Report shows officer numbers up and crime down in Herts
Officer numbers are up and crime is down across Hertfordshire, the Police and Crime Commissioner has reported in his Annual Report.

The report covering 2019-20 highlighted new initiatives to help victims of fraud, antisocial behaviour and domestic abuse plus an improved system for public complaints about the police.

The full report has now been published alongside others examining the welfare of detainees, the use of stop and search powers and how police dogs are treated.

David Lloyd said: “The last year showed a very positive picture for the performance of Hertfordshire Constabulary with officer numbers up and overall crime down.

“We are on track to have the largest number of police officers in the county ever. When I set the budget the public overwhelmingly backed my proposal to spend the additional money from the precept on 75 extra officers.

“Every month we have new officers joining the Constabulary, subsequently by April this year there were more than 2,000 for the first time since 2011.”


   Mr Lloyd with Chief Constable outside refurbished station                           Out with officer in St Albans

These officers are supporting proactive work in neighbourhoods, including specialist units such as the Scorpion Team to tackle threats from serious violence, county lines and travelling criminality.

The target is that by the end of 2023 there will be 305 more officers in Hertfordshire which represents an 18.1 per cent increase on the 2018/19 levels.

He added: “Meanwhile in the year covered in the report overall crime in Hertfordshire was down by 1.8 per cent. This gives Hertfordshire the second lowest level of crime when compared to our most similar areas, including Avon and Somerset, Hampshire, Leicestershire, Staffordshire, Surrey, Sussex and Thames Valley.”

The latest report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services, which rated Hertfordshire as ‘good’ in all areas of keeping people safe and reducing crime, was also referenced by Mr Lloyd.

Other aspects highlighted include additional support for victims of crime and enhanced complaints system for members of the public around policing issues plus criminal justice initiatives.

Since its creation in 2015, Hertfordshire’s victim care centre Beacon has contacted 250,000 people effected by crime and supported many through the criminal justice system.

In the past year it has expanded with a dedicated fraud team which has so far helped residents recover over £300,000. Recently additional staff have been recruited to pilot a new safeguarding Hub in the force’s Domestic Abuse and Safeguarding Unit (DAISU), and a specialist ASB caseworker.

Mr Lloyd also Chairs the Hertfordshire Criminal Justice Board and has been calling for reform of the system.

“Currently it serves neither the accused nor victim as well as it could, this is characterised by low rates of guilty pleas at first hearing, over-listings, a backlog of cases and high rates of victims and witness attrition.

“I have been pulling together all partner agencies in the county to work together to address these issues,” said Mr Lloyd.


   Collaboration with Fire and Rescue Service has become closer                     Officer numbers are oncourse to be the highest ever

Regarding the complaints system, Hertfordshire residents now have a fastest and easier system for raising concerns about police conduct or issues.

The Commissioner has introduced one of the most ambitious of the statutory models, which only two other Commissioner’s Offices in England and Wales are adopting.

This enhanced procedure will see the Complaint Resolution Team (CRT) in the Commissioner’s office having first sight, initial contact and making the assessment on how the complaint will be handled.

Members of the public can make a complaint about any police conduct matter that they have witnessed or the police service generally when they have been directly affected by it, and a dedicated phone line and email address will enable the public to contact the team. All complaints are acknowledged quickly, providing an overview of how the complaint will be managed and progressed.

Other reports submitted alongside the Annual Report covered the findings of the independent volunteer schemes facilitated by the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office.

These include the Independent Custody visitors who ensure detainees held in police custody are having their rights upheld, plus the stop and search scrutiny panel who examine whether police powers are being used appropriately.

The full reports are available on the Commissioner’s website at https://www.hertscommissioner.org/police-and-crime-plan-herts-pcc
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PCC secures £618,000 to tackle burglary and car crime
Two areas in Hertfordshire are to receive £618,629 to reduce burglary and vehicle crime after funding was secured by the Police and Crime Commissioner.

Hertfordshire was one of 35 PCC areas across the country to receive money from the Home Office Safer Streets fund to invest in targeted measures to design out and reduce acquisitive crimes.

Crime prevention and reduction measures to tackle vehicle theft and burglary will seek to make communities safer in the wards of Cheshunt South and Theobalds, and Cheshunt East.

