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 one of the 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 21 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. The Agenda and Papers submitted at the meeting are available to view.
Please be advised that the next PSM meeting is on Thursday 3 November and the topic is Violence Against Women and Girls. The public questions have now closed for this PSM however, 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
Public Questions Submitted
Q1) Why can’t we have face to face contact with the police. It appears that they like to work remote avoiding the community they are supposed to serve. Social media has its uses but really doesn’t instil confidence?
Face to face contact with the police does take place and your local Safer Neighbourhood Teams have engagement events within the geographical areas they work. This can range from youth work, to neighbourhood surgeries, to attending local events, such as fetes. Policing has adapted to the change’s society has seen with opportunity to report crime online, increase use of social media, and developing how we can increase engagement across all our communities. We balance our incident/crime demand with officer attendance, assessing all reports at initial point of contact to progress the most effective and efficient way to manage the incident or deal with the crime.
Q2) Why do you keep saying we are going to do this and do that when every copper cannot do his duty properly because of the vast underfunding and the 25000 cuts of the police all it is its paper talk with no action?
The national uplift has supported an increase in police officers across the country and especially in Derbyshire. We strive to provide the best service we can to the public, setting local priorities to meet the needs of our communities. We work with all our staff to understand what challenges they face so that we can plan resources effectively and meet the demands within a given area. We remain ambitious, ensuring that we always look at continual improvement responding to local, regional and national needs.
Speeding and other Roads related issues
Q3) Do you have any plans to tackle speeding on the long road through Shuttlewood and Stanfree? The road is long and straight with hidden dips that is very tempting to younger motorists later in the night and to early morning commuters. From Buttermilk Lane, Shuttlewood Road (past Brockley Primary School), through Clowne Road and Low Road. There are 2 playgrounds that are very popular with families, most of whom drive to visit. This increases the risk of collisions as there is nowhere safe for them to park. It’s an accident waiting to happen.
The SNT that covers this area, Clowne SNT, are aware of this issue and have in the last 6 months been involved with local councillors in setting up and deploying a Community Speed Watch Group. Officers from that team have also spent time outside Brockley School during key pick up and drop off times, speaking to parents and monitoring the speed of vehicles and have deployed a speed gun on several occasions.
Officers from the team have also liaised with the Force’s Casualty Reduction and Enforcement Team (CREST) who are requesting a traffic survey from the Council with a view to informing future speed camera enforcement. CREST also have a new site to on Chesterfield Road, Shuttlewood which will be enforced in the near future. This road is one of the main routes into Bolsover from Clowne and is also patrolled regularly by marked police vehicles, including the Road Policing Group. Future traffic enforcement days will also look to incorporate these areas owing to the concerns raised.
Q4) We have excess weight limit breeching on our country lanes and racing by cycle clubs plus excessive speeding by cars and motorbikes. It’s only a matter of time before someone is killed. Never is there an attempt to police these issues. In the countryside it’s a free for all because it’s well known there is never a police presence. Illegal shooting, dumping as well as road violations go on all the time. No one bothers ringing 101 because it takes so long to get an answer.
Weight limits – we have been working with trading standards to tackle the issue and have identified single points of contacts (SPOCs) within each Local Policing Unit (LPU). Trading standards have highlighted key roads and will arrange enforcement days with the SPOCs to help tackle the issue. More recently the Specials within CREST have been asked to support this work also.
Q5) What measures are being taken to address the persistent traffic violations of excessive speed and the noise from motorbikes that is patently illegal?
1) Speed sites – identified areas where enforcement is conducted by both police vehicles, as well as officers deployed at the roadside.
2) Static camera vans that park in various identified locations throughout the county – these are usually positioned by collision data / user request or complaint.
3) Static speed cameras – fixed position yellow cameras positioned around the county.
4) Community Speed watch – members of the local community assisting us in detecting speeders. This is coordinated by Shaun Woodcock (Shaun.Woodcock@derbyshire.police.uk).
5) Drones – used to identify and follow speeding motorcyclists/vehicles.
6) In car systems – we have speed detection kit fitted in all our Roads Policing vehicles.
