Labour announce Joy Garner as their candidate for Staffordshire Police and Crime Commissioner

Staffordshire Police CrestJust coming in, Joy Garner has been announced as the Labour candidate for the role of Staffordshire Police and Crime Commissioner in the elections in November.

Joy  was up against former police authority chairman Michael Poulter in the vote and currently sites on Staffordshire Police Authority & Staffordshire Joint Police and Crime Panel. Continue reading

Why a political elected Police Commissioner is a dangerous idea

Next November there will be the election for local Police Commissioners in Staffordshire and Stoke – as it will be everywhere else in the country. It is likely that all the main political parties will be entering candidates. Already there seems evidence that the party HQs are controlling the business about who becomes the candidate. In North Wales, for instance, the local Labour Party is accused of trying to impose a short list of three without internal party debate. The other political parties will want to control the process. Continue reading

15 November set for Police and Crime Commissioner Elections

Election of a new Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent will take place on November 15, 2012 with Stoke-on-Trent acting as the lead authority and being responsible for administering the election across the police force area.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s Paul Hackney has been appointed as Police Area Returning Officer (PARO) designate. Continue reading

Police Commissioners and the Thick Red Fog

Neill Harvey-Smith hopes the new Police and Crime Commissioner will leave policing to the Thin Blue Line and tackle the Thick Red Fog of fear and powerlessness.

A woman found notes left on her car, telling her she shouldn’t park at a particular spot at the side of the road. She checked with the police and they confirmed she could legally park there. So she continued – and her car was vandalised.

I read this story on the front page of a local newspaper last week. My first reaction was sympathy – for the frustration, the cost, the injustice that the woman did nothing wrong and was victimised. My second was surprise – why is this in a newspaper? Isn’t this just what happens? Continue reading

1981 Shelton Riots

The showing this week of the biopic on the life of Mrs Thatcher will now doubt present her achievements in a rosy glow. Anyone living through that period who was on the left and politically active will almost certainly have a different view.

A seminal moment locally occurred on the weekend of the 11th ““12th July 1981 when the riots came to Shelton.

Rather like the events of last August the disturbances were born out of resentment and an intense disenchantment with the failure of authority. Like 2011 unemployment amongst the young was climbing and the consequences of Tory Chancellor’s Geoffrey Howe budgets of 1980-1 was to rapidly increase the jobless total. It is calculated that over 2 million jobs were lost in the manufacturing sector in the early years of the decade.

The riots began in Toxteth and spread as did the events of last summer to other major cities quickly. The list is a roll call of the great urban centres as Manchester, Leeds and London followed Liverpool. I was living in London at the time and can clearly recall walking over Greenwich Park and seeing the flames and hearing the disorder in Lewisham.

That weekend the troubles came to Shelton.

A party held at 45 Ashford St began to get too noisy and depending on whose side you believe the police responded or exacerbated the situation. One person in the house said that the police released dogs and batoned many of the party goers in a very heavy handed approach.

Predictably views were divided.

The chairman of the Police Authority a Labour Councillor called Harry Brown from Norton defended the police actions some community activists felt that there was an over-reaction. It was not racial as people at the house included black and white. Among the arrested were people from a wide area including parts of Abbey Hulton and it was the first time that Randolph Conteh’s name became known to a wider public.

The disturbances did not achieve much and rather like last summer authority were able to label those involved in the disturbances as hooligans and overlook the core issues of wasted lives and unemployment.

Operation Impact

Staffordshire Police today launched Operation Impact, the force wide approach to tackle serious acquisitive crime and bring those criminals associated to justice.

Staffordshire Police has already re-focused its efforts in tackling serious acquisitive crime, in the first half of this year (April to Sept) offences have fallen by 367, a fall of 8% with overall crime falling by nearly 10% across the force.

Six days of action will follow across Staffordshire and the City, starting on Monday 31 October through until Saturday 5 November.

I’m looking forward to some really good results as we work proactively across the County and Stoke-on-Trent to target criminals, detect and reduce crime and make our communities feel safe.

We will also be working with partners, colleagues from education, social services and road crime teams to deal with a variety of offences and issues such as anti-social behaviour and truancy to non-insured vehicles.

Whilst acquisitive crime rates are falling across Staffordshire and the City, we are not complacent, and it remains a priority for ourselves and our partners to tackle the issue by bringing offenders to justice.

