Performance Scrutiny Meeting focusing on Rural Crime (4 October 2023)

11 October 2023

One of my key roles as Police and Crime Commissioner is to hold the Chief Constable to account on behalf of the public, and make sure that Derbyshire Constabulary deliver on the key strategic priorities included in my Police and Crime Plan 2021/2025.

The Performance Scrutiny Meetings are just one of the ways that I hold the Chief Constable to account. It is an opportunity for the force to provide extensive evidence on their performance and plans for improvements where necessary on the key priorities. It is also an opportunity for the public to send in specific additional questions.

Rural Crime is a key priorities in my Police and Crime Plan and I am committed to working with the Constabulary and other partners.

I would like to thank everyone who has taken he time to submit a question. My office received 8 questions in total, which were addressed during the meeting.

Below are the questions that were submitted to me, alongside the response to those questions from the Chief Constable.

Please be advised that the next PSM meeting is on Wednesday 8 November and the topic is Violence Against Women and Girls. Please see the website for more details on upcoming PSM’s for the rest of the year.

Thank you once again for taking the time to submit a question.

Police and Crime Commissioner for Derbyshire
Angelique Foster

The Agenda and Papers and Presentation submitted at the meeting are available to view.

Public Questions raised at the meeting
Performance Scrutiny Meeting recording focusing on the key priority.

Public Questions Submitted

Q1) Considering the new recruitment and all the is posted about how great the Derbyshire Constabulary are posted about on their Facebook, why can you never get hold of or a response out of them? Resident of Derbyshire Dales

Constabulary Response

The recent uplift has seen Derbyshire’s police officer numbers increase from 1,827 in April 2020, to 2,110 in April 2023, an increase of some 283 officers. In addition, the force is utilising additional funding to remain temporarily above that number. This has strengthened a wide variety of functions across the force including detective roles, uniformed response, and Neighbourhood Policing.

There are a number of ways by which members of the public can contact Derbyshire police, including through Facebook, Twitter or contact with your local Safer Neighbourhood Team whose details can be found on the Force Website pages. We also continue to invest in the more traditional ways of contact such as the 101 and 999 functions as well as online options such as the Single Online Home. We recognise that at times of increased demand there has sometimes been delays in contacting the force. As such, the force is currently working to improve contact options and the effectiveness of handling calls through the forces Police Contact Improvement Programme (PCIP). This has so far included an increase in the number of operators available to answer calls and will also include within the next two years, the implementation of a new command and control system.    

Q2) I have lived in Baslow for four years and have never ever seen a police officer in our village on foot; only speeding through in a foreign police car. Resident of Baslow

Constabulary Response

Baslow is covered by a dedicated Safer Neighbourhoods Team (the link to the pages is included Tideswell, Litton, Baslow and Beeley | Your area | Derbyshire Constabulary | Derbyshire Constabulary) who do patrol this area according to current need, information and intelligence, for example in response to crime trends. Both Police Officers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) will patrol on foot or in vehicles dependent on a wide variety of factors, such as crime type.

The establishment numbers for the Derbyshire Dales SNT have not changed recently, however over the course of the last year they have returned to full strength for PCSOs following a recruitment drive, and successful completion of the Police Uplift Programme means that a current PC vacancy on the team is to be filled imminently, taking it back up to full strength.

We know that being visible, is important to our communities. In the last four months, the Police and Crime Commissioner has invested in a number of e-bikes, two of which have been allocated to Derbyshire Dales Neighbourhood Teams to support them being visible across what is one of the largest police areas in the county. Also, engagement events are regularly held, the details of which are available through your Safer Neighbourhood Team who are available to speak with you directly about any concerns affecting your area. This includes “Street Meets” in the local area, events such as “Cuppa with a Copper”, as well as regular attendance at local shows and events where you can meet the team in person to discuss any issues or concerns or obtain crime prevention advice. The details are available through the force website and social media pages which are regularly updated. You are also able to let the Neighbourhood Team know what is important to you through the Derbyshire Talking survey which can in turn be accessed through Derbyshire Alert, a system which you can sign up to in order to hear about local issues affecting your area.      

Q3) Who has nicked our nickers!!  Police constables and sergeants have been removed from Bakewell and the local towns and villages. Could you please provide officer numbers in relation to the Derbyshire Dales for Sergeant and Constable levels with a base of about 2003. Resident of Derbyshire Dales

Constabulary Response

Comparison with police officer and police staff numbers between now 2003 is difficult as the force has since undergone several structural and functional changes. The force’s total police officer establishment  2,110 when in 2003 it was 2,034 officers. We also have an establishment of 200 PCSOs serving in Derbyshire, whilst there were none in 2003.

