Inspector Jim Gray
I'd like to welcome you to this latest edition of the Whitley Bay Neighbourhood Policing Team newsletter.
At this time of year our main focus is on extra police patrols to prevent drink related anti-social behaviour and making sure the seaside and parkland areas are monitored by police and other partners including RNLI lifeguards and Council Wardens to keep everyone safe.
We've also been carrying out an operation aimed at preventing under-age drinkers coming into Whitely bay as well as supporting the forcewide Northumbria Police campaign "Keys, money, phone, plans to get home?", which encourages people to think about their safety when planning a night out.
In the Whitey Bay area there has been a small overall increase in crime, an unwelcome change which your neighbourhood team is determined to tackle.
Crime has increased by 4% from April 1, to June 30, 2010 compared with the same period last year. This means there were 24 more crimes reported to police, up from 541 offences over the three month period in 2009 compared to 565 in the most recent period.
This is most unwelcome news but please be assured that your local officers are doing all they can to turn this around.
House burglary has shown a small increase up by one crime from 17 to 18 offences, but we do know that this type of crime does worry people so we are once again reminding householders to keep window and doors secure to prevent sneak-in thieves being tempted by an open or unlocked door.
This can make for easy pickings, especially over the summer months when it is tempting to seek some extra cooling draughts.
Youth related anti-social behaviour is an area we are continuing to focus on, we have seen a small increase up from 310 to 314 incidents but we have operations in place to continue to deal with this especially in our coastal areas and parklands which can attract under-age children who bring alcohol with them.
We are also focusing efforts on tackling violent crime which has also shown a small increase of 5%, up from 115 offences to 121, this is being addressed with extra patrols around licensed premises during the busier periods and pub walk throughs. This aims to reassure customers that police are monitoring the area and provide support to bar and door staff.
However, we do continue to make big improvement in some areas, vehicle crime has almost halved, down from 39 crimes to 20 over the same three month period. Similarly Shed and garage burglaries had dropped by over a third from 25 offences to 16.
If you want to find out more about how local officers police your community why not come along to one of our public meetings?
Look out for the Partners and Communities Together (PACT) meetings across North Tyneside, where members of the community are invited to meet with their local officers and discuss any policing concerns. These meetings, publicised on the force website, help residents to know who their local officer is and how to contact them. Representatives from the local authority will also be present to deal with your queries.
You can also come along to an informal police drop-in surgery where you can talk to your local neighbourhood officer about any policing concerns you may have or to ask crime prevention advice.
Check out forthcoming dates by here:
Tackling anti-social behaviour
Police carried out an operation in Whitley Bay to target anti-social behaviour to following concerns raised by residents.
Uniform officers patrolled the town checking licensed premises and police sent bluetooth messages to local people telling them police are tackling drink related anti-social behaviour.
The initiative ran May 20 - 22, and police activity was targeted on two premises where evidence of licensing breaches was gathered. Uniform officers also visited more than 20 licensed premises in the town to remind bar staff of their responsibilities and to enforce licensing restrictions.
Police are working with partners including North Tyneside Council's Trading Standards Officers and HM Revenue and Customs officers who were involved in the initiative.
Sergeant Dave Foy said: "Our priority is to reduce anti-social behaviour in Whitley Bay, particularly incidents linked to the night time economy, and make our town centre as safe as possible for both residents and visitors."
Officers are continuing to target this issue over the summer. Police make regular uniform patrols in the town and go into the town's bars and clubs to support bar staff and Pubwatch members as well as to reassure customers that the area has a visible police presence.
Stepping up summer seaside patrols
Officers are stepping up seaside patrols during the summer to help look after large numbers of visitors to the beaches.
Neighbourhood officers are providing a uniformed presence to reassure residents and visitors alike who come to enjoy the seaside.
More police will be on patrol at key times until the end of September in coastal areas including Cullercoats Bay, Longsands and surrounding areas.
Sergeant Dave Foy said: "Dealing with alcohol related crime and disorder in the North Tyneside seafront areas is an important issue and we will continue to work with our partners to deal with it.
"Cullercoats Bay and the surrounding areas is one of our policing priorities. We are using all available methods to tackle this issue from Direction to Leave notices, banning people intent on anti-social behaviour from specific areas and CCTV to monitor behaviour and identify offenders."
