Mini Police, tractors to fight crime and policing major towns in East Herts at the weekends were all covered in the Police and Crime Commissioner’s latest District Day.
David Lloyd also saw first-hand two fly tipping sites where sixty tonnes of rubbish were dumped in Barwick and Much Hadham.
Every year Mr Lloyd is committed to visiting each of the county’s ten districts at least once to speak to police officers, residents and groups, to understand the local issues and find solutions.
“It has been an extremely informative day and one of contrasts. East Herts is the biggest single district in the county which brings challenges in terms of rural crime, as well as that associated with the busy night time economies of Hertford and Bishop’s Stortford.
“I have seen the great work which is being done in the schools, had a very informative update from the Chief Inspector and witnessed the scourge of fly tipping.”
Mr Lloyd spent an hour at Hillmead Primary School, in Woburn Avenue, Bishop’s Stortford, answering dozens of questions from a class of Year 5 pupils.
Among the queries they had were: Have you ever shot anyone? How fast can police cars go on a blue light? Do you like your job? How many people are arrested every day? Who is the oldest police officer? and Have you seen the grey lady police station ghost?
In reply to being asked what is the most common crime in Hertfordshire Mr Lloyd told them: “That is one that you have to keep a look out for every day – it is cyber-crime. It involves cyber bulling online and also fraud where people try to steal your money.”
The pupils, aged 9 and 10, are taking part in Hertfordshire’s Mini Police scheme which engages them with officers, breaks down perceived barriers and teaches them about policing. They also learn about Stranger Danger and how to stay safe online in the eight week course.
The Commissioner also went to Foxholes Farm, in London Road, Hertford, to speak to local officers and farmer Tom Parkins, who volunteers to help support the police.
Mr Lloyd was shown one of the 30 dash cameras his office has provided for farmers to put in their vehicles, including tractors and all-terrain vehicles. One is also in a milk float.
They enable the drivers to report anything suspicious they see with video footage, and it also allows officers investigating crimes to visit them to see if they caught anything on camera around the time of the offence.
Sgt Duncan Wallace said: “They have been a great tool to give out to farmers as it gives us an extra pair of eyes in the sparsely populated rural areas. They also make offenders think twice and worry if they have been picked up by the dash cams.”
New initiatives to tackle hare coursing which occurs in the district were also discussed.
At Hertford Police station Mr Lloyd met with Chief Inspector Stuart Orton to discuss existing issues and new threats.
“We do have an issue in Hertford and Bishop’s Stortford with county lines where people are coming out of London to deal drugs. It is a problem, but so far we have not had the violence that can be associated with this activity.
“We have successfully shut down several of the lines recently and are determined to keep coming down hard on the problem.”
Ch Insp Orton also highlighted the new Youth Safety Partnership to engage with children and young adults in conjunction with the District Council, YC Herts, local schools, Targeted Youth Support Services and CYP colleagues.
Mr Lloyd also went to the scene of two huge fly tipping incidents in which 60 tonnes of waste was illegally dumped just a few miles apart within a week.
Both piles measuring 6m long by 3m high were made up of processed residential waste which has been sorted then compacted. One was left on farmland in Barwick while the other was left at the entrance to a school playing field in Much Hadham.
After examining the piles Mr Lloyd said: “These are some of the worst fly tipping crimes I have come across anywhere in the county. It is going to cost several thousand pounds to clear up the mess these criminals have left behind.”
At the end of the day he met with Laura Hyde, Chief Executive of East Herts Citizens Advice Bureau, to discuss how they could work together to help residents in remote rural communities.