As part of a series of measures, technicians from the Herts Home Security Service will visit approximately 450 homes to carry out free security assessments and, if required, install new door and window locks, garage defenders and floodlight motion activated surveillance cameras. 

Other measures will include installing new lockable alleyway gates, targeted police patrols and extending the Neighbourhood Watch scheme.

The successful bid was announced yesterday (Tuesday) after the money was applied for in a bid by Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd.



Welcoming the news Mr Lloyd said: “This money will make a real positive difference for those living in those communities who are impacted by burglary and vehicle crime.

“This funding provides us with a key opportunity to make our streets safer and reduce the vulnerability of properties and vehicles to criminality.

“We all have a part to play in reducing crime and I am pleased that the local housing associations, local authority, police, fire service and trading standards will work together to deliver targeted and innovative crime prevention and reduction measures.

“The aim of Safer Streets is to enable closer working with residents to increase community engagement, empower them to reduce crime and build social capital to ensure a long-term sustainable solution.

“I would like to thank everyone, whose hard work made this bid successful, and I look forward to seeing the work start and the results.”

Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Deputy Chief Constable Michelle Dunn said: “Preventing crimes from taking place is key to creating safer communities. Fewer crimes mean fewer victims, which in turns means fewer people experiencing the shock and upset of having their home broken into or their property stolen.

“We are delighted this bid has been successful – the money will go towards measures that are proven to cut crime and increase community engagement in crime prevention. It will be a significant boost for many people living in the borough of Broxbourne.”

The Home Secretary announced the Safer Streets Fund in October 2019, and PCCs were invited to bid for funding in April this year.

Bidders were asked to outline a plan to reduce crime within a local crime hotspot, demonstrating value for money, evidence of community engagement and long-term sustainability.

Broxbourne Councillor Siobhan Monaghan, Cabinet Member for Housing and Community, said: “I am delighted with the outcome of the Safer Streets application for funding to help tackle crime in our Borough. A total of over £618k has been awarded from the Home Office fund to use in specific areas of Broxbourne to tackle vehicle crime and to help protect vulnerable properties.

“This will be a real multi-agency approach showing true partnership working; engaging residents to take steps to help us help them. We want Broxbourne to be a safe place to live and work and this money will contribute towards that goal.”

Each property that has a visit from the security adviser will also be provided with a bespoke Home Security Pack to tackle burglary and vehicle crime.

The pack will include an entry door alarm, window chime alarm, 24 hour segment timer, fence spikes, NHW pack, crime prevention stickers, steering wheel locks, faraday bags, clutch claws, product marking and catalytic converter marking.

Acquisitive offences are the crimes that the public are most likely to encounter, and they are estimated to cost society billions of pounds every year.

There is strong evidence that these crimes can be prevented by tactics that either remove opportunities to commit crime or act as a deterrent by increasing the chances of an offender being caught.
 
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Extra help for anti-social behaviour victims in Herts
Additional support for victims of anti-social behaviour has been created by the Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner.

A new case manager to specialise in helping those effected by ASB has been hired as part of a one-year pilot.

They are based at Hertfordshire’s victim care centre Beacon, in Welwyn Garden City, which contacts every victim of crime in the county.

The ASB workers main role is to provide vulnerable people with a high level of support that will help them to cope and recover following incidents.

Priority will be given to vulnerable victims, those under age, subject to harassment or stalking, and those repeatedly targeted. They can also work with people where ASB incidents have not been identified as a crime, to advocate on their behalf.

They will provide confidential one to one support, liaison with other organisations on behalf of victims, signpost and onward referrals to specialist support.



This will involve working with relevant agencies so that Hertfordshire can provide victims with a multi-agency problem solving approach to their ASB incidents and crimes.

Agreeing the one-year pilot Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd said: “We are always looking at innovative ways of tackling crime and best helping those who are victims of crime.

 “Beacon already offers one of the most comprehensive support systems in the country and this new ASB worker will reinforce their scope of work even further.

“They will work closely with our most vulnerable victims to make a real difference to their lives. They will also work with police, councils and housing associations to make changes to reduce the occurrence of anti-social behaviour.”

The opening of the new service comes just a month after another pilot scheme to support more victims of domestic violence.