7) Motorcyclists – we deploy police motorcyclists each day into the high-volume motorbike areas.
8) Campaigns – NPCC monthly led campaigns targeting specific offences.
9) Designing out the problem – speaking with/lobbying the local councillors and asking for traffic calming measures to be introduced, speed signs, speed cameras, humps in the road and so on.
10) Education – we are working with local partners to deliver the UpRight/Bikesafe scheme. Full details can be found here:-
https://www.derbyshire.police.uk/police-forces/derbyshire-constabulary/areas/derbyshire-force-content/about-us/about-derbyshire-constabulary/upright-derbyshire/ BikeSafe – BikeSafe
We also do a Young Drivers Education Programme – scheme where we educate young drivers on speeding and the dangers on the roads.
Roads Policing officers are working closely with our local colleagues, CREST (Speed reduction team) and Upright/Bikesafe (Motorcycle safety) to make the roads safer for
all. Our key focus is driving down the fatal 4 offences – Mobile phones, Speed, Drink and Drug driving and Seatbelt offences.
Whilst the noise produced by vehicles is frustrating/alarming and causes disturbance they are not specifically linked to causing road casualties. That said, if we were to come across a vehicle causing excessive noise, we would challenge the driver on this and require them to have it modified. The problem is proving the number of decibels the vehicle is producing is in excess of the MOT level and finding any modification that may have been added/removed internally on it.
The force has the testing equipment available for determining whether the noises emitted by vehicles, including those from motorbikes, is excessive and above the permitted levels. This equipment, whilst portable in nature and can be conveyed to scenes, is not routinely carried by patrolling officers. However, it is used as part of targeted operations, such as Operation Safe Drive, in response to community, local authority and, other stakeholder concerns. Although noise pollution from such vehicles is not generally linked to road safety directly, the deliberate adaptation of a vehicle to create excessive noise, (or in some cases where excessive noise is produced as a result of a faulty silencer system), can be classed as anti-social behaviour and officers can use powers under S.59 Police Reform Act 2002 to seize such vehicles and prosecute offenders.
Officers are directed to deal with Fatal 4 offences as these are the ones causing most harm on our roads. We will tackle noisy vehicles as and when we identify them, but do not specifically task officers in this way.
Q6) How does the removal of all evidential breath test devices from the High Peak and Derbyshire Dales deter drink/drug driving in rural areas? There are no local custody suites meaning (at least) 2 officers are away from their area. The additional travelling gives offenders who are over the limit are given an unacceptable opportunity to provide a negative specimen a couple of hours later. Drink and drug driving is rife in rural areas. The redeployment of Roads Policing means they rarely travel to the High Peak. (Occasional speed checks do not count) . The promised uplift in numbers has failed to materialise. Numerous drink drivers reported via Twitter and Crimestoppers all to no avail.
Derbyshire Police has an agreement with Greater Manchester Police to use their custody facilities owing to the travelling times and logistics of that geographical area. Within this arrangement is the use of their evidential breath device, based in those custody areas. This means that travelling times to an evidential breath test device are not out of kilter with many other areas of the force. Glossop to Ashton Police Station for example is less than 10 miles, although it is accepted that this distance and hence travelling time to an evidential testing device can be greater from more isolated areas. The use of the GMP suites in Cheadle and Ashton and evidential devices limits this impact.
The Road Policing Unit (RPU) regularly undertakes targeted activities in the High Peak, including: Operation CRUISER: RPU led project funded by DDRSP specifically towards road safety in the North-West of Derbyshire. This included patrols on the motorcycle high
risk roads across High Peak and Derbyshire Dales, road user engagement and education, and dedicated speeding enforcement at community concern sites and historic locations and ran between April and September 2022
Operation SPARTA RPU led project funded by the DDRSP towards speed enforcement and reducing fatal four behaviours, including intelligence led stops and ran between April and September 2022
RPU MONTHLY SPEED SITES RPU conduct speed enforcement across 350+ sites in Derbyshire mostly identified from reported community concerns and attend 40 allocated sites each month. There are 53 potential sites in the Dales/High Peak area and this activity is continuous all year round. This activity is also in addition to CREST speed enforcement from static and mobile cameras, Community Speed Watch activity, and Local Policing speed enforcement.
