PC Smith and her colleagues on the Wisbech Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) became aware of increased incidents of people driving without licenses, number plates, or insurance and with an overall lack of consideration for other people in public spaces, inevitably endangering others. Groups were also getting hold of e-scooters and e-bikes and causing damage to public gardens.
In order to tackle this issue, PC Smith worked with the Road Policing Unit to develop a problem-solving plan, looking at how to convict those breaking the law on the one hand and raise awareness of the issues, risks and penalties on the other.
Together, they ran an intelligence-gathering operation to identify individuals; taking statements, gathering footage from doorbell cams and dash cams, and engaging directly with the perpetrators to discourage further anti-social behaviour (ASB).
They also launched Operation Scoot, which involved engaging with members of the public and raising awareness of illegal uses of e-scooters, through social media campaigns and leaflets. The NPT, assisted by colleagues on the response team, conducted high-visibility policing patrols in hot spot areas across July and August, particularly the town centre and the cricket club. They used the patrols as an opportunity to encourage members of the public to approach the police and voice their concerns, and also to act as a visual deterrent to potential offenders.
Eight e-scooters were seized during the patrols and, thanks to the evidence gathered, a number of individuals are currently being investigated for dangerous driving.
Following the operation, the number of calls to the NPT relating to the anti-social use of motorbikes dropped to an average of zero per day. Previously, the team were getting at least 12 calls per day about anti-social use of motorbikes, e-scooters and e-bikes.
PC Fenn Smith said: “This has been a fantastic team effort by Wisbech Neighbourhood Policing Team, which I am proud to be a part of. We have seen a drastic drop in anti-social driving and we have had members of the public approach us to say how glad they are to see us out and about and addressing their concerns.
“I have also established effective working relationships with a lot of partners, who have really helped us to identify issues and support people in the community. I am continuing to build relationships with local organisations, as part of a wider ongoing project to tackle not just anti-social driving but anti-social behaviour more widely in Wisbech. I am liaising with schools, social care and youth offending services to ensure effective information sharing.
“As we continue to gather intelligence, we will plan more patrols to target other hot-spot areas and engage with our community.”