The way that officers are deployed has changed with the policing landscape and in line with the force’s evolving priorities. Crime has changed and evolved over the last 20 years bringing new threats that require a new approach to keep communities safe. Crimes such as modern slavery and human trafficking, fraud and those which are cyber enabled have brought new challenges and have required investment in both specialised investigators and new technologies.  

Derbyshire Dales is covered by a dedicated local policing unit under an Inspector who work alongside the various neighbourhood policing teams across the area. Bakewell continues to have a dedicated neighbourhood presence working out of the shared police and fire station. This comprises of neighbourhood police officers, and supervisor, plus PCSOs. In addition, to these and the Dales response officers, officers from the force Roads Policing Unit are regularly tasked to the road networks which cross the Derbyshire Dales. Also working to prevent and respond to crime across the Dales are those who work within the Serious Crime and Intelligence Directorate, for example Domestic Abuse, Rape and Serious Sexual Violence and CID teams. Finally, the forces Rural Crime Team, primarily based at Matlock Police Station provides an important and effective policing service to our rural communities and who are regularly in attendance at the Bakewell Agricultural Centre.

Bakewell is a very safe town, with just 7 residential burglaries recorded in the last 12 months, 6 vehicle crimes and only 1 street robbery, and these levels have been consistently low for several years. Even at these levels, however, the force recognises the impact of such crimes, particularly residential burglary, and that is why it remains committed to attending the scene of every residential burglary. 

Q4) Why doesn’t  Derbyshire fully investigate and follow up theft of caravans from farm storage despite CCTV evidence? Resident of High Peak

Constabulary Response

All reported thefts are recorded and assessed in line with national requirements. The reports received are assessed, often by the dedicated Crime Resolution and Incident Management Team (CRIMt) for investigative opportunities. Where these exist, they should be followed up, which would include the reviewing of CCTV. If you are a victim of a crime where such CCTV exists and it has not been viewed I would encourage you to recontact the force with your crime/occurrence number and ask for the CCTV to be reviewed.

Caravan and trailer theft are recognised as often high value incidents that have a big impact on victims. Trailer theft is also an issue which the Rural Crime Team are aware of and are targeting through proactive policing and targeted operations.

February this year saw an increase in the theft of caravans from both residential and storage units. A suspect was arrested having been identified towing a caravan stolen less than an hour earlier from Dronfield. Rural Crime Team officers interviewed the suspect and following the investigation the suspect has been charged with handling stolen goods and is appearing at court in August. The caravan, valued at over £20,000, was recovered and returned to the victim.

The force has recently introduced an online reporting tool for rural crime on its website to make it easier for the public to report such matters, identify crime trends and better inform patrols and operations put in place to target them.

Q5) Please can you tell us what you are going to do about the off road bikes ripping up our fields and footpaths and terrorising our livestock. Please can you tell us what you propose to do with so much misinformation regarding shooting and raptor persecution. The shoot near us has a plethora of raptors because of the way it is managed. Resident of Chesterfield

Constabulary Response

It is recognised that off-road biking is a problem in many areas of the Force. For this reason, Derbyshire Constabulary has invested in specialist off-road bike resources (four bikes and currently five trained riders) to tackle the issue, supported by funding from the Police and Crime Commissioner. For these resources to be effectively deployed, the issue needs to be reported to the Safer Neighbourhood team covering the area affected, which can be done via a number of way detailed on the Constabulary’s website: Your area | Derbyshire Constabulary  or by calling 101. A number of successful operations have been run in the country, some being run in conjunction with South Yorkshire Police who suffer a similar problem on their policing area on its borders with Derbyshire. These have led to a number of offenders being detained and bikes being seized. For these operations to be effective, as much information from those affected by the off-road biking needs to be gathered and I would encourage public reporting to help with generating that intelligence picture.

With respect to raptor persecution, this is a priority of for the national Wildlife Crime Unit (Bird of Prey crime) and features in the 2022-2025 rural and Wildlife Crime Strategy. It is therefore also an area of focus for Derbyshire’s Rural Crime team. I would encourage the public to report any concerns they have about the persecution of any bird of prey to the constabulary, so that the Rural crime team can take any action that may be required. The Rural Crime Team work closely with partners such as the RSPB, National Gamekeepers Association, North Peak Raptor Monitoring group to name just a few, to tackle such problems, an example being the successful protection this year of Peregrine falcon nesting sites in the county following a number of nesting seasons where no chicks have fledged owing to human interference.

