Thursday 26 January 2023
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Nottingham

Focus on speeding near schools in Nottingham

A Nottinghamshire policing inspector has vowed to continue listening to the public by cracking down on the crimes they say affect their lives most.

Slowing speeding drivers and stopping young people from causing a nuisance are concerns regularly heard by the city west neighbourhood policing team.

There has been a particular focus in recent months on reducing speeding in Basford and Wollaton – especially on roads near schools across the city west area.

Officers carry out regular high-visibility operations at the roadside to tackle speeding, using speed guns to pull over and challenge motorists who are going too fast.

The locations of these operations are all dictated by reports received from the public, with the city west’s neighbourhood policing inspector explaining why this work is so important.

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Inspector Gordon Fenwick said: “We don’t go out with the speed guns to ruin people’s day, to fine them, or put points on their licence – that’s not our objective.

“We have a responsibility to serve the community, and they are telling us that speeding concerns them, especially on roads around schools, of which we’ve got many in our area.

“It’s not about punishment, it’s about education, but we will obviously issue a ticket to anyone who is going over a certain speed threshold.

“Speeding does lead to accidents, does lead to injuries, and we want to work with the community to help stop this from happening.

“Providing this visible deterrent helps plant a seed in people’s minds to keep to the speed limit, so if we can keep people safe, we’ll be doing our jobs properly.”

Antisocial behaviour (ASB) involving young people is also a topic often raised by the public to Inspector Fenwick’s team, with this remaining one of his longstanding policing priorities for Aspley and Bilborough as a result.

Following a sharp spike in this type of offending in 2020 during the pandemic, levels of ASB have reduced substantially over the last two years and have now returned to pre-Covid-19 levels.

Key to this reduction has been the work carried out by officers to identify the young people involved in this activity and to stay one step ahead of them by carrying out extra patrols, targeted operations, and engagement work.

Sergeant Darran Owen said: “We have over 30 schools in the Aspley and Bilborough area, so this does inevitably lead to groups of youths gathering and committing various low-level offences.

“This is a problem that moves around, so it’s all about using different tactics to identify the kids that are involved and which areas they’re hanging about, so we can bring their behaviour under control.

“As an example, after we received reports of buses being targeted by kids throwing stones, we worked with Nottingham City Transport to set up a ‘Trojan Bus’ that our officers were able to ride along on and witness offending first-hand.

“To the kids, stuff like this might just seem like a bit of fun, but we need to address it when it is low-level ASB, before it gets any worse later on.

“We’ve also got officers who work with the schools to highlight a particular problem or group and then do some educational bits within the schools and with the teachers to see if we can nip this behaviour in the bud.”

Acting quickly to identify the key protagonists involved in nuisance behaviour at the earliest possible stage is key to limiting this offending, according to Inspector Fenwick, who argued the tactics used “absolutely works”.

He said: “Whether it’s damaging property or being abusive to people in the street, this type of offending can really ruin people’s lives, and if not confronted at an early stage, it will escalate as these kids get older.

“The local officers are all aware of who these people are and will continue to try and engage with them and map out who they’re hanging out with to try and stop these groups from growing.

“If you have a group of 15 emerging kids, you’ll then find out you’ll be able to divert 10 of them away by speaking to their parents or guardians and getting them on a behavioural contract.

“We’ll typically patrol hot-spot areas and if we come across them misbehaving, we can put dispersal notices in place, or march them home if needs be.”

Nottinghamshire Police is focusing on the work carried out by police in the community this week as part of neighbourhood policing week of action, which runs from 23-29 January 2023.

Speaking about the importance of this form of policing, Inspector Fenwick added: “To use youth-related ASB and speeding as an example, we are focusing on these offences because they are what the public have told us they’re concerned about.

“That’s what neighbourhood policing is all about – listening to what the public thinks our priorities should be and acting on what they say.

“This form of policing makes a real difference to the standard of life for people in the community and is incredibly valuable in allowing us to respond to the public’s needs and concerns.”

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