During the week long operation there will be regular updates publicising the week’s activity through the force website, media and social media to allow members of the public to access updates of the action.

Open Mike Night

Staffordshire Police Chief Constable Mike Cunningham will be answering questions live on-line tonight.

Follow the event in the window below.

Dispersal Order issued for Fegg Hayes and Packmoor

A new dispersal order is to be put in force by Staffordshire Police and Stoke-on-Trent City Council at the end of this week.

The Section 30 Dispersal Zone will run in the Fegg Hayes and Packmoor area from 1 April 2011 to 1 October 2011.

To complement this, a number of activities are available for young people to access on various nights of the week including the Hoppa Bus at Whitfield Valley Centre; activities at Packmoor Youth Club and free boxing sessions at James Brindley High School.

A Section 30 is to help people not feel frightened or discouraged from using
Public places because of the behaviour of groups of people, and is also intended to protect children and young people from the risks of being unaccompanied on the streets late at night.

The boundary of the Section 30 Dispersal Zone will be as follows:

Along Mellor Street to Birchenwood Road to the junction of Colclough Lane; down to Zodiac Drive down to St Michael’s Road, along Roseberry Street up to Clement Road; across to Johnson Place to the junction with Oxford Road.
Along Cumberbatch Avenue to Biddulph Road, along the recreation ground up to Handley Street to the junction with Mellor Street.

A Section 30 Dispersal Zone gives the police the following powers:

To disperse groups of two or more people;
To take young people under the age of 16 years home after 9pm.
To order that person to not return within 24 hours, if they do not live in that area

If individuals refuse to follow the direction to disperse they will be committing an offence. This could result in a fine up to £2,500 or imprisonment, or both.

Tony Oakman, Director of Adult and Neighbourhood Services at Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said:

“Complaints from local residents have lead both ourselves and the police to the point where the dispersal order was the most appropriate measure.

The order prevents groups of two or more people gathering and acting in an anti-social way like drinking and being noisy and abusive to local residents.

This is an good example the council working in partnership with the police to stop those people who disrupt other people’s lives and ruin communities.”

PC Jaime Isaacs, neighbourhood officer for Fegg Hayes and Packmoor, said:

“The introduction of a Section 30 Dispersal Zone is the latest tool to be implemented to tackle anti-social behaviour in Fegg Hayes and Packmoor.

Our officers have been working closely with other agencies and the community itself to address issues in the areas concerned and there has been improvement in the behaviour of some young people. Despite this, there are a number of people who continue to cause nuisance and distress to other members of the community by their actions.

Anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated by Staffordshire Police and we will continue to work with Stoke-on-Trent City Council, and other partners, to address such matters.

Have you been affected by anti social behaviour? If so, we’d like to hear from you. Or, Perhaps youare a teenager and have been accused of antisocial behaviour. how do you think these measures will impact on young people. Get in touch we’d love to hear your views.



Nine men have tonight been charged with conspiracy to cause explosions in the UK, and with terrorism offences.

This follows a series of dawn arrests, coordinated by the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit, last Monday (20 Dec).

Three of the men aged 24, 26 and 28 are from Cardiff, two aged 20 and 28 from London, and four aged 19, 25, 26 and 26 are from Stoke-on-Trent.

The men will appear at the City of Westminster Magistrates Court in the morning (Monday Dec 27).

Sue Hemming, head of the Crown Prosecution Service Counter Terrorism Division, said: “I have today advised the police that nine men should be charged with conspiracy to cause explosions and with engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism with the intention of either committing acts of terrorism, or assisting another to commit such acts.

“Lawyers from the CPS Counter Terrorism Division have been working with the police on this case from an early stage and were on hand to give advice while the men were interviewed.

“I have reviewed the evidence provided to me by the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit and I am satisfied there is sufficient for a realistic prospect of conviction, and it is in the public interest that these men should be charged with these offences.

“I must remind the media to take care in reporting events surrounding this case. These men have been charged with serious offences and are entitled to a fair trial. It is extremely important that nothing should be reported which could prejudice any trial.”

Three other men arrested – two from Cardiff and one from London – have been released without charge.

Details of the charges are as follows:

CONSPIRACY TO CAUSE AN EXPLOSION, contrary to section 3(1) (a) of the Explosive Substances Act 1883.

