Congratulations to Police Now participant Police Constable Jessica Swallow, who was a finalist in Lancashire Constabulary’s Problem Solving Awards, on Tuesday 7 September.
The Problem Solving Awards recognise Lancashire police officers for their strong problem-oriented policing (POP) work in their communities. PC Swallow was nominated for the award for her work around repeat anti-social behaviour car meets in Accrington, having joined the force only 10 months ago.
The force became aware of car meets and cruises of up to 150 vehicles in Hyndburn North and Central, leading to antisocial and dangerous driving and speeding, which was causing distress to residents and businesses in the local area as well as endangering the public.
PC Swallow worked with colleagues and partner agencies including Lancashire’s Drone Team, local councillors and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency to identify a working strategy to tackle the problem. High visibility patrols and police drones were deployed in ‘hot spot’ areas, and social media was utilised to spread awareness of the issues, deter car cruises and encourage residents to report incidents to the police. Organisers of the car meets were also visited at home and spoken to about their role in the meets and how it was affecting the local community and police resources.
As a result of PC Swallow and the Hyndburn Neighbourhood Team’s work, the number of incidents and complaints being received in relation to car meets in the area has reduced. The number of police logs or reports about the issue reduced to 0 in the months of June and July this year. Previously, complaints to officers had been coming in most weekends and bank holidays.
PC Swallow, participant on Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme, said “This is the first project since becoming a police officer that I have had the pleasure to lead. It was great to support residents who felt they had been let down in the past, and to deliver some visible results for them and the businesses in the area. We still have more work to do going forward but I am positive about getting more partners and relevant agencies involved.”
The awards were attended by over 60 members of staff from Lancashire Constabulary including Chief Constable Chris Rowley and Assistant Chief Constable Sam MacKenzie, alongside other guests. All entries in Lancashire Constabulary’s Problem Solving Awards are entered into the National Problem Solving Conference (The Tilley Awards). The Tilley Awards were set up in 1999 by the Home Office to publicise the use of POP, which provided more effective and sustainable solution to Police related incidents.
Assistant Chief Constable Sam MacKenzie, of Lancashire Constabulary, said: “Jess delivered an outstanding piece of problem solving. I was particularly impressed with how she came to understand the real community and public safety impact of this issue and then tailored her approach to immediately reduce the problem, whilst developing a response to prevent it in the longer term. Helping our communities deal with the problems that matter most to them is at the core of Neighbourhood Policing and Jess is a great example of what can be achieved.”