On 18 May 2023 the PCC attended his Community Conversation meeting at Pershore. This is the first of its kind experienced in Pershore and had a higher than anticipated attendance with more than 60 people present. The principal issues and perceptions raised were:
- Anti-Social Behaviour, principally associated with perceived large groups of young people at location including, but not limited to ASDA, Abbey Park & The Wetlands. Examples were also articulated of individuals being targeted in their homes.
- A widespread feeling of being unsafe.
- Criminal damage and the harming of swans – linked to a ball bearing/air powered shooting incident of a swan by an unknown individual.
- Lack of a policing presence in Pershore including visibility of police leaders.
- Drugs – consumption and dealing of. Some assertion that the overt smoking of drugs such as cannabis is not challenged but tolerated by police.
- Poor response and lack of service from the police when reporting crime and ASB.
- Low to no confidence in the Police.
This report seeks to acknowledge and understand the perceptions above, conduct a gap analysis, and outline the actions of South Worcester Local Policing Area (LPA). It will look to the future in terms of addressing these perceptions / gaps to ensure we improve confidence and satisfaction through the actions outlined.
As a consequence of the meeting, the following questions have been asked of the force by the PCC.
- A crime and ASB problem profile for Pershore –
a. The profile should include a hot spot analysis of both crime and ASB.
b. A SARA (scanning, analysis, response assessment) –
- i. The SARA assessment should include an overlay of telematics if available (1).
- (1) Sufficiently meaningful telematics data that can be displayed and appropriately interpreted is not available at present. The force is exploring how such data can be presented to enable tactical conclusions to be extrapolated easily.
- ii. The number of Dispersal Notices issued, Community Protection Notices issued and Public Space Protection notices.
- iii. An assessment of ASB meetings between partners linked to ASB at ASDA and Abbey Park, if any have been held.
- iv. An overview of achievements which reduced crime/ASB in Pershore.
c. The profile should also include an overview of resources available to Pershore and any abstractions.
d. The profile should also include outcome data for both crime and ASB.
A crime and ASB problem profile for Pershore
The Force provided the PCC with a crime and ASB profile for Pershore, alongside confidence and victim satisfaction data for South Worcestershire. 83% of communities in South Worcestershire either strongly agree or tend to agree they have confidence in policing in South Worcestershire with 77% of communities agreeing we understand what is affecting local communities. 81% state that crime and anti-social behaviour is not an issue in the local area. Acknowledging an anomaly for Domestic Abuse in April, all the confidence and satisfaction levels are showing increases across the LPA.
The force are able to demonstrate the significant positive impact the resource investment in Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNT) has had in the last quarter. There are now two Safer Neighbourhood Officers dedicated to working alongside the four PCSOs in the WR10 area, and the uplift of officers in SNT in December 2022 filled vacancies across the LPA. They have all been in post since early February 2023.
There was a peak in shop thefts in March 2023. These can be attributed largely to four main offenders and account for 25% of the thefts in March 2023. All parties are now managed comprehensively through a problem-solving plan, working with partners as well as using traditional methods of policing through the criminal justice system.
The retail businesses most impacted by the thefts have been visited on several occasions by the RABO (Rural and Business Officer) and licensing officers through March and April, reminding them of their responsibilities and due diligence regarding alcohol being displayed by their front doors.
The force’s problem-solving approach is already evidencing a reduction from 40 offences in March 2023 to 26 in April 2023, and subsequently to 15 in May 2023 with a further anticipated decline next month.
The local team are fully aware of ASB incidents in the area and are engaging with partners and members of the public to provide support and ensure appropriate safeguarding is in place. The SNT continue to work with the Community Safety Team to push for increased lighting and target hardening.
The SNT is also tackling ASB nuisance issues in the town centre, many of which relate to off road bikes / quads being driven in the town. Additional resources are working with the SNT to tackle this additional problem.
The drugs offences are comparatively low in Pershore and across Wychavon with only 30 offences recorded in the last rolling year. It is acknowledged that county lines remains a challenge in the South Worcester rural area. The force is proactively pursuing all opportunities to disrupt county lines activity. This is supported by an existing multi-agency problem-solving plan focused on tackling drugs activity.
An overview of demand data provided by the Problem-Solving Support Team shows calls into the OCC relating to drugs in Pershore during the last three months are minimal, with just one call recorded in April 2023.
Any intelligence reports about drug use are proactively pursued with development aiming for warrants to be conducted.
A problem solving plan was created in November 2022, its objective being to identify, record and prosecute those involved in ASB and retail thefts in Pershore, and provide support and advice to victims and vulnerable people. ASB had increased in Pershore throughout 2022 with a peak at the beginning of the year. These issues can be largely attributed to individuals who reside outside of Pershore.
The number of Dispersal Notices, Community Protection Notices (CPN) and Public Space Protection notices issued
- 4 s.35 dispersal notices have been authorised between October 2022 and May 2023.
- 7 CPNs have been issued during the same period.
- 1 Public Space Protection notice is in force in Abbey Park focussing upon alcohol and lewd / obscene behaviour.
