Sunday 19 May 2024
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City Centre police boss vows to tackle crime in Nottingham

The new police officer in charge of policing in the Nottingham City Central district has vowed to continue the fight against serious crime, antisocial behaviour and burglary after taking over the reins.

Inspector Ben Lawrence has spent the past three years heading up the area’s response policing teams, dealing with 999 incidents.

Now he is relishing the opportunity to make the community safer by leading on visibility, engagement and building trust, having been appointed as the area’s new neighbourhood inspector.

His team is made up of four sergeants, 20 police constables and 15 PCSOs. Together, they engage with communities to identify and understand local issues before working with partners and residents to help tackle them.

Inspector Lawrence, a former Royal Air Force officer who joined Nottinghamshire Police in 2019, said: “I’m excited to be taking over the role of neighbourhood inspector for the City Central district, which encompasses Berridge, Radford & Park, Hyson Green & Arboretum and Wollaton East & Lenton Abbey wards.

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“We’re currently in a very good place with local crime rates falling at a much higher rate than the national average – but I’m not complacent and we are determined to do even better.

“I am confident we can achieve this. We have more officers than we have had in a long time and my team are working on a number of exciting initiatives – alongside internal and external partners – that are designed to make the local community even safer than it already is.”

Inspector Lawrence started his policing career at the City of London Police in 2005. He then moved to the Metropolitan Police before taking a break from policing to join the Royal Air Force – starting as an air operations officer and finishing as a training manager. He returned to policing in 2019 after landing a job as an inspector with Nottinghamshire Police.

Having recently been appointed the neighbourhood inspector for City Central, part of his role is to set local priorities and agree on what needs to be done to tackle the issues with communities and partners.

Insp Lawrence said his team’s current priorities were combating serious violence, reducing antisocial behaviour and tackling burglary.

Explaining the reasons for the first priority, Insp Lawrence said: “We’ve not had many reports of serious violence, but we’ve set that as a priority because of the damage things like knife crime can cause not only to individuals and families but to the wider community.

“To take Radford as example, we had a fatal stabbing recently but such incidents are exceptionally rare. It is a nice community with a nice community feel there. We don’t want anything to upset that, such as any incidents of violence of knife-crime.

“Therefore we are working with the force’s knife crime team, Operation Reacher, Nottingham City Council, Outreach teams and the Youth Justice Service to ensure we deal with any issues that come up as quickly as we can. Together, we also implement a lot of preventative initiatives – such as the Mini Police programme and Police Cadets – in an effort to steer people away from criminality.”

The second priority – antisocial behaviour – was set despite rates falling significantly in the area in recent times. Insp Lawrence explained: “This is an issue we take seriously, and thanks to some fantastic work by my officers and our partners, reports of antisocial behaviour are down by over 30% in this neighbourhood over the past year, which means we’re performing far better than the national average.

“We are making really good inroads but that doesn’t mean there isn’t more to be done and so we’ll continue to work with partner agencies and the council’s Community Protection Officers on this. Places like play areas are for the community to use and enjoy and we won’t tolerate anyone using those areas for antisocial behaviour. That means if we have use dispersal orders and banning orders, we will do.”

There is also good news to report on the neighbourhood team’s third policing priority – burglary. Insp Lawrence said: “We have had some good results around burglary recently. We’ve arrested two people who have been charged with a string of burglaries in the Lenton area and have been remanded to court. Since that’s happened, we’ve seen a significant reduction in burglary.

“Every year we do see a spike in burglary around the time students move into the area. A lot of that burglary is preventable and we have a campaign every year in conjunction with the universities to increase awareness around personal and building safety for new students.

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“My message to local people is double-check your windows and doors are secure before you leave the house – especially sash windows as they can look closed but can be lifted up if not properly locked.”

In order to deliver on the three policing priorities, Insp Lawrence said his team would need help from the local community.

He said: “In order to achieve our aims I want the community to continue to tell us what issues are causing them concern and to have the confidence to report information to us.

“I promise that all information shared will be reviewed by an officer to see if we can take action and, of course, anything reported will always be treated in the strictest confidence.

“My intention going forward is to keep people updated on the proactive police work going on in their communities to tackle our neighbourhood policing priorities, giving them the confidence to share their concerns and enabling us to take the appropriate action to combat crime.”

You can contact the City Central neighbourhood policing team via the Nottinghamshire Police website or by calling 101.

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