NPCC CAMPAIGNS: for example August NPCC drink and drugs campaign which saw 20 drivers detected for drink/drunk driving
DRUG DRIVING: Conducting drug swipe testing on drivers, includes those with intelligence for suspected drug driving, reported or witnessed driving concerns, and those involved in collisions. Operation Galston – led by the Local Policing Unit, will specifically target drink driving and vehicle used in criminality as the darker nights approach.
Q7) What are you doing to tackle speeding, mobile phone use and drugs while driving? I see this every single day!
Speeding – See above
Mobile Phone – Fatal 4 offence – Priority for RPU officers and have a Sergeant that leads on RPU. We run locally held initiatives with Safer Neighbourhood teams and CREST to target mobile phone usage. We utilise media platforms to highlights the issue and run nationally coordinated operations, the last one was run in February 2022.
Legislation has only recently been updated enabling officers to prosecute for the offence (previously had to use other offences such as Driving without due care and attention). Drug Driving: – Fatal 4 offence – Priority for RPU Officers and have a Sergeant that leads on RPU. We recently (August 2022) held the National Drink/Drug driving Campaign with 112 arrests in August alone. Offenders are targeted daily by RPU officers through and intelligence and tasking process. All reports of drink/drug driving are reviewed and investigated and taken further.
Q8) We are plagued with speeding cars using Barlborough for speed trials. We need policing at night to catch them at it, but we do not get this. We have raised this many times, when will get help on this issue?
This is an issue of which the local SNT have previously been aware and acted on. As a result of the issue being highlighted, they will revisit the matter and will incorporate this into any future Traffic Operations.
Q9) What is being done to stop E-scooters being used uninsured and dangerously on public roads and public footpaths?
We have created guidance for officers, and this is available to them on our internal Intranet. We have SPOCS in both Divisions to monitor e-scooter incidents and the results are collated centrally via our Traffic Management officer. Our officers on patrol will stop and interact with users of e-scooters, thus far, we have seized 100 e-scooters to date and dealt with 142 riders for various traffic offences.
Q10) The largest problem with rural crime is caused by travelling people who are currently above the law in terms of trespass road, legal vehicles and there disregarded for the general public’s values.
The presence of elements of the Gypsy and Traveller community in a local area does not necessarily lead to increased criminal activity or anti-social behaviour or increased crime rates. It is acknowledged that in some instances, and not just confined to rural areas, where there is a Gypsy and Traveller site there can potentially be a rise in calls for service from residents. Each individual incident or report would be assessed and investigated on its own merit, as would reports of potential encampments. The police will investigate and take the proportional, lawful, and necessary action, again based on the merits of the individual calls for service.
Q11) Can any financial support be given to those of us willing to put up cameras on our property to view rural areas where criminal activity takes place?
Currently, there are no dedicated funding streams through local councils or the Police for personal cameras. Where money has been given, this has been for a community group, for a building or space they use to reduce crime and disorder.
Q12) Aston on Trent Parish Council has a village centre CCTV for police use when incidents arise. Can I be assured that there is close collaboration between the local police and the Council and that the former will always request a viewing of footage as circumstances dictate? Thank you
The Police work with Aston Parish Council and will utilise CCTV as appropriate during an investigation.
Q13) Do access roads to ‘rural’ areas have surveillance cameras? Low loaders are big. Is there a dedicated police dept for such crime? Are farm vehicles marked in some way for tracking? What legal status of illegal activity is this eg is it burglary/ degree of theft? What is sentence? (I guess I and others need educating).
In respect of surveillance cameras, the police have the ability to deploy them as necessary to mitigate a problem or to gather evidence. They can be deployed anywhere in the county where a policing need dictates In respect of rural crime, Derbyshire Constabulary has a dedicated Rural Crime Team (RCT). All Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNT) with rural communities have received
training from the RCT. Specifically for Amber valley, 4 PCs and 2 PCSOs have received training, therefore our capabilities have increased locally.
