Surrey Police ready to meet the challenges of second lockdown

Robust plans are in place to ensure that Surrey Police can continue to meet the challenges of further changes to the coronavirus regulations – that was the message from Chief Constable Gavin Stephens following the introduction of the second lockdown last week.

Urging Surrey residents to play their part in preventing the spread of the virus, CC Stephens urged people to stay at home as much as possible to save lives.

Thanking the Surrey public for their high compliance with the restrictions since the first lockdown was imposed on 23 March, he said:

 “We know that this a challenging and unprecedented time for everyone and that the public are doing their best to adapt and follow the rules in place for everyone’s safety. We have seen high levels of compliance in Surrey and I am so grateful to our local communities for this and am confident that this will continue to be the case.

He continued: “Our officers will continue to engage with our local communities using our well-established policing approach of engaging, educating and explaining. However, in exceptional cases, and only as a last resort and where people show a blatant disregard for the rules, we will take enforcement action.”

520 Fixed Penalty Notices have been issued by Surrey Police since the start of the lockdown on 23 March for contravention of lockdown regulations.

A total of six Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) were issued over the weekend following the introduction of the second lockdown on 5 November. Three of the FPNs issued related to the same incident after three men were stopped in a van at the Clacket Lane services on Friday evening (6 November).

Although there was not enough evidence to link to them to the reported poaching incident, all three were issued with £200 fines for breaching current covid restrictions.

Of the six tickets given, all were given to people aged 22-35 years and five of them were given to men.

During the first lockdown, Surrey Police saw an increase in reports of certain crimes, including online fraud, domestic abuse and online child exploitation, as well as a rise in the number of mental health incidents being reported.

However, there was a decrease of 37.5% in the number of residential burglaries between 1 April and 8 November compared to the same period last year. Reports of external child exploitation also decreased during the first lockdown.

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Ali Barlow said: “These crime patterns are reflected nationally and we will obviously continue to monitor these trends as we navigate our way through the second lockdown.

“We will continue to work with the county’s fantastic outreach services and helplines to support those who report domestic abuse.

“Similarly, we will work with our partner agencies to tackle online exploitation involving children, particularly as they will inevitably be spending more time on their mobile devices during this period.

“During the first lockdown, children were subject to increased tensions within the family and increased exposure to domestic abuse and abuse of alcohol and drugs. The dynamics are different in the second lockdown because children are still going to school.

“We also believe that child abuse did increase during the first lockdown but that it wasn’t reported and so wasn’t reflected in the crime figures.

“We would urge anyone who suspects a child as being at risk of abuse or online or external exploitation to report it to us straightaway. We do not want children to suffer in silence.

“We will also continue to issue tips and reminders about keeping yourself safe from fraud and to not give out your personal details or banking information as we see a shift in everyone spending more time online.

“Safeguarding our most vulnerable victims will always be a top priority for us and we will continue to work with our partner agencies to ensure that we continue to do so alongside all the other demands which are being placed on us in these unprecedented times.”

More In Detail Look At Trends Since March 2020

FPNs issued

Since 23 March, Surrey Police have issued 520 fixed penalty notices (including the six issued over the weekend). These included contravention of restricted movement during emergency period; contravention of gathering of more than two people in a public place; failing to comply with instructions; participating in a gathering in an indoor space; not wearing a face mask within a relevant place; coming back from a non-exempt country and failing to self-isolate; contravention of self-isolation regulations.

 Crime trends during first lockdown

Domestic abuse

Reported incidents peaked in May at the height of the first lockdown (1,509 domestic abuse offences reported in May 2020 compared to 1,292 incidents reported in May 2019). Outreach services across the county also saw an unprecedented number of calls during the first lockdown period.

Child abuse

  • Since the UK went into lockdown on 23 March 2020, Surrey Police have seen a 12.2% decline in the number of child abuse reports compared to the same time frame in 2019 (103 less reports). This is largely attributed to the reduced opportunity to spot the signs of child abuse within school, nursery and youth clubs settings with them having closed temporarily.

Online child exploitation

  • There was a 19% increase in referrals to their Paedophile Online Investigation Team during the same period, indicating that more child exploitation is happening online as children and perpetrators are spending more time on their devices.

Mental health

•             There were noticeable increases in the number of mental health incidents and s136 detentions in Surrey.

•             These incidents were made more complex because of the pandemic, with a recognised increase in presentation by people not previously known to services.

•             There has been a significant increase in young people being detained under s136 during 2020 (73%) and this uplift begins in April during the Covid-19 pandemic.

•             The increase in demand is not Surrey specific and has been identified as a national issue by the NPCC and College of Policing mental health lead.

Fraud

676 fraud offences were reported between 23 March 2020 and 4 July 2020, which was an increase of 73 offences (12.11%) compared to the same period last year. Action Fraud also reported significant increases in reporting of online fraud during lockdown, particularly in relation to online shopping, advance fee fraud, and cheque, plastic card and online banking.

Cyber crime

During the first lockdown (March to June) there was an increase in reports of cybercrime (166 reports, compared to 136 reports for the same period in 2019.