The Beacon Safeguarding Hub is based at the Domestic Abuse Investigation and Safeguarding Unit (DAISU) at Hatfield Police Station. The five-strong team includes three police staff and two specially trained civilian support workers from the victim service provider Catch 22.

The Beacon Safeguarding Hub is a 12-month pilot to enhance the support offered to domestic abuse victims. They will triage and contact an estimated 300 victims every month.

 
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18 new officers graduate to join Herts Police
While the rest of us went into lockdown, these 18 new recruits went into the classroom to learn the skills needed to become Hertfordshire Constabulary police officers.

And last Friday 10 July, the eight men and 10 women – including a former chef, care worker and engineers – were officially welcomed by Chief Constable Charlie Hall.

Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, David Lloyd said: “I would like to welcome these new officers to Hertfordshire Constabulary. They are embarking on a challenging career, but one which brings huge rewards, opportunities and makes a real difference to our community.

“For several years now, I have raised the council tax because residents have told me they want extra officers on the streets. Hertfordshire now has more frontline officers than a decade ago, and is on course to have its largest ever force.”



“I am always happy and proud to meet our new police officers but I must say, this particular cohort has shown real grit and determination to continue with their studies at such an unprecedented time,” said Ch Constable Hall.

“While many of their friends and family were furloughed or working from home, they have been in the classroom, socially distanced from their tutors and classmates, enrolled in our vigorous 15-week training schedule, and I am very proud of each of them for making it through.

“Their graduation was different, too, with no family or friends invited to watch them parade, as we maintain COVID-safe arrangements, but I was delighted to welcome them to our policing family.”

The training included a mixture of classroom based and practical sessions, covering a vast range of topics including law and powers, personal safety and dealing with volatile situations, first aid and safeguarding vulnerable victims.  On-the-job training continues for many months until they are fit for independent patrol, with two PCs based in Broxbourne, Dacorum, East Herts, Hertsmere, St Albans, Three Rivers, Watford and Welwyn Hatfield, and one based in Stevenage and North Herts.

Trainee PC Becca Duane, 29, sold her Liverpool hair salon business before relocating to Hertfordshire to realise her ambition of becoming a police officer.

“We started our training as the country went into lockdown and it was an amazing experience,” she said. “We couldn’t get as hands-on during the course because of coronavirus, we had to be more creative and improvise, but the training was better than I’d even imagined. It was brilliant. And everyone is like family not friends, it’s wonderful.”

Becca, who aims to work in child protection, is starting her first shifts with Watford’s Safer Neighbourhood Team and Intervention.



If you feel inspired to become a Hertfordshire police officer, visit hertspoliceofficer.co.uk/

Through our ‘Positive Action’ scheme, Hertfordshire Constabulary is committed to building relationships with under-represented groups and encouraging them to join our policing family. For more information and support visit hertspoliceofficer.co.uk/diversity
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Extra funding to support victims of sexual crime secured by PCC
Funding for two extra workers to support victims of sexual crimes in Hertfordshire has been secured from the Ministry of Justice.

The successful bid by the office of the Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd will provide additional support for male victims and those who are sexually exploited.

A total of £117,250 has been secured by the Commissioner to support this project until March 2022.

Mr Lloyd said: “It is important that victims of rape or sexual assault feel free and comfortable to report what has happened to them. We have identified that male victims and those who are being groomed or exploited are particularly reluctant to reach out for help.

“This grant we have secured will pay for two new Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs) who can offer practical and emotional support to victims, regardless of whether they have contacted the police.

“Often with the support of this service, those effected find the strength to engage with the criminal justice process and help to convict offenders who otherwise may have escaped prosecution.”



Applications for the two new Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (IDVAS) will soon be open to individuals and organisations.

Currently there are five other ISVAs who are based in Hemel Hempstead, and cover the whole county. They are based at the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) in Hemel, where sexual assault victims are provided with forensic and supportive services.

Two of the ISVAs support adult victims, two work with young persons aged between 15 and 20 years and there is a specialist ISVA for children.

The ISVAs provide support for anyone who has suffered any unwanted sexual experience, by providing information and advice. This can be before, during and after any court proceedings.

The Commissioner’s office made the bid for the two new workers after they found less than six per cent of referrals to the SARC relate to men, while national data suggests that of all adult victims of sexual violence 16 per cent are male.

