Rochdale police column: Building stronger communities
Date published: 02 December 2019
Inspector Robert MacGregor, of the Rochdale East Neighbourhood Policing Team
Inspector Robert MacGregor, of the Rochdale East Neighbourhood Policing Team, on what the police are doing to tackle local issues across the borough.
This week he discusses a local collision on Halifax Road, behind the scenes work and the success of Streetwatch.
I think the most important subject to raise at the start is the awful incident on the A58 in which a lady was caused severe injuries having been hit by a vehicle which then drove off from the scene.
Some of the Neighbourhood officers attended that incident and have told me of the scene when they arrived and the overwhelming difficulty of trying to help the casualty, trying to get details from witnesses before they disappeared and simultaneously trying to manage the traffic building up in the area affecting thousands of commuters and parents on the school run.
Our thoughts are with the lady and her family. The driver of the vehicle has been arrested.
When collisions occur which may be fatal (and we believed this may prove to be one) the scene has to be managed like any potentially unlawful killing, which means cordoning the area to preserve any evidence. It is extremely difficult to balance that duty and the desire to allow traffic flow.
I appreciate that even where the traffic issue was being discussed on social media that there was support for the work being done by police.
In Newbold the community, RBH, Guinness Partnership, Rochdale Council and local police carried out a litter pick. Newbold is an area which has suffered from some chronic problems with crime, disorder, environmental issues and more besides. Some of the problems are so entrenched that it is beyond the police to meaningfully improve things in isolation.
I met with senior leaders from all agencies working in the area a couple of weeks ago to discuss how we would work with the community to start improving the area. I expect this piece of work to take years to achieve its objectives. The local youth centre carried out a second litter pick in the evening.
We have carried out patrols on three evenings a week on the Metrolink line. We are divided as to whether this has been effective. We have not had crimes occurring when doing the patrols but officers who have done the work say that they are not convinced they were achieving a great deal. We carried this work out using overtime, so for two months' activity, it has cost us about £4,000. It cannot continue to be paid for with overtime, so if we are going to do this in future, it then it will have to be done by taking staff from the neighbourhoods.
I would be interested to hear any views on this - my email is at the end of this article.
This is still under investigation and so I cannot provide much information on the case, but you may be aware that we carried out a warrant at an address in Castleton where we seized a large number of dachshunds which are suspected of being illegally traded.
This is not the first instance of this we have dealt with in 2019. Please if you are looking to get a dog consider getting one from a rehoming organisation.
When the investigation has finished, I will share videos and photos of this warrant which may cause some upset.
Dangerous offenders and vulnerable people
Much of the work the Neighbourhood Team carry out is impossible to share.
This confidential activity includes my attendance at MAPPA (Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements) meetings. These meetings discuss the most dangerous individuals in our area whether due to violence or sexual crimes or both.
The Pennines have very few individuals who are considered dangerous but MAPPAs are an important forum to share information and set actions for different agencies to keep the community safe. As with much of policing, when these meetings achieve their objectives, nothing happens and nobody is aware, but the alternative does not bear thinking about.
We have separate strategy meetings where we discuss children who are considered at risk or vulnerable which the PCs and PCSOs attend and another group called the Place Based Team which meet every week and brings together agencies to discuss families and individuals who are vulnerable and need support in a specific geographic area (currently only in Kirkholt but this will roll out more widely in 2020).
We also have the Locality Team at Littleborough Children's Centre who bring together agencies involved with children to try and identify emerging problems and children who need Early Help to stop their path towards being vulnerable.
None of the conversations or actions related to these meetings can be shared in press releases or social media posts, but they prevent harm and change the future for people (particularly children).
Building Stronger Communities
The Milnrow and Newhey Streetwatch scheme is continuing to do brilliant work and I give them at least some of the credit for burglary and vehicle crime in the villages being the lowest they have been for a number of years. They are recruiting new volunteers currently.
They are a group of friendly individuals who want to do their bit to make the villages a better place. You can do your patrols whilst walking your dog, as a couple or with a new friend you go out with through the group. It is good for your health, to make new friends, and for your community.
Please don’t leave it to someone else to make the difference, email Milnrow.Newhey@gmail.com to sign up.
The Milkstone and Deeplish Streetwatch scheme is being set up shortly. Milkstone and Deeplish is not a neighbourhood I am responsible for but there are residents keen to do their bit to make their area a better place and so I wish them the very best in these cold months when they go out to make their community a safer and better place to live.
The Blokes group at Hare Hill House was an idea which I have been truly impressed by. It is such a simple and effective idea that I would love to see it set up across the Pennines.
When I look at the lowest crime rates for years in the Pennines, the groups doing amazing work in the area and the proactive work being carried out by my PCs and PCSOs to catch criminals and to protect vulnerable people, it makes me feel very proud and positive about the future.
Let's keep up the good work and keep making a difference together.
Inspector Robert MacGregor
Rochdale East Neighbourhood Policing Team
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