•             January 2020 – 145

•             February 2020 – 120

•             March 2020 – 133

•             April 2020 – 157

•             May 2020 – 186

•             June 2020 – 189

•             July 2020 – 201

2020 Epsom & Ewell Special COVID Awards

The shortlisted businesses for the 2020 Epsom & Ewell Special COVID Awards have been announced.

The 2020 Epsom & Ewell COVID Special Business Awards were launched on Monday 21st September and up till close of entries on the 31st Oct has had huge amount of entries. The COVID special Business Awards are to recognise businesses that have adapted and gone above the call of duty during this pandemic. Due to a high number of entries for support of the community the judges took the decision to add another category Support of a Charity and decided not to run with Best Employer.

The shortlisted businesses are:

Best Business in Ashtead

Ashtead Fruit Box
The Rye Café & Juice Bar
The Maths Mum

Best Business in Epsom & Epsom Downs

Cirrus
Epsom Stagecoach
The Epsom Bakehouse

Best Business in Ewell & Stoneleigh

Radford’s Butchers
Minuteman Press
Colombo Kitchen

Best Business for Support of the Community

Gillespie’s Bakery
Stoneleigh Post Office
Picky Bits

Best Business for Support of a Charity

All Things Nice
The Oracle Group
Epsom & Ewell Families

All shortlisted businesses will be contacted shortly with details of the Online Awards Ceremony on 19 November at 7pm.

Councils Can Day

Epsom & Ewell Borough Council will be taking part in the Local Government Association’s second #CouncilsCan Day– an online celebration to highlight the critical work of local government during the coronavirus pandemic.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the council has worked tirelessly to keep services running during this crisis and support residents and businesses.

This includes:

  • Administering the payment of grants totalling £10million to over 700 small businesses
  • Establishing a High Streets Task Force to help with the safe recovery of the boroughs retail and hospitality areas
  • Housing 50+ households directly affected by the impact of the coronavirus
  • Contacting over 100 restaurants and food business providing relevant information and guidance
  • Establishing a team of Borough Wardens to provide reassurance, advice and guidance to visitors and local businesses
  • Taking measures to ensure rubbish and recycling continued to be collected over the lockdowns
  • Ramping up meals at home and home shopping services ensuring the elderly vulnerable were safe in their own homes

Councillors and officers from Epsom & Ewell Borough Council will be taking part in the national social media campaign on Tuesday 10 November to promote ongoing council efforts to lead communities through this crisis and beyond.

Cllr Eber Kington, Chairman of Epsom & Ewell Borough Council’s Strategy and Resources Committee said, “During the pandemic we’ve seen Borough Council members of staff taking on new roles, for example supporting vulnerable members of the community, and others ensuring that essential services are maintained to provide some sense of normality. 

“Importantly they have been a reassuring presence in the town and on the telephone offering advice and assistance to many residents and businesses in the borough”.

Cllr Peter Fleming, Chairman of the LGA’s Improvement and Innovation Board, said:

“In this time of national crisis, it is council staff who have kept our communities running and provided crucial local leadership.

“While showcasing this vital and fantastic work, the LGA will be using the #CouncilsCan Day to highlight that councils can have an even greater impact on the health and wealth of our country with proper and sustainable funding.”

For more information, visit www.local.gov.uk/councilscan-day and follow the hashtag #CouncilsCan on the day.

Epsom & Ewell Borough Council will be taking part in #CouncilsCan Day on our social media channels – @EpsomEwellBC on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Donation of Buckets & Soaps to schools in Malawi

Grace Makandawire, a primary school teacher in Malawi, made an appeal to her friend, Epsom Rotarian Ruthie Markus, for buckets and soaps for primary schools in Malawi. Ruthie is currently working in Malawi and is CEO of The AMECA Trust, (www.ameca.org.uk).

Although numbers of Covid cases and deaths from Covid have remained relatively low in Malawi, the re-opening of Malawi’s schools in late September, brought new challenges. Primary schools routinely have very high numbers of pupils, sometimes in excess of 3000 and few schools have adequate washing facilities; many schools have no mains water, especially in rural areas.

Grace was sent for training on COVID 19 prevention in order to train staff in schools about the importance of handwashing. Following an appeal by Epsom Rotary Club, Ruthie was able to purchase 4,320 bars of soap and 500 20-litre buckets with taps, from local suppliers in Blantyre, southern Malawi.

Grace and Ruthie distributed the buckets and soaps over 3 long very hot days!! The terrain covered ranged from urban tar roads to challenging uneven mud rural roads, through tea estates and remote border villages. Priority was given to the more remote rural schools and those with high pupil numbers. The reception at all the recipient schools was nothing short of ecstatic, with touching ceremonies, much singing and huge gratitude.
Profound gratitude to the Rotary Club of Epsom, to all the donors and to The AMECA Trust was expressed by The District Education Manager, The Schools Inspector and from all the recipient schools. Epsom Rotary Club would also like to send their thanks to all donors. Your help has made a real difference to those less fortunate than us in these extraordinary times.

For more details about Epsom Rotary Club please visit epsomrotaryclub.org.

These photographs show Ruthie, staff and pupils of recipient schools preparing to make good use of the buckets and soap in the fight against covid-19.

 

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