Meriden Policing Update – December 2018

A Policing Update by PC Mo Huzair

20th December 2018

The residents raised concerns about drugs in the area, and for months I have not been able to update you.  This is because we cannot comment on ongoing intelligence investigations as it would jeopardise any such investigation.  This is incredibly frustrating for everybody as I can’t publicly defend ourselves against any criticisms raised by the residents.  But now finally I am able to tell you what we’ve been doing about it!

In late summer we had sufficient information provided locally to progress an investigation into the supply of drugs around the Meriden.
We then had to put together an operational order, which plans out the operation, the methods and locations , making decisions about the necessity to investigate the crimes and the effects on the neighbourhood against the human rights of people who may be affected by such an operation.
We then worked with our partner teams in intervention and plain clothes units to further that intelligence and crack down on the low level dealers, which resulted in a number of arrests for supplying drugs.

I then had to go to a court and satisfy them that there was enough information to swear out warrants.  It was then a case of resourcing the warrants, which is quite a staff intensive job.
Then warrants were executed as part of that ongoing investigation.

This has been a tremendous success so far. 

Below is the press release which went out on 20th December 2018.

Police Press Release

20th December 2018

Further drug warrants in Watford

Police in Watford continued their crackdown on drug crime by carrying out further warrants in the town.

On Thursday 13th December, officers from the Safer Neighbourhood Team and Operation Scorpion unit, executed warrants under Police and criminal evidence act, at two addresses in the Meriden ward.

One man was arrested at an address in The Gossamers in connection with eight criminal damage offences, for which he was given a caution, and on suspicion of a drugs offence for which he remains under investigation at this time.  A small quantity of herbal cannabis was seized, along with cash and mobile phones.

No arrests were made at the second address in Garsmouth Way but a number of weapons were volunteered to police for destruction.

PC Mo Huzair, who led the operation, said: “These warrants were executed as part of an ongoing investigation into the supply of drugs in Watford, led by the local Safer Neighbourhood Team, with support from Operation Scorpion.

“We are regularly carrying out warrants to try and target those suspected of being involved in drug supply and associated criminality.  If you are, it’s only a matter of time before we catch up with you.

“Drugs can have a big impact on local communities as they are often the catalyst for more violent crime.  If you suspect drug crime in your neighbourhood, please continue to report it to police so we can build up an intelligence picture to enable us to take appropriate action.”

Anyone with information can contact the non-emergency number 101 or report information online at www.herts.police.uk/Report

Alternatively, you can stay 100% anonymous by contacting the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via their untraceable online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

For over 30 years, Crimestoppers has always kept its promise of anonymity to everyone who contacts them.

Meriden Policing Update – November 2018

A Policing Update by PC Mo Huzair

13th November 2018

Figures are approximate

Firstly, my apologies for my lack of attendance at the MRA meeting, we unfortunately found a young person self-harming in a car park on our way there and had to deal with that, which took some hours.  However, I am pleased to say that we were able to provide certificates of thanks to two young persons who acted magnificently aiding the person in question prior to our arrival.  Both are local residents who we should be proud of.

The matters I would have addressed would have been:

Summary of the previous year:

ASB survey returns

We had less than a 50% return of the ASB surveys from the end of last year and so have failed to gather a bigger picture around the needs of the shopkeepers as we could not show a need to redirect resources from other areas.

Due to this, no extra resourcing was able to be provided for the majority of the year.  As there was a normal crime and ASB rate, I was also required to take responsibility for the Tudor estate (as previously discussed) and have been dealing with both estates for some time, so my time is divided.

Over the summer holidays and subsequent half term holidays, The Gossamers was added as a potential hotspot as part of our operation Catapan, where it received minimum of two visits per night by uniformed patrol.

More recently (August to October), I am very pleased to note that we have had an increase in reporting of incidents and more engagement with local residents.  This has led to being able to provide more support for the area.  The Community Safety Unit and I have completed an analysis, and there was a rise from 10 calls over that period (averaged over last three years) to 30 calls this year.