Amber valley is covered by a number of SNTs (Duffield, Quarndon and Kirk Langley SNT, Belper, Kilburn and Heage SNT, Heanor and Langley Mill SNT, and Alfreton, South Normanton, Pinxton, Somercotes, and Riddings SNT) who work closely with the community and partners to reduce crime and disorder. We can provide details of those officers as required.
The marking of Farm vehicles will be the owner’s responsibility. We would expect many of the new more expensive machinery will have trackers built in similar to cars. Police forces across the UK work with the tracking companies as appropriate.
There is also the option of ‘SmartWater’ or other marking schemes for farm vehicles again the initial onus would be on the owner however Police and partnerships could support this.
The last part of this question is quite open, and it very much depends on the particular circumstances of the offence. There are many variables in relation to the sentence given, previous offending history, the circumstances of the offence, whether there is a guilty plea. Ultimately it will be for the court decide what sanction to impose. The police take a robust approach on rural crime and will always provide best evidence to the court to enable the court to make a decision. In some areas a ‘Farm Watch’ scheme operates. If the correspondent wishes for more details, we can discuss this with them.
Rural Crime Team
Q14) The RCT have the lowest numbers of officers in years, I believe 6, often they are co-opted to other areas of policing so are not full time RCT officers and there are now no southern based RCT officers, sadly it appears to have become the Northern RCT with no coverage in South Derbyshire where we have particular cross border issues. Can I ask please when this will be addressed as we all remember your election video making RCT a priority for all of Derbyshire and using the Lincolnshire example of 20 plus officers as the hare coursing has already begun, the clock change and dark knights will bring a huge increase in rural and village crime.
The RCT establishment is currently 1 Sergeant, 7 Constables and a civilian coordinator and has remained this way for a number of years. We are adding to the current team through the addition of a new rural crime PCSO post. There is presently one Police Officer vacancy in the team, which will be filled in the near future.
Furthermore, as part of the uplift programme, consideration is being given to another police constable position being added to the team taking its dedicated strength to 8 constables – the same full-time establishment as in Lincolnshire’s RCT for example.
Dealing with issues of rural crime is not limited to just the RCT: the team work closely with the local SNTs and earlier in 2022, 30 other officers were trained specifically in issues affecting rural communities, increasing the capability and capacity of the force to deal with rural matters. From this training, 2 PCs and 1 PCSO were allocated to the training from Derby South SNTs.
Whilst the RCT do have greater experience and focus on dealing with their priorities of agricultural, wildlife, heritage and equine crime, these wider force resources are also available to deal with other crime and ASB issues affecting rural communities.
The team are alive to cross border issues and have regular information sharing meetings with bordering forces and will often work in collaboration with them and other agencies to tackle this kind of offending.
The RCT itself is a force resource and will remain so, and its areas of activity are directed by the available intelligence picture and identified crime and incident trends. The team is always seeking new ways and engagement opportunities to better inform the picture, so its activities are in more line with the needs of the county.
Pre-Covid, the RCT managed a team of volunteers who assisted in this liaison and information gathering work, a number of whom were based in the South of the county. This work will now be reinvigorated following the reduction in the limitations brought about by Covid.
The addition of the rural crime PCSO will go some way to supporting this development work and will certainly include the south of the county.
The key force wide responsibilities of the rural crime PCSO are to:
- support community and stakeholder engagement and participation in policing by aiding in the development of a range of approaches to support the identification of local issues, crime prevention, building social cohesion and increasing rural community confidence in policing.
- develop effective relationships with individuals, including people who are vulnerable and at risk across rural communities, providing support and guidance to identify root causes, assess needs, prevent crime, respond to concerns and build trust in policing.
- support the implementation of problem solving and evidenced based policing initiatives to develop targeted approaches to reduce the impact of crime and disorder on rural communities.
- to promote Derbyshire Alert to the public, specifically rural communities such as farmers, by encouraging people to sign up and by creating and distributing relevant material via the system.
- make good use of existing social media profiles to communicate with rural communities as well as helping to develop new means of communication and promoting the good work of the Rural Crime Team.
Q15) Derbyshire Rural Crime Team (DRCT) appear to be very biased towards farming community and often attend events such as ploughing competitions. Would it be possible for the DRTC to engage with wider groups of countryside users such as the rambler’s association, wildlife charities and rural activist groups?
