A meeting was held in September 2017 between representatives of Hungerford Town Council and Thames Valley Police in order to help clarify the new arrangements with regard to local policing and, in particular, the status of the police presence at the new tri-service station. The following are brief notes of the main points.
This includes some information sent by the Thames Valley Police to the Full Meeting of Hungerford Town Council on 2 October 2017.
This post is intended as a general guide to policing arrangements in the area and to the local force’s relationship with Hungerford Town Council and will be amended as necessary and any significant revisions will be publicised in Penny Post. Its intention is not to discuss specific incidents or crime statistics: for these, please see the links provided below or the reports of the various Town Council and other meetings at which policing matters are discussed.
The local police service
Hungerford, like everywhere else in the Thames Valley, is policed by emergency response and neighbourhood teams. The emergency uniform response is a 24/7 service. The dedicated neighbourhood policing team deals with local policing issues. This team works a mixture of day and late shifts and is not available every day. The officers and PCSOs covering Hungerford are part of a larger team also covering Downlands so when appropriate they will provide mutual support. Sgt Alan Hawkett spends 50% time with both. If it is a non-urgent incident, PCSOs will respond. The police stressed that response officers will always have a police presence in Hungerford.
Nature of the tri-service station
The meeting revealed the station is not designed for visitors. The police made clear that the station is a base for them and is not for dealing with face-to-face enquiries. Officers intend spending as little time there as possible as they would rather be patrolling the streets or responding to incidents. The base allows them to spend more time in Hungerford.
For the same reason, the police do not want to be dealing with lost property and for that reason there was no letter box or drop box. Unless the property is unlawful, you should report it on 101 and are then entitled to retain or dispose it after six weeks. If the police need to take possession of the items, arrangements will be made.
Have Your Say meetings
These drop-in sessions give members of the public the chance to discuss any matters of concern with local Thames Valley Police officers. These take place as follows:
• The first Tuesday of the month, 12pm-4pm at Wyevale Garden Centre;
• The third Friday of the month, 10am-1pm in Tesco’s car park.
Presence at Council meetings
The police will do their best to attend and the Inspector may also do so on occasions but they cannot guarantee this. They are moving away from monthly reports as these are time-consuming and only deal with what has happened. As Hungerford doesn’t have a Neighbourhood Action Group they will look at doing a quarterly written report. They wish to focus on prevention and current info which they do by way of Thames Valley Alerts (TVAs). You can sign up on the Police website to receive these.
• For emergency enquiries ring 999.
• For non-emergency enquiries ring 101.
• For general information about policing in the area, please click here. For information about the Hungerford & Lambourn area (including contact details), please click here. For other areas, please click here and enter your postcode.
• There is no phone at the tri-service station. Thames Valley Alerts and emails to HungerfordandDownlandsNHPT@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk are the favoured method of communication. The email inbox is checked daily.
• The local police aim to visit to Hungerford once a month with the police van for the public ‘have your say’. There is also Crimestoppers which allows people to report a crime anonymously.
Reporting incidents and crimes
It’s important to remember that, so far as TVP is concerned, an incident or a crime only exists once it’s been reported. A unique reference number (URN) or crime number should be obtained whenever such a report is made and retained for further reference. The procedures for reporting crimes have in some cases been simplified recently, including for shoplifting, and this appears to have resulted in more crimes being recorded (and thus the perception that there are more crimes taking place).
At a meeting in Hungerford in March 2018, TVP Sgt Alan Hawkett stressed that in many cases incidents have not escalated into crimes simply because the matter was reported and the police were able to step in and stop the situation developing further. Reporting any such matters, by the most appropriate method (see above) is therefore not a waste of the police’s time.
It was agreed this is invaluable. Meetings take place as required and these are and will continue to be given wide publicity.
The CCTV network has recently been expanded with an additional (and high-definition) camera the the skate park. HTC and TVP will continue to discuss ways of further increasing the number of cameras, as the necessity requires and the finances permit.