The problems relate to three specific issues:

  1. A vagrant male being drunk and abusive outside the shops. (6 calls)
  2. A specific neighbour dispute (14 calls between the two parties)
  3. Shoplifting, ASB, drugs at the shops (10 calls).

In relation to the vagrant male, due to the reports, we were able to serve a community protection warning on him and stepped up patrols capturing evidence of him breaching that.  Yesterday, he was served with a formal Notice banning him from the area, breaching this will be an offence for which he can receive a court summons.  This took 2 months from reporting to issuing.  This could have been quicker; however, it appears that local shopkeepers were still serving the male alcohol despite the ASB.  A polite request has stopped this now.

The specific neighbourhood dispute is being dealt with but the matter cannot currently be discussed, as it is an ongoing investigation.  However, once this is dealt with there is a permanent fix in sight and this will reduce the figures.

The Co-op, at our request, have increased their reporting of shoplifters and have engaged with us amazingly over the last year.  This has meant we have been able to investigate and prosecute 3 offenders for 12 offences in the last few months.  With the support of parents, these young people have not re-attended the shops and the message is getting out there.  I can safely say that without the Co-op’s information to us, we would not have had sufficient legal justification to remove certain youths from the area.

Drugs.

We have finally had an increase in reliable reporting of drugs intelligence.  However, some people have been emailing me and complaining that I won’t tell them what we are doing about it.

Unfortunately, under no circumstances will we share intelligence investigations with the public until an outcome has been achieved.

Very often these pieces of intelligence feed into a bigger picture in very sensitive matters, sometimes ongoing long-term investigations.  However, if people watch this space, I hope to be able to review cases and report back the results this time next year.

There is no way for me to tell you how important the drugs intelligence we got has been, and I need to encourage people to continue to report, but be patient, these are not quick things.

The need to report

Unfortunately, information has come to me that some members of the local community, including some local business owners have stated they will not report to the police for various reasons.

Obviously, this does not aid our collective aim, and we would seek to reassure all residents and stakeholders that reports can be treated as anonymous if the reporter requests that, and that timely reports to police are not just desired but an absolute necessity. We are missing opportunities and certain people won’t engage with us and allow us to provide support.

On a positive note, since we received the uptake in calls in Oct and conducted our analysis, it took less than a month to target and deal with those causes and have reduced the calls back to the normal rate.  This goes to show that with good reporting we can act decisively and swiftly to deal with the issues. But WE NEED REPORTING!

New Temporary Bus Services for the Meriden

Updated 26-9-2018

We are delighted to report that a new temporary six month bus service serving the Meriden Estate will commence on Monday 1st  October.

Hertfordshire County Council agreed to fund four new services, run by Red Eagle, W1, W2, W3 and W4, while a permanent tender is agreed. In addition, the UNO 635 service between Watford General Hospital and Hitchin will now also run through the Meriden.

This follows a long campaign to stop Arriva from cancelling the 324 bus service through the Meriden. A meeting was held yesterday (September 20th) at Hertfordshire County Council, where petitions from the Liberal Democrats and Labour Party to reinstate a bus service to the estate were handed over.

The W1 bus will run from Kingswood via the Meriden to Watford hourly at peak times from Monday to Friday.

The W2 will run from the Meriden to the town centre from Monday to Friday hourly at off-peak hours.

The W3 and W4 will run on a Saturday every 30 minutes in opposite directions via the Meriden and Watford town centre.

If you are catching a bus back to the Meriden from the town centre the bus stops that all four Red Eagle services pick up from are as follows:

  • Market Street, Stop J
  • Clarendon Road, Stop S
  • Watford Junction, Stop 5

For the UNO 635 the stops are:

  • Watford General Hospital, Thomas Saywer Way
  • Watford General Hospital (opposite side of the road)
  • Market Street, Stop J
  • Clarendon Road, Stop NB
  • Watford Junction, Stop 5

Arriva’s new 520 service, which replaces the 324, will run between Maple Cross and Hemel Hempstead via Watford from September 30. It will not run through the Meriden.

We at the MRA would like to thank all those involved in organising and collecting signatures for the petition and all those who represented the Meriden residents in persuading the HCC to fund these temporary services.

