9th June 2021
RECKLESS riders would have nowhere to go if all motorbikes were fitted with a tracker device, says Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness, as she calls on Government to urgently introduce new bike laws.
The Commissioner who is working closely with the Chief Constable to tackle residents’ concerns of bike-related antisocial behaviour has said the issue will remain a top priority for the force.
As part of an ongoing crackdown on this type of crime throughout the region, Kim is urging Policing Minister Kit Malthouse to give the green light to allow for tracker devices to be fitted to all motorbikes so their whereabouts and speed can be monitored – a move to deter would-be criminals.
Ms McGuinness believes the trackers would be an impactful tool in the fight against bike crime, would prevent thefts and anti-social behaviour and in turn improve the lives of local people.
A tough range of policing measures are already underway and will be built upon as we head into the summer months. Tactics include hotspot patrols, garage checks, underage petrol test purchases and educational campaigns.
Kim McGuinness, said: “I’m hearing from residents that reckless riding is happening far too often and it’s happening in our parks and residential streets – the very places where people are enjoying walks and families are playing. These are things people should be able to do safely – they shouldn’t have to worry about off-road bikes speeding by and ramping up pavements.”
Officers have been listening to all concerns raised, collating intelligence of where disorder on bikes has been taking place and targeting these areas with a range of tactics.
Kim continued: “This is all part of a big operation happening in response to these concerns and I have requested regular updates from the Chief as it’s something I’ll be keeping a close eye on.
“There have been some positive results lately but I want us to be able to do more. We need to think differently if we are going to put a stop to the problem once and for all and this is where trackers could come in. Our police are confident they could make a real difference.
“It’s important for me to be clear” she added. “I don’t mean our law-abiding bikers here – I’m talking about trouble-makers, often young people riding un-roadworthy bikes, which in some cases have been stolen. It’s their own safety that is at risk here too – worryingly there’s a real lack of awareness of the consequences. A tough approach needs to be taken and I fully back our force with this, especially when engagement and education isn’t getting through to those responsible.
“But what I really want is to go a step further and I believe trackers would be a real deterrent. There is a growing sense of momentum in our region to put a stop to this problem. I want to build on this and think Government support to make trackers a real possibility would be a good place to start.”
Councillor Ernest Gibson, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety at South Tyneside Council, said: “This type of anti-social behaviour continues to be a real concern for us in South Tyneside where we have seen these off-road bikes being ridden recklessly through our residential areas and churning up our green spaces.
“This not only affects the quality of life for our residents, but there is a danger that someone will get hurt, whether that is a member of the public or the rider themselves.
“Our parks and open spaces have proven to be valuable places for people to get their exercise over a very challenging year and we want them to be safe sites to visit. Any extra measures that can be put in place to tackle the issue of nuisance bikers would be greatly welcomed.”
If you want to send pictures, video or intelligence to the task-force then you can do so by emailing [email protected].
You can also call 101 and asking to speak to the Operation Benelli team or your local Neighbourhood Team or report information online at the Northumbria Police website.”
SOUTHWICK RESIDENTS CALLED UPON TO GIVE VIEWS ON POLICING AND CRIME
Following the launch of the new Police and Crime Plan, Kim McGuinness, the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, is now seeking views from local residents in Southwick as part of her ongoing commitment to support local communities.
The Commissioner is inviting residents of Southwick to have their views heard and tell her how they feel policing resources could be best utilised in the area.
Residents are also invited to put their views to the Commissioner in person, as she invites them to join her alongside Northumbria Police and the locally funded SARA project, on the 25th March via a virtual community event.
Calling on residents to give their views, Kim said: “Communities are at the heart of everything we do – we know the impact a strong, connected community can have, and that is why I want to hear what more we can do to support you.
“As lockdown eases, there are going to be challenges for all of us – this is where local, easy to access services are crucial – and we’ve already started doing this through the SARA project, enabled by funding from my Violence Reduction Unit.
“I want to know how you think we can best fight crime, prevent crime and improve lives in Southwick – your responses to my survey will go a long way to developing our future strategies and plans.”
During the Commissioners recent Police and Crime Plan consultation, local residents highlighted anti-social behaviour and dangerous driving as the two areas they would like to see Northumbria Police prioritise over the next 4 years.
Southwick Ward Councillor Alex Samuels praised the engagement initiative, and encouraged residents to have their voices heard. Cllr Samuels said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for Southwick residents to have their say and lead to real change on the important matters of policing and crime.
“Previously residents said they wanted more local services and for them be more accessible, and this has been delivered through the SARA project supported by the Commissioner’s office – a clear example of where a community voice has led to change.
“I encourage all Southwick residents to get involved, complete the survey and take the Commissioner up on her offer of a community event – let’s show how proud of our area we are, and get the best outcomes for all residents.”
Residents can give their views and have their say via an online survey – https://bit.ly/SouthwickPCCSurvey21 – which is open until Wednesday 24th March.
Northumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness is on the lookout for dog-loving volunteers to help ensure police and fire service dogs are being treated correctly.
Volunteers will make unannounced visits to kennels to observe, comment and report on the conditions that Northumbria Police and Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service dogs are housed. They’ll also view outdoor dog training sessions.
It’s part of Kim McGuinness’ new Police Dog Welfare Scheme which will check the welfare of dogs in Northumbria Police and Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service.