Some of the funding therefore, is going to be used to hire a male ISVA. The SARC is currently the only specialist sexual violence service in Hertfordshire that supports male victims and survivors, but it does not currently have a male ISVA and it is thought that this might feel like a barrier to accessibility.

Hertfordshire has also seen a rise in those that been sexually exploited through modern slavery and human trafficking. This includes those who have been forced in to prostitution.
The second new worker is going to be responsible for working with this group, who are traditionally less likely to seek help.

Any organisations interested in this opportunity should contact Jenna Skinner, Programme Manager at the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office on jenna.skinner@herts.pcc.pnn.gov.uk.
 
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Recruitment continues to build largest ever force in Herts
Hertfordshire Constabulary is seeking individuals with passion and drive to join the force as Police Officers.

Being a Police Officer is a unique and rewarding job that gives you the chance to make a positive impact in your local community. You will play a vital role in keeping people safe, reducing crime and catching criminals.

Victims and witnesses of crime will look to you for support during the worst times of their life.

Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd said: ““Hertfordshire Constabulary is one of the highest regarded forces in the country by its residents, and respected nationally as a professional and progressive service. We are currently recruiting hundreds of extra officers with the aim of building the largest ever force in the history of Hertfordshire.

“Policing is one of the most exciting and rewarding careers you can embark on, with a breadth of specialisation opportunities available that are not found in any other job.”



By joining Hertfordshire Constabulary, you will get to experience the challenges of policing both rural and urban communities. You will receive first-class training and begin your policing service on the frontline responding to 101 and 999 calls. As you progress throughout your career you will have the opportunity to branch out and specialise in others areas of policing too.

Throughout your service, you will be fully supported and the strong bonds and friendships you build with your colleagues will remain for life.

Chief Constable Charlie Hall said: “I am extremely proud of the work that our officers undertake every day and there is no doubt that the strength of the Constabulary lies in its people. If you want to play a role in making sure that Hertfordshire remains a safe place to live and work then please do not hesitate to apply.

“We’re looking for individuals who are caring, trustworthy and can work well as a team. If you think you have what it takes, we’d welcome your application. Policing is a career like no other and you will experience the amazing feeling of knowing that you have truly made a difference to someone else’s life.

“We are particularly reaching out to our diverse communities, to under-represented groups, to say please come forward, we want you to apply as we want the Constabulary’s workforce to reflect the communities we serve and protect.”

For more information about becoming a Police Officer and how to apply, visit hertspoliceofficer.co.uk
 
Through our ‘Positive Action’ scheme, Hertfordshire Constabulary is committed to building relationships with under-represented groups and encouraging them to join our policing family. For more information and support visit hertspoliceofficer.co.uk/diversity
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Knife crime operation launched in Herts
Hertfordshire Constabulary has started conducting an Operation Sceptre week of pro-active knife operations between Monday 13 July and Sunday 19 July.
 
This week members of the public can surrender any unwanted knives to the police, anonymously and without fear of prosecution for possession of these items.
 
Knife related crime remains lower in Hertfordshire than in other parts of the country, but the amnesty provides an opportunity to remove knives and other weapons from the streets. It will also help to reinforce the message that carrying a knife is illegal and will not help to keep you safe.
 
During the week, any knives in your possession that you do not want or should not have, can be surrendered at one of the following police stations: Hatfield, Stevenage or Watford. There will also be temporary knife bins in locations around the county and there are permanent surrender bins in Waltham Cross, details of which can be found at www.herts.police.uk/amnesty.
 
Items can be surrendered anonymously during the amnesty in the knife bins provided, the locations and opening times of these stations can be found at www.herts.police.uk/stations.
 
Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, David Lloyd, said: “Knife crime is low in Hertfordshire when compared to other parts of the country. But when it does occur it is devastating for the victim and spreads fear through communities.
 
“For several years it has rightly been a policing priority and we have programmes in place to target those already carrying knives or at risk of being drawn into that culture.
 
“Studies have shown that those who carry knives are much more likely to be injured by them. This amnesty is another vital strand of our strategy to tackle serious youth violence, as every blade removed from the streets reduces the risk of it being used to threaten or injure someone.”
 