Officers can also utilise the Designated Public Place Order for Cullercoats which came into effect last year, this means that anyone who has alcohol and causes anti-social behaviour will have their drink confiscated by officers and could face further action.
This gives police another tool to help reduce crime and disorder and ensure the area is safe and pleasant environment for everyone to enjoy.
Extra patrols to prevent park problems
Northumbria Police is stepping up patrols in Churchill Playing Fields to nip potential problems of youth disorder and anti-social behaviour in the bud.
Officers will patrol with Park Wardens throughout the summer months targeting the busier evening periods.
Inspector Jim Gray said: "These are important public facilities which are available for everyone to enjoy and we don't want a small minority causing problems.
"People will see extra uniform officers and council staff on patrol on foot and cycle patrols to reach the outlying bridle paths and subway below Monkseaton Drive, as well as the main paths. We hope people will be reassured by this response and talk to officers to discuss any problems they have noticed."
Cllr Glynis Barrie, cabinet member for Community Services and Safer Neighbourhoods, said: "Our many parks are one of the borough's best assets, so it's very disappointing when a small minority spoil the opportunity for people to enjoy them.
"This joint operation is another example of how, through working closely with the police, we're tackle anti-social behaviour issues that are of concern to our residents"
Pictured PC Paul Mckenzie on patrol with Park Warden Bill Nilan in Whitley Bay
Safety talk for pupils
PC Paul McKenzie took part in Woodlawn School's 'Safety Week' event giving children a talk on how to keep themselves safe.
The Whitley Bay School caters for more than 60 pupils with physical, medical or sensory difficulties.
PC McKenzie is a regular visitor at the school which is part of his patrol area.
He said: "I was delighted to be invited to come along and give a talk to the pupils about safety issues, ranging from stranger danger to being aware of traffic when they're outside.
"The pupils were very curious and asked lots of questions about safety issues and wanted to know more about what I do as a police officer to keep them safe and the equipment I use to do my job."
Alison Hadley from Woodlawn School said: "PC McKenzie’s visit was a fantastic way to launch our ‘Safety Week’. He really captured the children’s interest, and was able to answer all of their questions."
Pictured PC Paul McKenzie with pupils during the visit
Seaside rescue at Whitley Bay
A 20-year-old Rotherham man was rescued by Northumbria Police officers and RNLI staff after being swept out to sea from the Whitley Bay promenade on June 20.
The visitor had wandered down to the lower promenade steps to watch the stormy sea when a wave caught him unawares and knocked him into the water.
A member of the public reported the incident and the RNLI, who patrol the area were swiftly at the scene quickly followed by police.
Working together the police officers and lifeguards formed a human chain each holding onto each others belts with one hand and the rope with another and made their way down the steps to the waters edge to try to pull the man towards the stairs.
After several minutes the man was pulled from the waves and was taken to North Tyneside Hospital for treatment for minor injuries.
Sergeant Simon Gilhespy said: "This was an extremely effective rescue with police officer an lifeguards working together to pluck a man in difficulties from the sea.
"People should always be careful around water and if the sea is looking rough with waves pounding onto the promenade we would advise people to be particularly cautious and keep their distance."
Pub patrols support safety campaign
Northumbria Police is targeting patrols to pubs and clubs across the borough to reinforce the importance of personal safety to customers.
Officers are carrying out extra visits to licensed premises to reassure customers and staff that police are in the area and are monitoring behaviour. This supports the police campaign "Keys, money, phone, plans to get home?" which aims to boost personal safety.
Chief Inspector David Felton said: "North Tyneside is a popular place for party goers to come and visit and we want to make sure that everyone who comes here ends their night out safely.
"This means watching how much they drink and looking out for their friends to make sure everyone enjoys their night out and gets home safely."
Officers are also working with licensed premises and door staff to help revellers and have been distributing safety advice to hotel guests.
He added: "We hope a timely reminder about responsible drinking and keeping personal property safe will help prevent people becoming a victim of crime. By keeping your possessions safe and pre-booking a taxi home you are more likely to have a safe and enjoyable time."
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