Kim said: “Police dogs are a hugely valuable part of our police family here in Northumbria, communities know the value they bring to policing and the fire service and the support they give to police officers and fire fighters.
“My role as Police and Crime Commissioner is to hold Northumbria Police to account on behalf of the public and ensure all of their departments are performing to a high standard, including the police dogs. As we work closely with the Fire Service, we have been able to extend the welfare checks to the fire service dogs.
“The welfare of our dogs is of paramount importance and it’s important that we have independent checks in place to ensure animal welfare standards are robustly maintained. The Dog Welfare Visitors will act as ‘critical friends’ providing me with independent and invaluable feedback to ensure our dogs are properly cared for, happy and their working conditions are acceptable.
“I know there will be many local residents with the experience of animal welfare to support this exciting scheme. Our Dog Welfare Visiting Scheme has been established with advice from the brilliant Dogs Trust. The visitors will make a real difference, their feedback will deliver change.”
Superintendent Sam Rennison, of Northumbria Police’s Operations Department, said: “The welfare of our police dogs is of paramount importance to us and we work every day to ensure they are looked after.
“They dedicate the majority of their lives to keeping the public safe and have a special bond with their handlers that goes beyond that of just a family pet.
“But we welcome opportunities to have our working practices scrutinised so we can make sure we continue to ensure every animal in our care is being looked after to the highest standards.”
Group Manager Andy Lillford, Head of Resilience at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Our search and rescue dog is a vital member of the team and a true asset to the Service. They help to protect and keep our communities safe, and are trained to work in the most arduous conditions including under collapsed buildings, in confined spaces and working at heights.
“The welfare arrangements of both the animal and the dog handler is of great importance with the handler being highly trained in all areas of dog welfare and animal first aid.
“The working relationship between our search and rescue dog and its handler is second to none. They know each other’s traits, skills and limitations. Our team at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service look forward to playing a key role in the new Police Dog Welfare Scheme and making it a success.”
Interested? Want to know more? Drop us an email with your CV and a few paragraphs about what experience you can bring to the role. Let’s start a conversation and by working together we will make a difference. Email us at [email protected] and we’ll be in touch.
Closing date for expressions of interest is 30th April 2021.
To apply for this volunteer role, you must be over 18 and live or work within the Northumbria Police Force Area. You will need to have access to a car as the kennels are located in shared premises in Durham. All successful applicants will need to undertake vetting clearance.
A JUNIOR football club, a community centre and a youth group are just some of the grass root initiatives celebrating news this week that they will receive a share of a £350,000 pot of cash – recovered from criminals in the North East.
The funding initiative, called Operation Payback, was set up by Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness. Its aim is simple – to put money recovered from drug dealers and other criminals back where it belongs – into the heart of local communities.
Many local projects and community groups that strive to improve lives in their area are set to receive a welcome cash boost to help keep making a positive difference in their neighbourhood often repairing the harm caused by crime.
A total of 24 groups are set to benefit from Payback including South Shields FC, Dunston Community Centre and YMCA Northumberland.
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: “There are some terrific groups who’ve taken it upon themselves to really turn things around in the area where they live. They’ve taken responsibility and they’re making a huge difference. I absolutely want to support them in doing this so we’re turning bad money into good. I want Payback to empower them further and bring their bright ideas to life.”
“A lot of successful bids centred on giving something for young people to get involved with in their spare time, heling prevent crime and anti-social behaviour. You see, local people are the ones who recognise and understand the issues that matter locally. They know how to solve them so we need to listen and help them put their ideas into action.”
Kim added: “I want every young person growing up in our region to have an equal chance of success whatever their circumstances and Payback will help them and their families to overcome challenges and reach their full potential.
“These groups do a great deal to make communities safer, prevent crime and reduce re-offending. I can’t think of a better way to reinvest cash from crime than to help steer young people onto a better future.”
YMCA Northumberland will be using their funding to deliver a diversionary youth programme and help prevent young people becoming involved in anti-social behaviour in Ashington.
South Shields FC Foundation will work with the Police and Youth Justice Service to run a project for young people at risk of offending or re-offending.
Steve Camm, manager at the Foundation, said: “This is a really exciting project and we can’t wait to get started. We are grateful for the Police and Crime Commissioner’s support which will enable us to further extend the impact the Club already has in the local community”.
“We’ll be working closely with the Police and Youth Justice Service to identify and engage young people at risk and provide them with positive preventative activities, including football and boxing, with the aim of reducing crime and the impact of crime in our community.”
Dunston Community Centre will be supporting young adults who have been excluded from school, expelled or served community sentences, helping them to become mentors and encourage others to take responsibility for their actions.
Brenda Clelland from the community centre, said: “This funding will help us to really tackle the youth-related anti-social behaviour and petty crime which plagues our neighbourhood by directly addressing the underlying issues, helping the young people to make positive changes and choices which benefit, not damage, our local community.”
In the years to come the fund will be topped up with some of the money seized from criminal activity under the Proceeds of Crime Act (PoCA), with some recovered funds also going to Northumbria Police to help them target more criminals.
For more information about Operation Payback and to view the full list of beneficiaries visit www.northumbria-pcc.gov.uk/police-crime-plan/commissioning-services-grants/