Chief Constable to host live public chat

Chief Constable Francis Habgood
Chief Constable Francis Habgood

Thames Valley Police Chief Constable Francis Habgood will be taking questions from the public in a live online session today, Wednesday July 20.

CC Habgood is hosting the public chat following the publication of his open letter to members of the public about the Force’s new commitment.

CC Habgood said: “Last week I wrote an open letter to the residents of Thames Valley which I hope that you have had a chance to read. As we find ourselves in increasingly changing times both within policing and society in general, it is crucial that we provide a modern police service which meets the needs of the public we serve. Our commitment outlines how we will do that.

“One point I stress however is this cannot be done alone, we need to draw on the active participation of residents, businesses and its partners.

“This public chat is a great opportunity for me to speak directly to members of the community and hear your thoughts about our police force and the future of policing.

“I know it can be difficult for people to get to ‘have your say’ meetings, especially when everyone has such busy lives, so this is a chance to have a virtual discussion from the comfort of your own home.”

Thames Valley Police (TVP) recognised that there are emerging crimes like cyber crime and crime that is enabled by computers, as well as a growth in victim-based crime such as sexual offences, domestic abuse and hate-related incidents and crimes.

However there has been a significant drop in ‘traditional’ crimes such as robbery, vehicle crime and burglary. This means that TVP must consider how best to use resources to target these new and increasing types of crime.

TVP is also looking at the demands on its service and how to best cope with this, for example by sending the most appropriate emergency service to respond.

Of the half a million incidents that were recorded by TVP last year, 80 per cent were non-crime related incidents such as calls for fear for personal welfare. Thames Valley Police receives one of these calls every 14 minutes and some of them require a response from a different emergency service rather than police.

TVP receives a call once every 42 minutes about missing people, which requires a varying police response depending on the risk.

Anti-social behaviour has halved over the past five years, however the TVP still receives a call once every 20 minutes. Work with communities can negate the need for police to be called about some anti-social behaviour incidents. For example In Bicester, officers worked with local partners and residents to redevelop the local skate park.

Young people are now able to enjoy their hobbies in a safe and purpose built environment. This has helped reduce the risk of anti-social behaviour offences in the town.

The way people interact with the organisation is changing too, the public want to contact TVP at a time and place that’s convenient to them. A total of 86 per cent of people said they prefer to contact Thames Valley Police on the phone, with one in ten people wanting to contact police via social media in a non emergency.

This is being taken into consideration to ensure that the Force provides the best and most efficient service to people in a way that is most convenient for them.

CC Habgood said: “We will continue to work tirelessly, and importantly, together, to make our communities safer. Communication is a vital part of working together and I hope that we can have that dialogue on Wednesday evening.”

The Ask the Chief online discussion takes place between 7pm and 9pm on Wednesday 20 July. To join the session, go to http://bit.ly/29xXvhX