SNT continue to work hard with partners to use Public Space Protection notices and civil remedies and are realising the effectiveness of such remedies
The Malvern SNT continues to work closely with the Pershore team as they explore the option of a Civil ASB injunction due to the displacement of youths from the city into the South Worcestershire rural towns. This is an ongoing piece of work that includes Evesham, Pershore and Malvern.
An assessment of ASB meetings between partners linked to ASB at ASDA and Abbey Park
Senior officers have attended local council meetings in Wychavon, the latest one being in December 2022. In addition, the Chief Inspector regularly attends the Community Safety Partnership (latest one held 25.5.23) during which ASB and crime trends are discussed with partners, and multi-agency approaches agreed upon. It was agreed that the CSP will look to a joint partnership communication mechanism to provide assurance to communities from all relevant agencies.
A SNO regularly attends the 6-weekly Multi Agency Tasking Group and attends selected Parish Council Meetings across the 69 parishes in Wychavon.
The staff on SNT have regular partnership / community meetings including the youth club twice a month, Pershore high school weekly, partnership meetings with Fortis, Platform and others monthly, the library and surgeries twice weekly with shops and retail outlets regularly visited by team members. Pershore does not have a safer schools PCSO but to compensate the SNT hold a monthly meeting with the school. The CSP also fund a youth worker in the school to engage with ‘at risk’ youths who may become drawn into crime and ASB. The SNT are in regular partnership contact with Rooftop Housing, Platform Housing, Wychavon Council, and the Civil Enforcement Officers. As part of the routine patrol they also engage with the wider business community.
Overview of resources available to Pershore and any abstractions
Pershore is resourced by two SNOs and four PCSOs. The team does cover a significant geographic area.
The town has 1 dedicated SNO and 2 PCSOs. Pershore does not have a dedicated patrol footprint but is resourced from either Worcester or Evesham.
During the last six months, SNT in Wychavon has experienced some abstraction to backfill response. These abstractions are minimised as much as possible and are reducing as more and more student officers attain independent patrol status. The South Worcestershire rural areas are also experiencing vacancies in PCSO capacity with 6 vacancies out of a total of 30 PCSO posts. Plans are in place to ensure all PCSO vacancies in West Mercia are filled with the next new PCSO course.
Overview of confidence and satisfaction rates for Pershore
At present, it is not possible to report on Confidence and Satisfaction data specifically for Pershore. A manual process would need to be employed to review all surveys over a given time from within the WR10 postcode area (2).
(2) The external survey provider would need to be specifically commissioned to undertake this but sample size would likely be too small to be statistically significant
Going forward, the use and robust marketing of Neighbourhood Matters (NHM), the force’s community message system, will be utilised to better share information with residents. The LPA will also utilise NHM surveying techniques which can be specifically tailored to the residents of Pershore.
Overview of positive action taken by West Mercia Police in Pershore in the last 12 months
There has been a significant level of intervention from both SNT, Patrol and the Problem-Solving Team.
- Intervention and Prevention Officers have received and engaged with 13 youths and 28 ASB letters have been sent since January 2023.
- 32 other ASB interventions at levels 1 -3 have taken place with 7 CPNs / CPNWs issued.
- There is 1 ASB injunction in place which is a joint venture with housing
- There are 11 arrests in connection with the PSP for the area
- Outcome data for Pershore specifically is not available. However, outcome data for Wychavon shows the below from May 22 to May 23 positive action taken rates:
- Total Recorded Crime – 10.1%
- Violence with Injury – 14.3%
- Rape – 7.3%
- Other Sexual Offences – 15.3%
- Robbery – 21.5%
- Burglary residential – 3.5%
- Vehicle crime – 1.8%
- Domestic Abuse – 8.6%
Assessment of the efficiency and effectiveness of policing in Pershore
In terms of the policing model, Pershore has recently benefitted from both SNO posts being filled. There were challenges last year with SNT vacancies and abstractions to patrol, but the introduction of new force policies has assisted, and reduced abstractions have allowed for more focus and scrutiny of ongoing issues. This can be demonstrated through the number of active and thorough PSPs.
Pershore has undergone significant development expansion in recent years as part of the South Worcestershire Development Plan. Pershore has a large new development to the northwest of the town with further plans for more development in the southwest. Each of these developments must support a significant percentage of affordable homes and this has created a new demographic to Pershore which includes a disproportionately higher number of younger people aged 11-18 years.
The WR10 postcode shows 813 household sign ups to NHM with Pershore Town only equating to 178 of these (5.5% of households.) 378 messages have been sent on the platform in the last 12 months and, as already alluded to, work is ongoing to utilise NHM better and in a more targeted way.
Proposed future activity
There is a good level of operational service currently being provided by the SNT. There is room to consider a more resilient footprint for patrol and Operational Policing Unit (OPU) presence at higher demand times, ensuring resources are focused on areas with the most crime and ASB.
What is clear is there is scope for further engagement and communication building on the positive engagement the SNT already have with the public, focussing on enhanced engagement with young people in the town. Equally there is further scope to work even more proactively with partners through initiatives such as partnership diversionary activity and youth services, and NHM.