Inspector Nicola Dean from the Crime Reduction Team, who is leading on the operational activity for Operation Sceptre, said: “Crime has reduced significantly during lockdown, and we feel that it is a good time to make sure there are less knives in circulation and reiterate the dangers of carrying a knife.
 
“We have developed comprehensive plans over the past two years to address knife crime and regular amnesties are part of our wider plans to tackle violent crime. During the week we will be conducting operations to reduce knife-related crime, as well as raise awareness that it is illegal to carry a knife in public and may lead to arrest.
 
“The amnesty also provides an opportunity to educate young people about the dangers of carrying a knife and raise awareness amongst local businesses that selling certain knives to anyone under 18 is illegal. As part of a wider campaign officers will be carrying out knife detection and education activities across the county during the week.”
 
If you are concerned or have information about someone carrying knives or are aware of anyone involved in knife crime you can report this by calling the Hertfordshire Constabulary non-emergency number 101.



You can also report information online at herts.police.uk/report or speak to an operator in the Force Communications Room via our online web chat, which can be launched here: herts.police.uk/contact.

Alternatively, you can stay 100% anonymous by contacting the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via their untraceable online form at crimestoppers-uk.org. If you would like further information on support services relating to knife crime contact Fearless.org.
 
During the knife amnesty, you can let the police know how you feel we are dealing with knife crime in your local area by answering two quick questions. Simply visit www.bit.ly/herts-knifecrime - all responses are anonymous and may help to contribute towards local initiatives.
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PCC introduces new enhanced police complaints procedure
A faster, easier and more transparent police complaints procedure is being launched across the county from today (6th July 2020).

Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd has opted to provide a more comprehensive complaint resolution procedure.

It follows Home Office legislation earlier this year which gave a range of options on how complaints and dissatisfactions should be handled by the police.

Mr Lloyd, following consultation with the Chief Constable of Hertfordshire Constabulary, has committed to the more ambitious of the statutory models, which only two other forces in England and Wales are adopting.

This enhanced procedure involves an expanded Complaint Resolution Team (CRT) in the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) having initial contact and handling of all complaints regarding Hertfordshire Constabulary.



Members of the public can make a complaint about any police related matter that they have witnessed or been directly affected by and a dedicated phone line (opening after COVID-19 lockdown restrictions are eased) will enable the public to contact the experienced Complaint Resolution Team.

Welcoming the new system Mr Lloyd said: “The vast majority of our police officers perform extremely professionally in one of the toughest jobs there is.

“We should all be proud and grateful for the role they play in keeping our communities safe and secure, but it is vital for public confidence that an efficient and robust system is in place when service falls below expectations.

“The change in legislation also provides opportunity for vital feedback on police procedures and training so the Constabulary can evaluate areas which need improvement.

“I have opted for the enhanced model as it will give me even more information on which I can hold the Constabulary to account on behalf of the public.
“We already have one of the most highly regarded forces in the country and this scheme will enable us to build on this.”

Members of the public can report a complaint online or by phone, email or post. All complaints will be acknowledged quickly, providing an overview of how the complaint will be managed and progressed.

Examples of complaints often include to lack of action in a case, officer attitude, local policing issues, use of police vehicles and lack of communication. 

Complaints classified as serious and requiring further investigation will continue to be managed by the Professional Standards Department (PSD) in Hertfordshire Constabulary, after being assessed by the CRT. These include allegations which could lead to disciplinary or criminal proceedings against an officer or member of police staff, or those involving alleged discrimination.

The new Home Office overhaul of complaints aims to provide a more streamlined process for members of the public with a single point contact and the opportunity for complaints to be independently assessed.



The new legislation puts greater emphasis on customer service whilst managing complaints proportionately and professionally. It also provides the opportunity for individual and organisational learning for continuous service improvement.

How to make a complaint

Online –           Herts Police - https://www.herts.police.uk/Report/Report-Shared/Make-a-complaint
 
Email -             opcccomplaintresolutionteam@herts.pcc.pnn.gov.uk
 
Phone -            Herts Police non-emergency number 101 (24/7)
                        Complaint Resolution Team - 01707 806111 (Mon-Fri 10am – 1pm)
 
Post –              Complaint Resolution Team, 15 Vaughan Road, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, AL5 4GZ
 
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Fly tips in East Herts cleaned up with PCC funding
Two farmers in East Hertfordshire have had fly tipped rubbish cleared-up for free using money confiscated from criminals.