PARTICULARS OF OFFENCE: on diverse days between 1 day of October and 20 day of November 2010 unlawfully and maliciously conspired together and with others to cause by an explosive substance an explosion or explosions of a nature likely to endanger life or cause serious injury to property in the United Kingdom.

ENGAGING IN CONDUCT IN PREPARATION FOR ACTS OF TERRORISM, contrary to section 5(1) of the Terrorism Act 2006.

PARTICULARS OF OFFENCE: on diverse days between the 1 day of October and 20 day of December 2010, with the intention of committing an act or acts of terrorism, engaged in conduct in preparation for giving effect to that intention, namely and including, downloading, researching, obtaining and discussing materials and methods; researching, discussing, carrying out reconnaissance on, and agreeing potential targets; travelling to and attending meetings; igniting and testing incendiary material.

Police ANPR Operation

Sitting in a Vaxhall Vectra at the side of the A53 in Etruria on a cold wet Thursday doesn’t sound like the most glamourous of ways to spend a couple of hours, but if the car happens to be a top of the range police car fitted with over £5000 of Automatic Number Plate Recognition equipment it does become a slightly more interesting proposition.

There were 4 highly visible police cars taking part in the operation around Hanley on Thursday, each one checking the number plates of 1000s of cars each hour. No matter if they are driving, parked up monitoring the traffic or have already pulled someone over, the ANPR kit checks the registration plate of each car it sees in either of its two cameras against a database of over 2 million cars which are flagged for attention.

As each car comes in to view the camera captures an image and feeds it in to the ANPR computer fitted to the car and searches the databases for Tax, Insurance, MOT as well as information from the Police National Computer which checks to see if the vehicle or its owner are wanted in relation to accidents or crime. Details of stolen vehicles are also added to the system as they are reported. All these checks are done almost instantly and the information for each vehicle is flashed up on a dashboard mounted monitor.

4 years ago it was estimated that 10% of vehicles on the road in the UK were uninsured, today in Staffordshire that is down to 2.5%. The reduction in uninsured vehicles is because of the proactive approach we take and the ability to seize uninsured vehicles at the roadside.

If you drive an uninsured vehicle and are stopped, you will receive a £200 fixed penalty at the roadside & 6 points on your licence. We will then seize your vehicle, which will cost you a further £150 in recovery costs. The recovery operator will then charge you around £20 per day for storing your vehicle until you have insured it and collected it. So you could be looking at up to £600 plus the cost of your insurance, which will almost undoubtedly also go up in price and will be more expensive than if you had insured your vehicle in the first place.

The operation around Hanley resulted in 11 negative breath tests, 4 cars seized for not having insurance, 7 people reported for summons and 5 fixed penalty notices for various driving offences.
Today we used our Automatic Number Plate Recognition equipment police cars to target people illegally using the road around the city centre. We know that criminals involved in committing crime often commit motoring offences. Also vehicles that aren’t insured are more likely to be involved in a collision.

The ANPR system focusses on vehicles but is not solely for the detection of vehicle crime, if you are wanted by the police in relation to any crime, your vehicle details can be entered on the the ANPR and officer anywhere in the country will be able to see that your vehicle should be stopped and you questioned or arrested.
Adem Kilincarslan who was jailed last week for a rape which took place 15 years ago was caught by ANPR, Kilincarslan had been involved in an accident at Weston Coyney and failed to stop, his vehicle details were entered on to the Police National Computer and the ANPR system. He was stopped and questioned by PC?? from the Police Crime Unit who arrested him after a search of his vehicle found 2 knives under the drivers seat. A DNA Sample was taken after his arrest and this was subsequently matched to a sample taken as part of the investigation in to the rape 15 years ago.

the ANPR gives us information on vehicles as they are scanned by our system but we don’t rely on it solely, still use our instincts to stop cars. When we look at a car that passes all the ANPR checks we can usually tell if there is something that we need to investigate

As well as the ongoing ANPR operations around the city, Staffordshire Police are also taking part in the national annual Drink Driving campaign, on Wednesday officers from the Tunstall Incident Management Team targeted drivers in the Chell Heath Road, Smallthorne and Fegg Hayes areas between 6.30 pm and 10.15 pm.

A total of 211 vehicles were stopped with 9 drivers, aged between 23 and 64 years old, were breathalysed. All provided negative tests.

One vehicle was seized for not being insured and a number of drivers were given information on drink driving.