PCC learns about new safeguarding training on Watford District Day
Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd spent a day focusing on crime and community safety issues in Watford recently, including learning about new training at bars and clubs to help safeguard those who might be vulnerable to becoming victims of crime.

The Commissioner met with Watford PubWatch chair Phil Holby, Watford Borough Council licensing enforcement officer Jamie McKenzie and Watford Neighbourhood Sergeant Simon Mason during his latest ‘district day’ in the town. Meeting at Town Hall, the group discussed the expansion of the Scan Net system to more PubWatch members and new vulnerability training for door staff at bars and clubs.

For the latter project, the Watford Central Safer Neighbourhood Team has been delivering training to people who work in the town’s major clubs and bars, including door staff to bar staff. The training helps staff identify people who are out enjoying the town’s nightlife but might be vulnerable to crime. Staff can help safeguard in ways such as intervening to make sure people get home safely with friends or family, so they are not left at risk of becoming victims of theft, assault or sexual offences.

The Commissioner was also given an update on the Scan Net system, which has been used for some time now by the main bars and nightclubs in the town to identify and keep records of who is on their premises. Although police initially encouraged them to introduce it, it is owned and run entirely by the bars themselves and the Commissioner was told how recently more establishments within PubWatch have introduced the system. Since it was introduced, Scan Net has contributed to a cut in reports of crime and anti-social behaviour in the town centre.

The visit to Watford on Tuesday (27th October) was the Commissioner’s latest ‘district day’ – a regular event where he focuses on the crime and community safety-related issues affecting each of the county’s 10 districts and boroughs.

The Commissioner’s day started at Watford Police Station, meeting Watford’s Chief Inspector David Wheatley and Superintendent Sue Jameson to discuss policing issues in the town. They discussed recent changes, such as the closure of the custody suite at the station and sat in on the Force’s Daily Management Meeting. Here senior officers from all 10 of the county’s districts and boroughs discuss the crimes reported in the previous 24 hours and tactics for the next 24 hours.

They then travelled to Watford Community Housing Trust HQ in Clarendon Road to meet the housing association’s Chief Executive Tina Barnard. The group discussed close partnership working between the Trust, the council and the police to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour in the borough.

After meeting PubWatch at Town Hall, the Commissioner then met Mayor Dorothy Thornhill and Council Chief Executive Manny Lewis, again to discuss crime, anti-social behaviour and policing issues in Watford. 

Later the Commissioner travelled to Youth Connexions in Lower High Street to see the centre and get an update from Watford Rape Crisis & Sexual Abuse Centre, which has received two grants from the Commissioner’s Community Fund (CCF).

Frances LeHane, from the Rape Crisis Centre, explained more about the work they do, the challenges they face as a charity and the effects of the CCF grants on the services they are able to offer victims of sex offences. The Centre has twice been awarded £5,000 from the fund. The money has allowed them to extend their services to male victims of sexual abuse, as well as develop the resources available for their volunteers in supporting victims of male rape, historical rape and forced marriage.

The final appointment was with Mary Walsh, team manager at Watford Youth Connexions, and senior advisor Jessica Webb. The group discussed their drop in centre for help supporting NEETs (young people Not in Employment, Education or Training) into work or further education. Low academic or vocational achievement or lack of career prospects is often a significant factor in how some young people end up offending or causing anti-social behaviour.

Afterwards, David Lloyd said: “My latest district day in Watford was as full as ever and it is always very encouraging to see the high level of partnership work between police, council, housing and other organisations in the borough. Encouraging local businesses to get more involved in crime prevention has been a mantra of mine and I am particularly pleased to see how bars and clubs are embracing this approach. I have been a fan of the Scan Net system for some time and it is good to see more businesses get on board, while the safeguarding training will help prevent people from becoming victims of crime in the months and years ahead.”

Elected Mayor of Watford Dorothy Thornhill said: "I was pleased to welcome the Police and Crime Commissioner, David Lloyd, and recognise all the good work being done in the town and across the partnership to support our night time economy. There was a one-off incident this weekend, but once again our police have acted swiftly.

“I also talked to David about how our Big Events series is really helping encourage families to come into the town centre to enjoy our restaurants and shops. We have a really successful partnership in Watford and continue to drive down anti-social behaviour and we will be looking to strengthen these ties in the future.”