Devon & Cornwall Police

  1. Freezing police pay a 'betrayal' of pandemic work

    Freezing the pay of police officers would be a "betrayal of their hard work" during the pandemic, a police federation chairman has said.

    Chancellor Rishi Sunak is considering freezing the pay of millions of public sector workers in England next year, the BBC has reported.

    Andy Berry, Chairman of Devon and Cornwall Police Federation, acknowledged the economic situation faced by the government, but argued it was "deeply frustrating" they seem to be taking the "easy option" and "picking on" public sector workers in an effort to reduce spending.

    He said: "We are barely out of the decade of austerity, there is little fat on the bone and for many officers knowing that their pay will once again start falling behind inflation and private sector pay will feel like a real slap in the face."

    Andy Berry

    Mr Berry said while the decision was not as yet official, he argued the public have become "familiar" with the government's "intentional drip feed of information ahead of major announcements".

    He added this "leaking" of information adds to officers stress and had already received questions from his members he was unable to answer.

    Mr Berry said: "For instance one significant concern for many officers is whether or not annual increments will be frozen like last time.

    "This will be a massive hit for officers who are young in service and have joined in the expectation of pay progression to make up for the poor starting salary."

  2. 'Better policing' explains sex offenders rise

    BBC Radio Devon

    The number of registered sex offenders living in Devon and Cornwall being above the national average is because of because of improved police work, according to a senior officer.

    Ministry of Justice figures show there were 2,036 in the region at the end of March 2020 - that's almost a 3% increase on last year and a 75%percent increase on 10 years ago.

    Supt Sharon Donald from Devon and Cornwall Police explained the rise was due to improvements in the force's work catching offenders.

    She said: "We have increased staff, we have increased technology and we have dedicated teams town now, which maybe we didn't have 10 years ago."

    These specialist teams focused on investigating sex offenders has led to the force convicting and catching perpetrators at a higher rate, explaining the rise in registered sex offenders, Supt Donald added.

  3. Call for new Plymouth police HQ backed by city council

    Ed Oldfield

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Councillors in Plymouth have backed a call for the city to get a new police HQ.

    The move came from Labour’s Gareth Derrick, the party’s candidate for police and crime commissioner, who said the city had been let down by government cuts to policing since 2010, and had seen a big rise in violent crime in recent years.

    The councillor said that, although the region was described as one of the safest in the country, violent offences had risen by more than three-quarters since May 2016, when current Conservative commissioner Alison Hernandez took office.

    He said the level was now just below the national average, rising out of line with other offences, with the majority related to domestic abuse and alcohol-related crime.

    Cllr Derrick told a meeting of the full council on Monday the city’s two main police stations at Charles Cross (pictured) and Crownhill were designed in the 1960s and out of date, meanwhile new stations had been built elsewhere in Devon and Cornwall.

    He said it was a good time to go ahead with major investment as the city recovered from the coronavirus pandemic.

    His council motion was opposed by members of the Conservative group, who accused him of electioneering, and opponents argued information in his statement was inaccurate as it did not take into account recent investment in Plymouth.

    Conservative leader Nick Kelly also said the current commissioner had invested heavily in front line resources and infrastructure in the city.

    The motion was passed by 28 to 16, with eight abstentions from former members of the Conservative group who resigned last month.

    The council’s leader will now write to the commissioner asking for the policing needs of Plymouth to be prioritised, and offering help towards planning a new HQ for the city.

    The job of police and crime commissioner for Devon and Cornwall is due for election in May 2021 after the vote was postponed from May this year due to pandemic.

    Charles Cross police station
  4. Twenty-one cases of Covid-19 in police in four-weeks

    There have been 21 confirmed cases of coronavirus among police officers and staff in Devon and Cornwall during a four-week period leading up to 28 October.

    It comes as the force reveals a rise in the number of officers being spat at by people who then claim to have Covid-19.

    Assistant Chief Constable Glen Mayhew says no officer should be assaulted while protecting the public.

    "It is really tough that we're asking police and other emergency service personnel to put themselves in harms way to protect the public.

    "And it's completely unacceptable that in doing so they face increased risk through people assaulting them and even worse at the moment, through spitting."

    On Wednesday a man was jailed for six months for spitting at a police officer and a member of the public.

  5. Spitting attacks on police 'totally unacceptable'

    Andrew Segal

    BBC South West

    Spitting attacks on police are "absolutely disgusting" and "totally unacceptable", a senior officer has said.

    Ch Supt Daniel Evans - commander of the north, east and west Devon area of the force - tweeted that he had written to three officers who suffered such attacks over the weekend, and that it "makes my blood boil reading the reports of assaults on our staff".