The RCT priorities are agriculture, wildlife, equine, and heritage and therefore a focus of the team’s Policing initiatives and activities centre around these areas. The RCT are often in attendance at several farming events throughout the year as this provides the best opportunity to engage with members of the farming community from across the region. It is also the case that the RCT engage with other organisations and events relevant to our policing priorities. These include attendance at the Derbyshire Shire Horse Show or the Derbyshire Angling Fair at Cromford and also regular meetings with various wildlife groups and charities including the RSPB, Peak Raptor Group, North, South, and Mid-Derbyshire Badger Trusts to name a few. The RCT will also attend and deliver talks or presentations at various other local groups or organisations that have approached the RCT and where this meets a policing need. If there are any local meetings or regional events that feel they would benefit from interaction or engagement with the RCT they are welcome to contact the Sergeant of the RCT, Sgt 2888 Wilkinson, via email@example.com or message the RCT email inbox DRCT@derbyshire.police.uk.
Q16) Why is drug dealing still going on at the properties on Clay Lane, despite regular complaints. We have regular drug uses walking down Clay Lane confronting residents. We have had 2 drug uses die from the cocktails of drugs from the properties.
Police take very seriously all reports of drug dealing and associated crimes. While Police cannot comment on individual cases, local police teams have undertaken drugs-related policing activity in the area over the last few months and individuals have been arrested. Policing activity, led by the Sergeant of the local Safer Neighbourhood Team, continues. Anyone who has any information relating to drug dealing and/or other crimes is asked to report this to Derbyshire Police and/or anonymously via Crimestoppers. We would urge anyone who is threatened and/or feels threatened in the street to report this to police immediately via 999 so that positive action can be taken.
Q17) Considering that there’s now over 1.5 million medical cannabis users across the UK and that medical cannabis treatment is becoming more accessible for the general public, what advice can you give to help medical users stay within the law? There is little advice around currently other than just medicating at home in private. If a medical cannabis user is challenged by an officer, what is the best form of proof to provide as evidence, as I’ve been told the medical Canna-card UK is not yet accepted by the police as a valid form of proof. What should medical users be doing to protect themselves from unnecessarily police attention?
Derbyshire Police cannot provide advice around using cannabis; this question should perhaps be redirected towards the medical profession. Cannabis is a Controlled Drug (Class B) and possession of it (outside of prescribed medication) remains an offence; individuals found in possession of it could face arrest and prosecution. What we can say however, is that Derbyshire Police are committed to working with partners, under HM Government’s new 10-year drug strategy ‘From Harm to Hope’, to reduce the supply of controlled drugs and importantly, deliver a high-end treatment and recovery system.
Q18) Risley is a relatively small rural village. Crime levels are low but there are many suspected drug dealing activities that we have reported via 101, over the past few years. Nothing ever seems to happen. We don’t receive responses to our 101 reports except in one instance last year but even then, there is never any feedback provided to us. Residents ask me “why do we bother reporting these matters, the Police never do anything”. Your comments would be appreciated.
Firstly, thank you for reporting such matters to Derbyshire Police. We take seriously all reports of drug dealing behaviour. The nature of police work is sometimes covert and we’re not able to report back to individuals who provide information. However, all information provided to Derbyshire Police, whether directly or indirectly (via Crimestoppers for example) is reviewed, evaluated, and is used to inform local policing activity; from stop searches in the street to support applications for search warrants, for example. We would urge residents to continue to use the various reporting mechanisms such as 101, 999 (in an emergency), directly to their local Safer Neighbourhood Team, the online reporting page through the Force’s website, or anonymously via Crimestoppers to report information around drug dealing activities in their communities.
Q19) Do Derbyshire Police connect with NCA re serious criminals in our area? and if so, why are leading criminals who deal with Loan Sharking, Drugs, People Trafficking allowed to carry on these activities without being pursued?