The sites in Ware Road, Great Amwell and Great Hadham Road, Bishop’s Stortford, were blighted by tonnes of rubbish.

Both landowners used a scheme run by the office of the Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner to cover the £550 cost of clearing each site. The rubbish included fridges, construction and household waste.


   Household waste dumped in Great Hadham in Bishop's Stortford 

Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd said: “All but one of the ten councils across Herts have now joined the scheme. This shows how committed all parties are to tackling fly tipping.

“Fly tipping is one of the crimes I hear most from the public. It blights the countryside and causes substantial costs for farmers and landowners to clear the waste, and poses a danger to road users, livestock and wildlife. It spoils the enjoyment of the countryside for all.

“I do not believe it is fair that farmers and landowners are left to pick up a bill, which can run in to thousands of pounds, because someone else has fly tipped on their property.”


   Before and after clear up site in Bishop's Stortford

Both of the clean-up operations were paid for by the PCC using a £20,000 fund that was generated by the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA). This is money that has been confiscated from criminals and put back into crime fighting and victim initiatives.

To be eligible for the funding farmers or green space landowners will have to prove they already have a waste disposal contract in place with an authorised collection firm.

The scheme is part of the county wide multi-agency and multi- channel campaign being run by the Herts Fly Tipping Group - #SCRAPflytipping.

Anyone interested in making a claim or finding out more information can contact the Environmental team at their district or borough councils and mention the Police and Crime Commissioner’s private land fly tipping pilot.
Hertsmere Borough Council is not currently involved in the scheme.


   Rubbish in Great Amwell was cleared up using funds from PCC

BACKGROUND:
Land covered by the fund, includes; privately owned woodland and forestry land, land that was formerly used for agriculture parking, land used for horticultural purposes and tree nurseries.

Over the last two years the PCC has committed over £130,000 through his Local Partnership Fund to help local authorities tackle fly tipping on public land across Hertfordshire.

The Hertfordshire Fly Tipping Group is a multi-agency taskforce including the Boroughs, Districts and County Council as well as the Police, Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Herts Fire & Rescue, the Environment Agency, the National Farmers Union and Keep Britain Tidy which has come together to improve how Hertfordshire responds to fly tipping.

The on-going work programme is resulting in improvements in enforcement capability across the county as well as the rollout of new technology to assist in identifying and prosecuting fly tippers. www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/flytipping
 
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Free locks and security devices for most vulnerable in Hertfordshire
Free locks and security devices are available across the county to the elderly, victims of domestic abuse victims and residents targeted by repeat burglaries.

The crime tackling measures are supplied and fitted at no charge by five technicians working for the Hertfordshire Home Safety Service (HHSS).

Run by Hertfordshire County Council and Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service it has been supported for the past three years by the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office which has paid for one of the technicians, using proceeds of crime monies.

Last year it conducted over 1,000 home visits to those referred for help by police officers, council staff and case workers from Beacon, Hertfordshire’s victim care centre.

A ‘Year of Beacon’ was launched at the start of 2020 to recognise the wide-range of work it undertakes and to celebrate the 250,000 people is has supported.



Residents entitled to the free services from HHSS include those who fit any of the following groups: aged over 70, registered disabled, victims of domestic violence and those deemed vulnerable because of mental health issues. Burglary victims who have been targeted twice in two years are also eligible.

Services include fitting or maintaining locks to windows, doors and gates at well as anti-climb strips to fences and walls. Fireproof letter flaps are also available plus telephone call blockers for those vulnerable to scams or vogue traders.

Last year they conducted 1,061 home visits which included 505 for domestic abuse victims, 185 for burglary, 94 for anti-social behaviour, 49 for victims of violence, 31 at risk of rogue traders and 14 targeted in hate crime.

Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner said: “I believe we have one of the best range of provisions in the country for looking after victims of crime. I have help fund the HHSS service for the past three years as it provides reassurance, practical advice and physical equipment to those most at risk in Hertfordshire.

“Preventing crime and protecting the most vulnerable in our society, is a key part of my role as Commissioner, it is not just about policing. Beacon contacts every victim of crime in the county, and they have referred many to receive the free services offered by HHSS.”

