on a running investigation into the theft of a van in the area. Each day, they are keeping their residents safe by patrolling key areas, analysing briefings, visiting members of the community and victims as well as conducting all important work with their partners.
Each ‘patch’ consists of an Inspector, Sergeants and a team of PCs and PCSOs, as well as a proactive Operation Reacher team. Each area has its own priorities and it the team’s job to identify what matters most to the community and offer a tailored policing offer and response for their residents.
Neighbourhood Policing Inspector for Rushcliffe Rob Lawton has worked on a variety of community and specialist teams throughout his time on the force, first getting a taste of neighbourhood policing as a Sergeant in the city.
He said: “First of all neighbourhood policing is an amazing place to work. It’s a place where you can do so many different things.
“You work with the community, you work with the public, you can be proactive, you can be reactive. It’s just got such a wide variety of things that you can do, as well as learning and getting your own experience ready for the future.
“I went into neighbourhoods as a Sergeant in the city centre and thoroughly enjoyed my time there. I’m a Neighbourhood Policing Inspector now and I still go back to some of the lessons I learned around partnership working, how to run operations, working with the community and those relationships.”
Inspector Lawton added: “The team balance that proactive and reactive work, and that’s what makes neighbourhood policing so great.
“We are here for our communities and the public and it is the most important thing for us to be out there and talking to them. It is the heart of neighbourhood policing.
“Relationships take time, both with communities and partners, so it is important to be visible, get to know our community and understand what they want in order to build that trust.
“It can be challenging and our officers do an amazing job. I ask a lot of them and I want thank them and let them know that I’m proud of them and the work that they do.”
During the week of action, led by the National Police Chief’s Council, Nottinghamshire Police is also continuing to encourage local residents to sign up to Nottinghamshire Alert so they can have direct engagement with the force and its partners around issues that matter to them.