    His comments were supported by the head of the Devon and Cornwall Police Federation, which represents officers up the rank of chief inspector.

    Andy Berry said that spitting seemed "to have been weaponised by Covid" and that there had been a 62% increase in such incidents on the six months since lockdown, which was "unacceptable".

    Ch Supt Evans said one offender was given a 56-week sentence for such an assault, "which is a good result and fully deserved".

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  6. Police officer set on fire is still recuperating

    Miles Davis

    BBC News Online

    A police officer set on fire by a homeless man in Newquay in September said he was "healing well".

    Blagovest Hadjigueorguiev was jailed at Truro Crown Court on Friday for ten-and-a-half years for inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent on PC Darral Mares and attempting to inflict grievous bodily harm with intent on PC Alan Lenton.

    In a statement PC Mares said: “My recuperation process is still ongoing, I am healing well and at this stage expected to recover without any further hospitalisation.

    “Irrelevant of the sentencing result, my priority has always been my recovery and returning to full physical fitness.

    “I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who assisted me or my family on the day of the incident and also the incredible NHS staff at Treliske and the Derriford Burns Unit.

    “Over the past few months, the Criminal Investigation Department at Newquay has worked relentlessly to proceed with this case.

    “I would personally like to thank the team for all their hard work."

    PC Mares said he and his family had been "overwhelmed" by support from colleagues, friends and the local community.

    He added: “Sadly, since my incident, officers in London were subject to an attack and more prominently in the news was the tragic death of Sergeant Matt Ratana who was shot dead on duty in Croydon.

    “Officers and staff know they have to take risks on occasions and understand that it comes with the nature of policing, but being assaulted on duty should never be condoned and seen as ‘part of the job’.”

  7. 'Running a police control room from your bedroom'

    Twitter

    The chief superintendent of Devon and Cornwall Police has celebrated a member of staff for managing to run the force's control room from a bedroom.

    Ian Drummond-Smith praised the dedication of his control room supervisor, who is currently in self-isolation.

    Mike Newton described his setup in his "dog's bedroom" as the "Satellite Operational Command Centre".

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  8. 'Don't be a pain this Halloween’, says police

    Twitter

    Devon and Cornwall Police is encouraging members of the public to respect people's wishes during Halloween.

    "Some people might be distressed by strangers knocking at their door in the dark - especially during a pandemic,” the force said.

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  9. More than 1,000 Covid-19 fines since lockdown

    Devon and Cornwall Police has issued more than 1,000 coronavirus fines since they were introduced in lockdown.

    The 1,009 fines between March 27 and October 19 is the fourth highest in England and Wales, only behind Dyfed-Powys Police, London's Metropolitan Police and North Yorkshire Police.

  10. Crime 'plummeted' during lockdown, figures show

    Devon and Cornwall's crime rate "plummeted" during the Covid-19 lockdown, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner said.

    There were almost 10,000 fewer crimes recorded in the counties in the year to June 2020 than there were in the previous 12 months, Office for National Statistics figures showed.

    This amounted to 54 crimes per 1,000 people in Devon and Cornwall, down from 57 in the same period.

    There were particularly significant drops in theft, vehicle offences, shoplifting and burglary, falling between 16% and 30%.

    These figures show the area covered by Devon and Cornwall Police was the second safest force area of 43 in England and Wales.

    Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez said the figures showed the "colossal effect" the restrictions had on crime rates, while acknowledging neither the times nor the figures were "ordinary".

    She said: "I’m pleased that with all the doom and gloom around we can deliver some good news in that residents of Devon and Cornwall are safer in terms of a crime threat than they have been.

    "Lockdown made life harder for criminals, and it also made it easier for police to identify criminal activity like county lines drug dealing."

  11. Police getting self-isolation data 'not a good idea'

    Andrew Segal

    BBC South West

    Giving police access to details from the NHS Test and Trace service is "not a good idea", the chairman of the Devon and Cornwall Police Federation has said.

    Andy Berry, from the organisation which represents rank and file officers up to the rank of chief inspector, was responding to plans to give police forces more details to investigate those suspected of failing to self-isolate, now a legal requirement if anyone is contacted by the service.

    Mr Berry tweeted that it was "not just because we’re busy enough but unbelievably some people don’t like police and the thought of officers at their door will put them off getting tested".

    He added that there were "currently other ways we receive information like this without being too heavy handed".

    He said: "If police are passed this information then it will definitely put a lot of people off getting tested. We should be used as a last resort."

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