Derbyshire Constabulary are committed to disrupting serious and organised crime within our communities. The force works collaboratively with the National Crime Agency with those suspected as being involved in Serious and Organised Crime. This process is supported by in force Tasking and Coordination framework, where we meet frequently to assess, monitor, and disrupt such activity. Furthermore, the force has dedicated investigative teams that response to Serious and Organised Crime and work closely with neighbourhood teams. We encourage anyone with any information about Organised crime within their communities to contact Derbyshire Constabulary or Crimestoppers.
Q20) (This question has been split up and answered in 3 different sections)
I would like to ask why the use of Police Service Volunteers has declined drastically recently. I am aware that the pandemic was where it started to go wrong but things have never really looked up since.
Covid-19 had a significant impact on all voluntary work within policing nationally. Derbyshire Constabulary in line with many others chose to suspend its Police Support Volunteer programme from March 2020 until July 2021. This was reviewed regularly by the force task group responsible for all forms of Covid-19 compliance. Decisions were based on the risk posed to both the volunteer and operational staff. The suspension remained in place for 15 months.
As of March 2020 Derbyshire Constabulary had the benefit of 107 volunteers. They were communicated with throughout the suspension and eventually invited to return to volunteering.
As of December 2021 Derbyshire Constabulary had the benefit of 101 volunteers. Further ongoing administrative work is ongoing to establish how many of those volunteers are actively being deployed.
Just in this area there used to be ten or more PSVs who regularly helped the Rural Crime Team with Operation Pickford. There were various floors in the way it worked, and a change of leadership put pay to what was in essence a brilliant idea which just needed a little more time and effort put into training, for example correct use of the radios which were tuned to a separate channel allocated to just us. I understand we should NEVER get stuck in or follow vehicles etc, but just report directly to ‘on duty’ RCT and tell them of any dodgy sightings… 101 just not efficient enough I’m afraid. More recently we are down to three of us now… the others have all left… we have been doing ‘Public Meets’ at the ABC on Mondays but now they seemed to have stopped as well. I have not been made use of for weeks now… my time which I’m offering for free… along with the others.
The force strongly values the contribution its volunteers give. The new Rural Crime Team Sergeant as of July 2021 took the decision to streamline the volunteer capacity. This was a decision for that individual as the lead for the team and line manager for each volunteer and balancing up other commitments. The volunteer support to the RCT is still in existence, greatly valued and used when required. The ongoing deployment of the volunteers remains an operational matter for the RCT. The RCT manager is in the best position to co-ordinate and focus the deployment of the Rural Crime Team volunteers and to decide on the numbers required. The remaining volunteers with the RCT and as alluded to in the question do community engagement on a Monday morning at the Bakewell Agricultural Business Centre however, this happens periodically at the discretion of the RCT manager and is also dependent on the availability of the volunteers. That number and the ongoing deployment of the volunteers remains an operational matter for the Rural Crime Team. In this case the line manager is readily available and in the best position to co-ordinate the deployment of Rural Crime Team volunteers and to decide on the numbers required.
I’d also still like to know (I asked the assistant Chief Constable at the last meeting) why I can’t be made use of by the local SNT… who are obviously short on manpower.
Numbers of volunteers required for each department and operational teams across Derbyshire Constabulary is constantly under review as is their requirement and capacity to accommodate their services. Volunteers are an integral part of Derbyshire Constabulary and very much valued as part of the wider team.
Volunteers are made welcome across all sectors of policing including operational and administrative departments. The Citizens in Policing team own and manage that process, but it is ultimately a local management decision as to whether there is a requirement to take on a volunteer. This decision is not purely around the identification of a suitable task but also around the local capacity to take online management responsibilities of the volunteer. In this particular case, the question was raised with an Assistant Chief Constable and answered via email. The local Safer Neighbourhood Team in question were also approached and at that time were not able to accommodate a volunteer. Those officers are aware of the existence of volunteers and their capacity to provide essential support. They are also aware of the processes involved to gain that support as and when required.
Q21) Fly Tipping is on the increase in the Church Broughton area. What is your strategy to deal with and reduce this?
South Derbyshire District Council are the lead agency and have had many successful prosecutions. The Police and the Council work closely in relation to these matters at a local level. The Council attend partnership tasking meetings where police are present, and these matters can be raised, information shared, and action taken.