Steve Holton, Area Commander for Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue said: “Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service as part of Herts County Council are proud to provide this service to the residents of Hertfordshire.
 
“Crime can affect people in different ways and we are all too aware of victims becoming isolated and their confidence being affected.
 
“The HHSS service provide free practical intervention measures that  help to rebuild confidence whilst also helping to prevent crime from happening.”
 


Herts Home Safety Service can be contacted by calling 0300 1234 046 you can request a referral form by emailing HHSS@hertfordshire.gov.uk
 
Beacon is staffed by Victim Service Team each day 8am – 8pm, in addition, Catch22 employees work Monday to Friday 8am – 8pm & Saturday 9am – 5pm. By phone: 0300 011 55 55 by email  info@hertfordshirebeacon.org or at http://www.hertfordshirebeacon.org/

Background
Since it was created by Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd in April 2015 Beacon has contacted 6,000 victims of crime a month to offer information, support and assistance.

Those helped have ranged from age four to 97 and includes people who have not reported crimes to police.

Based at Hertfordshire Police headquarters in Welwyn Garden City, Beacon was established as a ground-breaking hybrid model.
Supporting victims of crime is a legal police responsibility, which in most parts of the country is either run by a police officer team or outsourced to an external charity.

But Mr Lloyd decided a more comprehensive hybrid system would best serve victims and he created the Beacon victim service centre.

It is staffed by 16 police officers and staff, including three sergeants in the Victim Service Team who contact every person in the county who have reported an offence.

Those effected by high harm crimes, are vulnerable or require additional support are then referred to one of 15 professional case managers from the charity Catch 22.
 
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Read my Daily Telegraph interview on crisis of three year court dates
As well as being the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire I also lead the national association on criminal justice.

I have given this interview below to the Daily Telegraph outlining my concerns, and that of other PCCs, on a looming crisis in the system as criminal cases are taking up to three years to reach trial.


 
Crime victims face waits of up to three years to get justice in courts, says police commissioner, as he demands urgent Government action
Criminals will escape justice unless the Government tackles the crisis in the criminal justice system, says a leading police commissioner
 
Victims of crime are having to wait up to three years for their cases to come to court and criminals will escape justice because of the growing backlog in trials, say police chiefs.  
David Lloyd, lead for the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners on courts, said the backlog built up during the Covid-19 crisis meant some victims would have to wait three years for their offenders to be sentenced.  
He warned it would mean fewer guilty pleas as defence barristers would advise clients to play the long game on the basis that their cases may never come to court or be able to be successfully prosecuted.  
Mr Lloyd, police and crime commissioner for Hertfordshire, feared witnesses and victims could give up or would not be able to remember key facts if they had to wait three years before giving evidence to a court. “There is a danger people will lose confidence in the criminal justice system,” he said.  
Criminals such as burglars and drug dealers would also be free to continue offending while awaiting trial, he added.  
In a letter to the Justice Secretary Robert Buckland, Mr Lloyd warned that the criminal justice system faced an “existential crisis” as the backlog has increased from 39,000 to 41,000 during the pandemic.  
“There is a unanimous view that the size and scale of the backlog of court cases, and the formulation of coherent plans to address it, is the biggest single issue facing the criminal justice system,” he wrote.  
Mr Lloyd said it was not victims but also defendants, citing the case of a 19 year old man accused of rape having to wait until they are 22 to potentially clear their name.
“We should aim that if you go into the criminal justice system, that you are out of it within six months,” he said.  
“The criminal justice system is filled with young people whose lives for the most part are put on hold until the trial is over. If it’s six months, that can be managed but if it is three years, that might change their whole life chances. If they are innocent, that is particularly difficult.” 
 In his letter, My Lloyd laid out a five point plan including better sharing of data to ensure so that criminal justice boards could work out what was needed to reduce the backlog.  
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) should encourage local innovation such as using large halls or sports centres for trials to satisfy social distancing rules.  
He also recommended better communication, greater use of technology such as use of video links for court appearances and more delegation of budgets to local centres.  
Mr Lloyd feared that without urgent action, the criminal justice system could “grind to a halt.” “The very top of the system who make the decisions don’t yet feel it is at crisis point,” he said.  
“The parts of the system that think it is a crisis are at the court door. If you ask the prosecutors, senior police officers or police and crime commissioners, we all think there is a crisis in the system.”
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “We understand the frustration of victims and have been working closely with the judiciary and criminal justice partners, including the APCC, to keep the justice system running during this pandemic.
“The backlog of cases in crown courts is significantly lower than it was in 2010 and we’ve reopened more courts and restarted jury trials.”

