Dear WMNow user – I had an idea to write a blog recently and then as I thought more about where to put it, I decided this would be as good a place as any. You only get this special insight if you’re on WMNow! Feel free to share.
So here it is, my first blog:
As a neighbourhood sergeant I spend a fair bit of time behind the desk of a computer, looking through reports of incidents, and organising and tasking officers. Lately though I’ve been able to get out a bit more and see some of the amazing people of Sutton Coldfield and Birmingham in general. I’ve just come back from a quick spin through the park on the bike to help look for a missing person, through the awesome Community Games at Wyndley, and then on into the town centre.
I was lucky to have some great colleagues on my team to help me arrest a well-known shoplifter making off with a stash as I entered the town, and then it’s back to the nick to write up the paperwork and spent “refs” (refreshments in layman’s terms) with Michelle, one of your PCSO’s who’s last day it is with us today before she goes off and starts a new adventure. It’s a sad day for us, she’s been really well appreciated by all the teams and members of the community and will be missed. I’m sure she’ll be back!
There’s been some ace work going on, Sutton has been hit hard by burglars over the last 12 months and beyond, and there have been loads of efforts from police departments and communities to try to do something about it.
For the time being at least, all that work has seen the rate drop, but don’t let that statement make you think that we’re going to be complacent, or that you should let down your guard down. There are still some very simple things you should be considering.
Mark your property with UV pens – it makes it harder to pass on and less desirable. Make it obvious you use property marking in your home.
Follow the WIDE principles:
Windows – double locked
Internal Lights – use timer switches indoors
Doors – locked and bolted
External Lights – passive infrared floodlights should be standard on any houses now.
These four things TOGETHER have been proven to decrease the risk of burglary significantly! Throw in an alarm and now a doorbell camera for a modern twist and you have some strong defences.
It’s not all about burglary though, we had a spate of robberies in the town centre and the park, which thanks to some good investigative work from the neighbourhood team, work with CID and Safer Travel colleagues, and swift action from the 24/7 crew and control room, identified and detained someone we were trying locate who we suspected of being involved. So far we haven’t had one since. Let’s be frank, we will get more at some point and with robberies, we don’t always get it right, but most of the time we do, and I’ll be working hard with my team to try to minimise it, and catch anyone responsible.
I’ve been a neighbourhood sergeant for the last 9 years, it’s not been all about crime, in fact that takes up probably only half of my time. One of the most rewarding aspects is pulling people together to make sure that some of our most vulnerable people get the support they need, and then seeing the difference it makes in their lives. I was dismayed, but not surprised, to hear the other day how little mentoring provision there is in the city for boys in particular. I’ve met some amazing social enterprises in the last couple of years who rely on funding from Active Citizens Funds or other charitable schemes to provide the means necessary to support the people that they make such an incredible difference to. It’s quite maddening when you think about how Birmingham is the youngest city in Europe, and the potential that is out there for greatness yet there is so little guidance for so many troubled teenagers. We need to do something about this as a collective. Over the next few weeks I’m going to contacting some of those people involved in projects I’ve previously worked with, to see what we can kick off! I grew up in north Birmingham and was lucky enough to have some great mentors of my own through Boys’ Brigade in Handsworth and Erdington, so this line of work is close to my heart.
There are ways you can support with all of this, whether it’s as simple as reporting those smaller incidents online to get a more efficient service and free up our busy call handlers, to something more amazing like volunteering as a Police Cadet Leader (we’re hoping to have one soon in Sutton Coldfield – more on that in the coming months) or starting a StreetWatch group to show you care about your neighbourhood.
Take care of yourselves during the summer holidays, I’ll write another one of these in a few weeks and hope to have some interesting things to tell you.