W1

The W1 service runs Monday to Friday, with two buses in the morning and two in the afternoon/evening towards the town centre. There is one bus in the morning and three in the afternoon/evening towards Kingswood. During school term times one of the morning buses and one of the afternoon buses terminate and begin at Francis Combe Academy instead of the North Orbital road (Variants 2 and 4). During school holidays the buses follow the normal route to Kingswood.

The Meriden section of the route is given as The Gossamers – York Way – Meriden Way – Westlea Avenue (Variants 1 and 2 towards Watford town centre) and Westlea Avenue – Meriden Way – York Way – The Gossamers (Variants 3 and 4 towards Kingswood/Francis Combe).

The only times given for Meriden bus stops are for the bus stops in The Gossamers opposite the shops. Heading to the town centre the times are 7:05 and 8:39 in the morning as well as 15:54 and 17:24 in the afternoon/evening. Heading to Kingswood/Francis Combe there is one W1 bus in the morning at 8:00 and three buses to Kingswood in the afternoon/evening at 16:49, 18:19 and 19:18.

Note that whilst on the way into town the last two stops are in Beechen Grove and the High Street, on the way back to the Meriden the bus stops are in Market Street and Clarendon Road.

W1: Kingswood – Watford via Meriden

Variant 1: Kingsway North Orbital Road, Sheepcot Lane, St Albans Road, Garston Lane, The Gossamers, York Way, Meriden Way, Westlea Avenue, Bushey Mill Lane, St Albans Road, Station Road, Watford Junction Interchange, Woodford Road, Station Road, Clarendon Road, Beechen Grove, Water Lane, High Street.

Variant 2: Horseshoe Lane, St Albans Road, Garston Lane, The Gossamers, York Way, Meriden Way, Westlea Avenue, Woodmere Avenue, Bushey Mill Lane, St Albans Road, Station Road, Watford Junction Interchange, Woodford Road, Station Road, Clarendon Road, Beechen Grove, Water Lane, High Street.

Watford – Kingswood via Meriden

Variant 3: Market Street, Exchange Road, Beechen Grove, Clarendon Road, Station Road, Watford Junction Interchange, Woodford Road, Station Road, Langley Road, St Albans Road, Bushey Mill Lane, Woodmere Avenue, Westlea Avenue, Meriden Way, York Way, The Gossamers, Garston Lane, St Albans Road, Sheepcot Lane, Kingsway North Orbital

Variant 4: Market Street, Exchange Road, Beechen Grove, Clarendon Road, Station Road, Watford Junction Interchange, Woodford Road, Station Road, Langley Road, St Albans Road, Bushey Mill Lane, Woodmere Avenue, Westlea Avenue, Meriden Way, York Way, The Gossamers, Garston Lane, St Albans Road, Horseshoe Lane.

W2

The W2 will run Monday – Friday between 9:23 and 14:57 approximately once per hour. Aside from the first W2 service of the day, this bus route starts and finishes in the town centre. On the Meriden estate it takes a circular route along Phillapers and back down The Gossamers. This means that bus stops on only one side of the road will be used. The Meriden section of the route is listed as Westlea Avenue – Meriden Way – York Way – Phillipers – The Gossamers – York Way – Meriden Way – Westlea Avenue. The timetable below gives times for bus stops in York Way (onto the estate), in Phillipers near Tibbles Close and the bus stop in the Gossamers opposite the shops. The times for the bus stop in York Way are given as 9:23, 10:13, 11:13, 12:13, 13:13 and 14:43. The other stops will be a few minutes after these times.

As with the W1, this route starts in the town centre at Market Street Stop J and Clarendon Road Stop S but ends at Beechen Grove stop M and High Street stop E/F.