 
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Anti-knife crime and serious youth violence initiative extended
A major initiative to tackle knife and serious violent crime across the county has been extended by Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd.

An extra £178,000 has been awarded so four SOS St Giles’ Trust workers can carry on their intensive support to young people at risk of serious violence and criminal exploitation.

The funding is made up of £133,000 from the Commissioner’s Community Safety Grant and £45,000 from Hertfordshire District and Borough Councils.

It will be used to keep the youth workers in post until next April so they can carry on their early intervention and targeted help for those at risk.


   A Lives Not Knives event with (L-R) Chief Insp Steve O’Keefe, Sergeant Rachel Brown, PCC David Lloyd,  Detective Insp Anna Borella, Chief Constable Charlie Hall

Last year £280,000 was pledged to create the scheme across the county to safeguard hundreds of children and young adults following a successful pilot in Broxbourne, which already had a case worker.

In 2019/20 the scheme provided support to 120 children and young adults, including 80 on an intensive basis.

Mr Lloyd said: “Although knife crime and serious youth violence is low in Hertfordshire it is a high concern among residents. Although when it does occur it can have tragic consequences and spreads fear among communities.

“Nationally this type of crime has risen and we have seen signs of this in Hertfordshire. The public want and expect action to be taken. This scheme has made a real difference in diverting children and young adults away from crime.

“Preventing crime and violence happening is vastly better and more effective than dealing with victims and perpetrators after an incident has occurred.”

“We have five St Giles staff that are out there on the frontline working with youths and their families to divert them away from crime.”

Andy Stovold, Head of Community Partnerships at Three Rivers District Council, who leads the project on behalf of the other districts in Hertfordshire said: ““We want to prevent violence, child exploitation, and give young people opportunities for positive self-expression and help bring communities closer together.

“We continue to educate young people about crime and encourage them to explore their decisions, misconceptions and experiences, to positively enhance their future. The project forms a key part of the Hertfordshire Serious Violence Strategy, complementing the work of many other agencies across the County”

Cases are referred to the SOS workers by bodies including Police Staff, Schools and Education Support Centres, Children’s Services, Family Support Workers, Housing Providers, District and Borough Community Safety Units, Hospitals, Herts Young Homeless, and other voluntary sector providers through five Multi-agency Youth Action Panels that have been established across the County by the Project.



Support plans are co-ordinated by the panels to ensure that all appropriate help is offered to the young people and their families that are referred in.

Before the end of March 2021, the aim is to work with a further 150 children and young adults, including 90 on an intensive basis.

St Giles Trust is a charity helping people to change their lives through support and guidance. The aim to help them become positive contributors to local communities.

As well as delivering assemblies around topics such as gangs, county lines and child sexual exploitation, case workers – some of whom are former gang members – work closely with children and young people, and their families, who might be at risk of becoming involved with gangs.

BACKGROUND:
In 2018 Broxbourne Community Safety Partnership was awarded a grant of £256,975, spread over three years, in one of the largest awards ever provided by the Commissioner.

The Police and Crime Commissioner oversees a Community Safety Grant which supports work with partner organisations (such as community safety partnerships) that have a vital part to play in keeping Hertfordshire’s communities safe.

Grant applicants are asked to consider how their proposed projects align with the aims of the Community Safety and Criminal Justice Plan, as well as with local priorities.

The Commissioner attaches conditions to the grant, which help him oversee how well the money is spent on behalf of local communities and to ensure that there is transparency and accountability. Annual reports are requested which provide information on progress and evidence of effectiveness.

Grant recipients need to make sure their activities focus on the needs of the public, particularly victims of crime, ensuring that offenders make amends and pay back for the cost of crime, including setting out plans to apply greater business sense. In delivering against the Community Safety and Criminal Justice Plan, the Commissioner envisages that these grants will contribute towards securing crime and disorder reduction in Hertfordshire.
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