Policing teams mobilise during successful week of action in Bridgwater and West Somerset

by 24britishtvMay 13, 2024, 5:20 p.m. 25
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Neighbourhood policing teams and specialist units united last week to help tackle the biggest issues impacting communities in Bridgwater and West Somerset.

During the five days of action, from Tuesday 7 May to Saturday 11 May, neighbourhood officers worked with the Rural Crime Team, the Roads Policing Unit, the ASB Team and the Mounted Section on a range of operational activities, including executing arrest warrants; charging prolific offenders; and engaging with local businesses and members of the public at events, town centres, pop-up stands and schools.

Putting neighbourhood policing front and centre, the operation illustrated the vital role that neighbourhood policing teams play in disrupting criminal behaviour and listening to and supporting the community and their needs.

The week of action focused on the five high-priority issues of greatest concern for residents in West Somerset:

Chief Inspector Rebecca Wells-Cole commented, “The week’s operation in West Somerset was all about targeted, high-visibility policing with plenty of opportunity to speak to the public about the issues that are affecting them.

“It was brilliant to see teams coming together to achieve this, working collaboratively to ensure safer streets for everyone. Along with multiple arrests and charges, we’ve met community members and stakeholders, visited local businesses and victims of burglary, and delivered crime prevention advice in different locations.

“Getting out and about solving problems in the community is what neighbourhood officers enjoy doing the most. I couldn’t be prouder of the team.”

The week’s activity was a direct response to community concerns and priorities, and is part of a broader strategy focusing on providing additional resources for neighbourhood teams to enhance community visibility and tackle local issues. Through coordinated action and community engagement, these initiatives aim to deliver safer environments and address public concerns effectively.

Here’s a breakdown of the activity and results:

On Tuesday morning, three warrants were executed under the Misuse of Drugs Act in Taunton. Callum Small, aged 19, was charged with possession with intent to supply class A crack cocaine and two counts of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs (crack cocaine and heroin). At a different address, a 16-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was charged with possession of criminal property, possession of class B cannabis, and two counts of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs (crack cocaine and heroin). Police officers also seized a quantity of drugs and cash during the operation.

Activity on Wednesday was dedicated to tackling business crime. Neighbourhood officers visited over 200 businesses across Taunton, Wellington and Bridgwater, chatting to business owners and retailers about reporting crime and submitting evidence. Proactive work also led to six arrests for offences including robbery, shop theft and burglary; and a large number of non-duty paid tobacco was seized from a shop, subsequently reported to Trading Standards.

Education around rural crime was the focus on Thursday, with activities in Wellington, Minehead, Williton and Dulverton. During the day, officers visited 31 farms, handing out advice packs and encouraging sign-up to Farm Watch. They also patrolled Blackdown and Quantocks car parks, where vehicle owners were advised against leaving their property on show in a bid to deter vehicle crime.

Elsewhere, police community support officers attended various events, including sharing advice about rural security at Cutcombe Market; taking part in the Exmoor Local Community Network; and giving a talk at Winsford parish church with advice on fraud, cold callers, and rural burglaries. The Rural Crime Team were also at the annual Walford Cross machinery sale, providing advice to members of the public – including auctioneers and buyers – on how to prevent theft of plant and farm machinery.

Seven repeat burglary victims were visited to provide support and security advice.

The Roads Policing Unit was based in Taunton town centre on Friday, checking motorcycles and mopeds for document compliance. Over 150 information leaflets on e-scooter usage were distributed to members of the public.
• 1 moped with pillion passenger stopped for engagement with officers
• 1 arrest for moped drug driving and possession of class B cannabis
• 1 PG9 prohibition notice for tyre tread being below the limit

In the morning, officers conducted patrols around five local schools, chatting with pupils about behaviour around e-scooters and their experiences.

Saturday saw neighbourhood policing teams, the ASB (anti-social behaviour) team and the mounted section coordinate a proactive response against anti-social behaviour in Bridgwater town centre – an ongoing concern for local people.

Throughout the day, officers spoke to business owners and retailers about reporting crime, optimising their security, and submitting evidence. They also identified businesses that needed visits for CCTV collections. Meanwhile, our police horses in the town centre attracted a lot of positive attention from the public, with mounted officers assisting with dealing with street drinkers. Throughout the day, PCSOs provided a bike-marking service for cyclists, educating them on bike security, and the ASB team provided advice to the community and local council, as well as issuing on-the-spot interventions:

Clare Moody, the newly elected Police and Crime Commissioner of Avon and Somerset, also made an appearance on Saturday. She spent the morning engaging directly with the people of Bridgwater and observing the positive impact of police presence in the community.

If you are concerned about crime in your neighbourhood, you can report it on our website here: Report a crime or incident | Avon and Somerset Police

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