W2: Watford and Meriden Circular

Variant 1: Market Street, Exchange Road, Beechen Grove, Clarendon Road, Station Road, Watford Junction Interchange, Woodford Road, Station Road, Clarendon Road, St John’s Road, Orphanage Road, Radlett Road, Balmoral Road, Knutsford Avenue, Bushey Mill Lane, Woodmere Avenue, Meriden Way, York Way, Phillipers, The Gossamers, York Way, Meriden Way, Westlea Avenue, Woodmere Avenue, Bushey Mill Lane, Knutsford Avenue, Balmoral Road, Radlett Road, Orphanage Road, Woodford Road, Station Road, Watford Junction Interchange, Woodford Road, Station Road, Clarendon Road, Beechen Grove, Water Lane, High Street.

Variant 2: Market Street, Exchange Road, Beechen Grove, Clarendon Road, Station Road, Watford Junction Interchange, Woodford Road, Station Road, Clarendon Road, St John’s Road, Orphanage Road, Radlett Road, Balmoral Road, Knutsford Avenue, Bushey Mill Lane, Woodmere Avenue, Meriden Way, York Way, Phillipers, The Gossamers, York Way, Meriden Way, Westlea Avenue, Woodmere Avenue, Bushey Mill Lane, Radlett Road, Stephenson Way, A411,,  Beechen Grove, Water Lane, High Street.

W3 and W4

The W3 and W4 are Saturday services to and from the town centre. The Gossamers is part of a circular section of the route with the W3 stopping at the bus stop on the opposite side of the road to the shops and the W4 stopping at the bus stop on the same side of the road as the shops.

The times given for the W3 in The Gossamers opposite the shops are: 7:35, 8:25, 8:52 and then 52 minutes past the hour until the last W3 at 15:52.

The times given for the W4 in The Gossamers on the same side of the road as the shops are 21 minutes past the hour from 9:21 until 15:21 and then 16:51, 17:50 and 18:48.

In the town centre both of these services begin at Market Street, Stop J and end at Clarendon Road, Stop A.

W3: Market Street, Exchange Road, Beechen Grove, Clarendon Road, Station Road, Watford Junction Interchange, Woodford Road, Station Road, Langley Road, St Albans Road, Garston Lane, The Gossamers, York Way, Meriden Way, Westlea Avenue, Woodmere Avenue, Bushey Mill Lane, St Albans Road, Langley Road, Station Road, Watford Junction Interchange, Woodford Road, Station Road, Clarendon Road.

W4: Market Street, Exchange Road, Beechen Grove, Clarendon Road, Station Road, Watford Junction Interchange, Woodford Road, Station Road, Langley Road, St Albans Road, Bushey Mill Lane, Woodmere Avenue, Westlea Avenue, Meriden Way, York Way, The Gossamers, Garston Lane, St Albans Road, Langley Road, Station Road, Watford Junction Interchange, Woodford Road, Station Road, Clarendon Road.

UNO 635

The UNO 635 will run Monday to Friday, except on public holidays, between Watford General Hospital and Hatfield, and between Hatfield and Hitchin Railway Station. There is a short, 5-10 minute, break between these two sections of the route but passengers can stay on the same bus for the entire route. On the way into town, the bus is scheduled to stop at the bus stop in the Gossamers on the opposite side of the road to the shops. On the way to Hatfield/Hitchin, the bus will stop on the same side of the road as the shops.

The times given for the bus stops in the Gossamers opposite the shops are as follows:

Heading in to town (opposite side of the road to the shops): 5:52, 6:49, 7:20, 8:27, 9:43, 11:43, 13:13, 14:13, 14:43, 16:32, 17:21, 18:04, 19:23

Heading to Hatfield/Hitchin (same side of the road as the shops): 6:46, 7:51, 8:40, 9:50, 10:55, 12:55, 14:25, 15:25, 16:03, 17:53, 18:45. 19:27, 20:41

The timetables below are available to download from http://www.buscms.com/uno/uploadedfiles/pdftimetable/635_UN59.pdf

Meriden Policing

A Policing Update from PC Mo Huzair

Anti Social Behaviour Survey

We had three returns on the original ASB survey which was posted and then hand-delivered to each premise on the parade of shops.  The information contained within gave a history of ASB, but sporadic and with little pattern.  Assessing the new information against the existing reports of ASB and offending there, resulted with an assessment which resulted in no need for an uptake in extra patrolling and resourcing.

The Shop Parade

Following the initial meeting, a week of extra resourcing was provided with a guaranteed hour of patrol for 7 days, I conducted an additional plainclothes patrol with another officer to observe the anecdotal reports of drug dealing and ASB during the peak times.  However, I personally observed no actual drug dealing.  I did observe groups of persons and youths gathering but actually committing no offences.

As previously explained, the simple process of youths gathering is provided for as a Right to freedom of association under the human rights act.

ASB notices were issued to a number of people who had been involved in previous offences, and some have been dealt with in conjunction with housing associations with some severity.

The shops were asked to report all incidents for a year.  As a result, we have had no more than usual reports from the shops, but the co-op has repeatedly reported shopliftings, which has resulted in 12 extra prosecutions since the meeting, and significant intelligence being gathered.

We have had some reports of ASB since that previous meeting, but about the same as other estates, so no extra resourcing is justified.

Over the summer holidays, I have added the location to our specific ASB patrols and will be patrolled every night over this period.  So far, this averages to three visits a night by officers, doing drive by or active patrols.

Drug Use

We have had an increase in reports of drug use in the park by the Community Centre, however, the majority appears to be the use of those small silver nitrous oxide canisters.  Annoyingly there is no criminal offence of possession or use of these in small amounts.  Extra patrols and plainclothes officers have attended but no offenders have yet been identified.  Operations are ongoing.

Domestic Incidents

The majority of violent crimes on the estate remain domestic incidents.

Work is ongoing through the courts, and offender services to reduce these.

I will be conducting a poster and information campaign in key locations on the estate to try to advise victims of their rights.

Overall Crime rate

The overall crime rate still remains around the national average and comparative to other estates of similar make up.  No specific current trends that I am aware of.

General

I have been away for about 6 weeks due to leave and training out of the area, and the estate was covered by the other officer on my team, but now I am back.

I have been required to take up the Tudor estate additionally for the foreseeable future.  So now my time is currently spent divided between the following (in no particular order):

  1. Crime investigation (both estates and Watford wide)
  2. Responding to 999 calls.
  3. Project work and crime reduction programmes.
  4. Patrol the Meriden.
  5. Patrol the Tudor.

So previously the Meriden patrols were receiving a third of my time, now reduced slightly in order to incorporate my additional duties.

PC Mo Huzair

Mayor Peter Taylor

Peter Taylor, our newly elected mayor, chose the Meriden to host his first Listening to Watford event with local councillors on Saturday 8th July.  He will be doing events like this across Watford, listening to residents about how this can be an even better place to live and work.

 

Today I hosted my first Listening to Watford event with local councillors at the Gossamers Shops. I’ll be doing events like this across Watford, listening to residents about how this can be an even better place to live and work.If you can’t catch one of these events, you can always fill in my online survey here: https://tinyurl.com/PeterListens

Gepostet von Peter Taylor – Mayor of Watford am Samstag, 7. Juli 2018

If you can’t catch one of these events, you can always fill in the online survey here: https://tinyurl.com/PeterListens

Children’s Christmas Event

Our 2017 Children’s Christmas Event proved to be very successful indeed and we were pleased that we could put on this free event.

It was very well attended and enjoyed by all including children, parents, grandparents, helpers and even the entertainers said what a great party it was.

We had balloon modelling, face painting, nail varnishing, hair braiding, tombola, guess the number of sweets name the leopard, guess the weight of the sweets, a raffle, lucky dip, Christmas biscuit decorating, crafts etc which all went down a storm and Father Christmas was wonderful. We also provided a variety of complimentary refreshments.

All the children had lots of fun and went home very happy with at least one gift each, a specially modelled balloon plus any crafts that they did.

We are very grateful to the Meriden Community Centre for letting us use their large hall free of charge so that we could put on this very successful community event.

We are thankful for the twenty volunteers that worked hard to make sure the event went well including friends, family, the Hillside Residents Association Committee and the WCH team who supported us beforehand and during the party.

We very much appreciate the Co-op for donating mince pies, John & Sarah from Martins who donated sweets and ASDA who donated all the fairy cakes.

We are now all looking forward to our next event!