PiP goes for a Coffee with Cops

PiP goes for a Coffee with Cops

Last month, Parent Champion Michelle went along to a ‘Coffee with Cops’ session at Debenhams. Armed with a list of questions from parents and a bucket of enthusiasm, here’s the interview in full.

What can I do to make my home safer? Are there inspections or home advise visits from the police? Similar to the fire safety check the fire service do?
Unfortunately due to Policing demands we are unable to complete routine home safety checks, however if you would like advice on protecting your home please visit the Essex Police website where there is a host of information to assist you. Failing that if you have a specific request please email southendcommunitypolicingteam@essex.pnn.police.uk and an officer will either reply to you or arrange to complete a visit.

What is the opinion on the doorbells with cameras?
They are a great idea, they are becoming more wide spread which supports prevention as well as providing evidence should a crime or suspicious incident be reported. Officers will always scope for CCTV evidence and this technology provides additional opportunities.

Are there tips for when you go holiday. Like having lamps on timers? Open curtains or closed? Is there an information sheet or video or similar?
There is a lot of good advice on the Essex Police website, criminals generally like an easy opportunity. Making your property appear occupied is an excellent way of reducing the risk of becoming a victim of crime, external lighting, internal lights on timers and requesting friends or family to assist with clearing post from the door way or opening and closing curtains will certainly assist. Becoming a Neighbourhood watch area is also a fantastic way of looking not only yourself but also neighbours.

What is being done to prevent our children from getting involved with drugs? Are the police being pro active? Is there anything we should be doing as parents?
Southend Police are working in partnership with a number of agencies to identify young people at risk of being involved in exploitation. Southend Borough Council’s Children’s Services are leading on a campaign #SeeTheSigns which is aimed at educating parents and guardians to help the early identification of change in behaviour and the responsibilities that parents have to know what their children are doing and who they are associating with. Further education is being completed at schools, aimed at inspiring children to respect themselves and make informed life choices, this work is being aimed at children aged 7+ and is bespoke to the age group.
Southend Police are focusing a lot of time on patrolling identified locations where this activity is reported to be happening and identifying perpetrators who are targeting our young people.

We were recently at Milton gardens working on the gates through our community projects A Better Space. In the hidden nature area there were two people drinking and smoking. We also suspected they were taking drugs. We didn’t know what to do, who to call? What’s the procedure?
There are a number of areas within the borough that are covered by a Public Spaces Protection Order which prohibits drinking alcohol whilst acting in an anti-social manner. Unfortunately this area is not covered. However, it is important that this information is documented as this will influence patrol plans and any partnership activity. The best method to report this is via calling 101 or through the Essex Police website (which is recommended). Each call is graded based on the threat, harm or risk it contains, so please be mindful that your call may not result in an immediate deployment of an officer.

Is there a support network for the homeless and a plan for the high street in general?
Southend Police work in partnership with a number of commissioned services such as HARP, Southend Vineyard, Peabody and STARS to name a few to ensure that those that are homeless are signposted to support at the earliest opportunity. As a partnership we have adopted the triple track approach which looks at Prevention, Intervention and as a last resort Enforcement. We will only ever look at Enforcement once we are satisfied that the other 2 areas have been explored appropriately.

How can we better support our children? Protect them?
Young people are using technology every day, educating yourself to know what to look out for is key. Understanding what the risks are is the first step, there is lots of advice of current trends and ways in which you can support and protect your children. Southend Police recommends using internet sites such as Essex police, Southend Borough Council (children’s services) and many .Gov websites to both identify the risks but also provide advice on how young people can be safeguarded. School pastoral teams will also be able to advise you should there be any specific concerns which the internet cannot answer.

Michelle is planning to put together a large scale meeting between local parents and the police in the New Year, so watch this space for more information. If you have any questions about how you can involved in this event, or the A Better Start Southend programme more widely, please email rsavage@savs-southend.co.uk.