Q6) If we receive what we consider to be an unsatisfactory response after reporting a crime how can a complaint be raised and what is being done about apathy in the force. Resident of Derbyshire Dales

Constabulary Response

The Constabulary strives to deliver a quality policing service to the public, but it is accepted that on occasion this may fall below the expected standard. If there is a particular incident that you are concerned about which you are happy to share details of I can arrange for it to be reviewed. Alternatively, if a member of the public is dissatisfied with the quality of investigation into a matter that they have reported, they can make a complaint via the website: Make a complaint about the police | Derbyshire Constabulary. Public complaints are taken very seriously, and they will be investigated to understand what has happened to cause the complaint, and what action may be required to put things right.

Q7) I have been reading about horrific slaughtering of lambs in our countryside. There are even photographs of media of these poor creatures being killed by halal methods. This is not acceptable and is downright cruel and is not only theft but a barbaric death for the poor lambs. There is photographic evidence on media. Resident of Chesterfield

Constabulary Response

The Rural Crime Team (RCT) has a problem management plan in place to tackle livestock worrying in Derbyshire. A public meeting with farmers was held earlier this year and efforts have been ongoing to raise the profile of the problem and encourage members of the public to walk their dogs safely and responsibly in Derbyshire. The RCT have adopted a strong social media campaign to highlight the issue as well as investment in signage that is given free of charge to affected farmers. Various engagement events have been held in hot spot areas to reduce instances of livestock worrying. This is alongside a robust approach to offenders when incidents do occur. The plan remains open until after current lambing season when the situation will be assessed, and a further public meeting held to gauge the impact of efforts made on the community.

In terms of enforcement by the RCT for this type of offence:

  • 10 suspects have been dealt with by way of restorative justice, which includes compensation to victims and Dog Control Orders
  • One suspect charged to court after their dog got loose and chased a horse through the streets. This resulted in the horse damaging a parked vehicle and being euthanised because of its injuries.
  • One suspect from Chesterfield who had previously been issued with a Dog Control Order but had again allowed their dogs to get loose and chase a farmers sheep causing injury to one of them. They were charged and convicted at court. The suspect was fined and ordered to pay compensation to the victim.

Again, I would encourage that all incidents of livestock worrying are reported to the police so that a full picture of the problem can be generated and tackled appropriately. It is another key priority in 2022-2025 rural and Wildlife Crime Strategy, and a priority for Derbyshire’s Rural Crime Team.

The force is not aware of any incidents where lambs have been illegally slaughtered in public locations in Derbyshire or of any specific media images depicting such. There was an incident reported in May with regards to what was thought to be the theft of a lamb which resulted in some video footage emerging on social media, however, the incident was not as originally reported. The question author has mentioned Halal methods of slaughter, which is legal if government guidance is followed. More information can be found on the government website Slaughter without stunning – GOV.UK (        

Q8) It is with great disappointment that serious ex-offenders are returning to the same village to bring more crime back to the same addresses  including stealing puppy dogs and family friend members are helping and nothing be done to warn them off getting involved and helping to hide this type of crime and the public not knowing t why the police are letting these offenders return and pool cars being used with no insurance or driving licence the patrols have gone quiet and the new PCO are not seen  or meeting the village people to reassure we are all safe. Ps it would be reassuring to attend a parish Council meeting which we have once a month in Wormhill to talk to each other. Thanks. Resident of High Peak

Constabulary Response

The area of Fairfield is the focus of the new Clear, Hold, Build (CHB) initiative which has just been launched named Project Unity, and hence will be the focus of significant police and partner activity looking at not only tackling current criminality in the area, but addressing the root causes and environment in which criminality takes hold in the first instance. This multi-agency approach brings the combined resources from across a wide variety of organisations and bodies in a coordinated manner to bring about the best possible outcomes for those affected by criminality in the area. Key to the success of the initiative is the support of local councils and people in the area, and I would encourage them to become involved where they can. A recent briefing by the LPU Inspector, Anna Woodhouse was provided to the local councillors to raise awareness and to help support the ongoing work.

The local SNT do make regular contact with the Parish Council and provide relevant information to Parish Council meetings. There are a very high number of Parish Councils in Derbyshire, and it is simply not possible for officers to attend them all alongside their other duties and therefore they only generally attend in person where there is a specific and identified need.  Given the concerns raised about contact we have asked the Safer Neighbourhood Team to speak directly with the Parish Council to try and address they might have.

PLEASE NOTE: With the exception of legally required data and historic financial records, the majority of the information on the Derbyshire OPCC website covers information, news and events for the current Commissioner only. For access to news articles and information covering the previous Commissioners please contact the OPCC team.
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