Press release

Local Impact – Cheshire

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Police Now officers tackling crime and anti-social behaviour across Cheshire

Monday 24 May 2021

Nearly 40,000 fewer anti-social behaviour incidents nationally in areas with Police Now officers – equivalent to 14% fall

Substantial decrease in criminal damage & arson, burglary and theft amongst other crimes

Police Now attracts and develops the most diverse group of officers in policing

Police Now officers are playing a vital role in tackling crime and anti-social behaviour in Cheshire.

Communities nationwide where Police Now officers have been posted for the last 22-months have seen 38,772 fewer incidents of anti-social behaviour compared to the same time period from October 2016 – equivalent to a 14 per cent drop.

Officers on Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme have been working alongside their colleagues within their local neighbourhood teams.

As well as the drop in anti-social behaviour, communities have also seen 14,301 fewer incidents of criminal damage & arson – a fall of 13 per cent. There were 12,460 fewer incidents of burglary – a fall of 16 per cent – and 31,732 fewer incidents of theft, equivalent to a 14 per cent fall.

PC Gina Volp of Cheshire Constabulary investigated repeat anti-social behaviour that led to a probe into child sexual exploitation taking place in hotels. Intelligence suggested that young people were victims of a criminal operation in which vulnerable young females were taken to hotels by a female suspect, given drugs and alcohol and were sexually exploited by men who travelled from outside the force area.

Operation Waterside was launched and police powers were used to get information on potential suspects using the hotels and to warn other hotels about specific individuals. The investigation led to the arrest of a female suspect for sexual offences with bail conditions preventing her from contacting anyone under 16. Vulnerable females – identified as part of this operation – going missing from their homes has dropped by nearly two thirds and schools have reported increased engagement. Thirteen charges have been made in relation to the investigation, which was the overall winner of the 2020 Tilley Award – an awards programme set up by the Home Office to recognise problem-solving.

PC Volp said: “Training with Police Now equipped me with key skills that I have been able to use, alongside my Neighbourhood Policing colleagues, to identify and help solve problems within the communities I have served.”

Police Now’s mission is to transform communities by recruiting, developing and inspiring diverse leaders in policing.

Officers on Police Now’s programmes develop skills in leadership and problem-solving. They share a commitment to public service, fighting crime and inspiring social change alongside their colleagues.

Police Now has recruited a total of 1,830 officers across 33 forces in the UK, including Cheshire Constabulary, with 9 police constables joining the force via this route.

Police Now consistently recruits more officers who are women or from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds compared to any other entry route into policing. Police Now recruitment data shows that nationally, 17 per cent of those joining Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme in 2020 identified as coming from a black, Asian and minority ethnic background and more than half (54 per cent) identified as women.

“We’re incredibly proud of the positive impact our participants continue to have within their local communities, and their commitment to driving positive change with their colleagues so that everyone in our society, including the most vulnerable, have a chance to thrive”.

David Spencer

Co-founder of Police Now and former Detective Chief Inspector

Neighbourhood police officer | Gina Volp

Q&A with Police Constable Gina Volp

Neighbourhood Police Officer

National Graduate Leadership Programme Alumna

Cheshire Constabulary

Police Now is trying to increase diversity in the force. Do you think having a force that better reflects the community it serves helps to bring down crimes like anti-social behaviour and why?

Having a force that better reflects the community it serves undoubtedly ensures that we give the best possible service to the public.

What was the most important lesson you took from your training with Police Now that has enabled you to deal with crime / support your community?

Training with Police Now equipped me with key problem-solving skills that I have been able to utilise, alongside my Neighbourhood Policing colleagues, to identify, and help solve, problems within the communities I have served. The training emphasised that really understanding the problems in our communities enables you to come up with comprehensive, long term solutions that make lasting changes.

Have you implemented any new initiatives to reduce ASB or burglary crimes, or build confidence in policing in your community?

Through a series of multi-agency meetings, it became apparent that there were several youths who were repeatedly coming to the attention of a number of social services due to their involvement in anti-social behaviour and violence. After some intelligence gathering and information sharing with partner agencies, it became clear that a far more serious problem was occurring that was previously unknown to the police and our partners. Intelligence suggested that these youths were victims of a criminal operation in which vulnerable young females were taken to hotels by a female suspect, given drugs and alcohol and then sexually exploited by men who travelled from outside the force area.

To understand the extent of the problem, my team and I analysed the factors that made these children vulnerable and focused on targeting certain hotels, identified by intelligence, to establish what was enabling this child sexual exploitation (CSE) to take place. A multi-faceted response was implemented to safeguard the vulnerable victims using education, Child Abduction Warning Notices and partner agency inputs. We targeted hotels using ‘S116 Notices’, which can be served when the police reasonably believe that a hotel has been, or will be, used for the purpose of CSE. The notices allow police officers to quickly obtain information relating to potential suspects at the hotels, within a certain time period, and they enabled us to respond to information quickly and effectively.

Alongside this, we distributed educational leaflets that put an obligation on hotel staff to contact the police if they suspect any CSE taking place and issued ‘warning notices’ to other hotels in the area in order to prevent the suspect from moving to another hotel. We also liaised with officers from our neighbouring forces to ensure they were equipped with the appropriate information and intelligence, should they encounter any suspects involved in the CSE.

Following a complaint made from a hotel, the suspect was arrested for sexual offences and bailed with conditions that prohibited them from contacting anyone under the age of 16. As a result of the operation, most of the vulnerable females who had been subject to CSE no longer associate with the suspect. The number of times the vulnerable females in question have gone missing from home has also reduced by 64%. A significant number have expressed to their guardians that they are no longer friends with the suspect and now understand why their relationship with her was inappropriate. Partner agencies have also reported that family relationships have improved, and schools have reported an increase in engagement. Despite the suspect being previously unknown to police, there are now 42 pieces of intelligence about her on the police system. There has also been a further 13 charges secured as a result of this work.

(Winner of the Tilley Award: Investigations Category 2020

What has been the moment that you have been most proud of professionally in the last 22 months?

I am most proud of the work I’ve done to help protect vulnerable people. That’s the reason I joined the police, the reason why all of us join! Knowing that you’ve made a positive impact within your community is the most important thing.

Data references

Using data taken from Police Recorded Crime Statistics, the independently peer-reviewed figures compare the 22-month period from October 2016 to July 2018 before any Police Now officers had joined their local communities to the period when they joined from October 2018 to July 2020.

The data presented here is subject to limitations with Police Recorded Crime Statistics and methodology. More details on this are available at the bottom of the following Police Now webpage.

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VICKIE CUSTY

Media and Communications Manager

HANA TUCKER

Media and Communications Officer

Devon & Cornwall Police

Police Now | Devon & Cornwall Constabulary
cc-shaun-sawyer

Shaun Sawyer

Chief Constable

National Graduate Leadership Programme

Cohorts: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
No. of police officers enrolled: 8

National Detective Programme

Cohorts: —— —— —— —— 2019 2020
No. of police officers enrolled:

Case studies: