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Neighbourhood Surveys

For the first survey of 2023 and onwards, Chiltern & South Bucks Policing Issues Forum made some changes to the choices offered in our neighbourhood surveys.

Responding to residents’ feedback, we made the link between what residents tell us, the resulting choices of Neighbourhood Policing focus areas, and outcomes as measured by published crime stats, easier to explain and monitor. This means streamlining the survey choices. This should also remove some confusion over choices which are predominantly the responsibility of other agencies.

CSB Forum Survey Choices

(Click Categories to expand for further information.)

Antisocial Behaviour

Burglary

Criminal Damage and Arson

Drugs

Possession of Weapons

Public Order

Rogue Traders and Scams

Speeding

Theft from a Vehicle
Theft of a Vehicle

Violence and Sexual Offences

Survey Choices are now more relevant to Neighbourhood Policing

In rejigging the survey choices, we have asked of each category:

  • “Would this realistically be a candidate to be included on the Neighbourhood Police officers’ daily work schedules?”
  • Is this category already a national or Force priority?
  • “Is action on this category primarily the responsibility of another body or agency?”

The results should remove the confusion of including categories which are mainly the responsibility of organisations other than the Police. The reason for their previous inclusion is in our history: the Forum was set up 5 years ago at the request of Chiltern District Council’s (CDC) Community Safety team. Generating the focus areas for our Neighbourhood Policing teams was only part of the mandate, however. CDC was seeking also to identify concerns that would be addressed by the Council, either directly or with partner agencies, including Thames Valley Police.

Since 2020 the unitary Buckinghamshire Council’s Community Safety team has preferred to gather data on an all-county basis, with little interest in the work of the Forum. But the Neighbourhood Policing teams within Chiltern and South Bucks continue to see the Forum’s model as an integral part of their engagement with local residents and Community Boards. They are anxious therefore to encourage the Forum to continue its work.

Using Focus Areas within Neighbourhood Policing

Deciding ‘focus areas’ through the Forum’s surveys and meetings enables residents’ concerns to help guide the agenda for the coming 3 to 4 months. Once decided, focus areas are passed to Neighbourhood Police, and these become part of the daily planning and reporting routine for officers and PCSOs.

graphic of Forum survey and meetings cycle

Quarterly reports from each neighbourhood area, all available via links on the www.csb-forum.org website, bring residents up to speed on actions in these focus areas. This is also an integral part of Forum meetings. It is a transparent process, which benefits from as wide a participation of residents as possible.

View latest Neighbourhood Policing newsletters.

For residents wishing to flag concerns via the survey, ‘Other’ and ‘Comments’ boxes will be available. The meetings are open to all residents to raise valid concerns, and TVP will take these forward as appropriate. So reducing the number of categories isn’t meant to deflect concerns or close down discussion. And of course, our officers police crime and harms as they occur, not just those on the list.

Former Survey Choices

What of the categories to be dropped from the surveys? These comprise the following:

Now included in other categories:

  • Burglary – Sheds and Garages (included in Burglary category)
  • Burglary – Commercial Properties (included in Burglary category)
  • Knife Crime (see under ‘Possession of Weapons’)
  • Rural Crime – not specifically included within an ongoing category, but various crime types fall within ongoing survey categories – for example thefts within a rural setting. Crimes requiring attention of specialised rural crime officers will be dealt with by the Rural Crime team, though there are close links and cooperation with our Neighbourhood Officers. View posts on Rural Crime team’s work.

Serious crime types led by Police as part of national or Force priorities:

Child Sexual Exploitation and Modern Slavery are two very serious crime types that used to feature in our survey choices.

We shouldn’t underestimate the potential for such crimes taking place within our local community, both behind closed doors and in plain sight. The Strategic Policing Requirement names child sexual abuse as one of its national threats and directs that “Forces should maintain child abuse investigation units and safeguarding teams. These should be staffed by police officers and staff that have undertaken the relevant specialist training to respond to cases of sexual abuse”.

Modern Slavery is an aspect of Serious and Organised Crime, another national threat within the Strategic Policing Requirement (and which also includes child sexual abuse). The everyday lead within Thames Valley is therefore at another level; also, by their nature, these forms of crime are often tackled in a multi-agency manner.

Cyber Crime and Fraud is a national and international problem. The UK Parliament’s Justice Committee reported in October 2022 that “the level of focus from policing is inadequate to deal with the scale, complexity and evolving nature of fraud. Only 2% of police funding is dedicated to combatting fraud despite it accounting for 40% of reported crime.” It spelt out the scale of the challenge, and actions needed nationally, including by key stakeholders, particularly telecomms, tech and social media companies. See Justice Committee report.

Tackling Cyber Crime is one of the key National Crime and Policing Measures set by the UK Government. Fighting Cyber Crime and Fraud is also one of the main 5 planks of Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner’s Police & Criminal Justice Plan, with the promise: “At a local level, I will continue to be proactive in educating the public and embracing the specialist technology and expertise necessary to pursue cyber criminals. Working through the existing regional structures, developing new collaborations and enhancing the Force’s own capability, we will enhance Thames Valley’s ability to protect the public from cybercrime.” Neighbourhood teams will in any case receive training as part of these initiatives.

Reporting of fraud is through the national platform ActionFraud. But recovery of losses through fraud is notoriously difficult, so the most effective response is always likely to be through prevention and education.

Cyber Bullying was also a category within the previous surveys. The Thames Valley Violence Reduction unit has produced advice sheets aimed at young people, and at parents and carers. Instances can occasion real harm and should be reported. They will be dealt with appropriately.

Thames Valley Police resources also include useful pages of information on Cyber Crime and Fraud. The TVP Cyber and Fraud Twitter account (@TVPCyber_Fraud) offers cyber protection and fraud prevention advice across Thames Valley.

Other agencies working to help residents to keep safe include:
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), offering a range of advice including Information for Individuals and Families.
The National Trading Standards eCrime Team – tackles online consumer scams, rip-offs and fraud, as well as those committed by text or email (https://www.tradingstandardsecrime.org.uk/, https://twitter.com/tsecrime)
Neighbourhood Watch – cybercrime web page and resources

Lead taken by Buckinghamshire Council or other agencies:

Residents may be surprised to see the omission of two categories in particular – Parking and Fly Tipping & Littering. These have regularly featured prominently as concerns in our surveys. This is explained below.

  • Parking is a vexatious issue in a number of localities. In many aspects, however, the responsibility is council-led. Please see Buckinghamshire Council’s Parking web page. This is part of the reason we judge it a category that doesn’t qualify for consideration as an area-wide Neighbourhood Policing focus area.
    This does not mean, of course, that our Neighbourhood Police won’t involve themselves in their localities, policing instances of Obstruction of the Highway, or illegal/dangerous parking, or in operations to assist in a known hotspot (see for example NHPT support of intervention at The Stoke Poges School surrounding parking concerns, led by Stoke Poges Parish Council).
  • Fly Tipping and Littering. This is another vexatious issue, especially in the South of the policing area. But the lead for combatting Fly Tpping and Littering lies with Buckinghamshire Council. See web pages ‘Report Fly Tipping‘ and ‘Fly-tipping Enforcement Policy‘.
    However, as Buckinghamshire Council’s Fly Tipping team readily acknowledges, there are many examples of cooperation with local Police which have led to effective outcomes.
  • Drug and Alcohol Abuse – Buckinghamshire Council web page ‘Drug and alcohol abuse‘ gives advice and signposting relating to health and addiction. It also signposts on reporting drug or alcohol related crimes in emergency and non-emergency situations. Drug Crime remains an important ongoing category within our surveys.
  • Dog Fouling in public areas is offensive, anti-social and potentially dangerous to human health. It was a choice in the original Forum surveys, but was dropped a while back. The key responsibility in terms of policy and enforcement lies with Buckinghamshire Council. Buckinghamshire Council Environmental Health operates a contracted dog warden service, which patrols parks and open spaces, and any other identified hotspots. They will also investigate complaints of dog fouling and other dog related complaints such as nuisance dog barking.
    Report Dog Fouling‘ web page on Buckinghamshire Council website.

Latest Neighbourhood Survey (when active)

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