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Just some of the PCSOs, PCs and Sergeants that make up the City Centre neighbourhood policing team
Just some of the PCSOs, PCs and Sergeants that make up the City Centre neighbourhood policing team

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Success for City Centre neighbourhood team as crime plummets

Crime levels are significantly lower in Nottingham city centre compared to before the coronavirus pandemic, new figures reveal.

A total of 2,520 fewer crimes were recorded in the 12 months to November 2022 – a reduction of 22.7% compared to the same period in 2018-19.

Much of the success is down to the proactive efforts of the City Centre neighbourhood policing teams.

Headed up by two inspectors, the teams work as part of one all-encompassing team to ensure the public are kept safe.

“All our officers are committed to tackling crime, anti-social behaviour and the issues that affect people who live and work in the city centre, or who are simply enjoying a visit,” explained Chief Inspector Amy English.

“Our ultimate priority is to keep people safe. To achieve this, we have multiple teams including our Operation Compass and Operation Reacher teams who are dedicated to proactively tackling issues such as antisocial behaviour, including working closely with partners to try to break the cycle of offending.

“As part of this, our officers carry out regular high-visibility patrols to provide both a reassuring presence on the streets and also feet on the ground to respond quickly to any incidents as they happen.”

Ch Insp English said the neighbourhood teams work alongside specialist police units from across the force, as well as external partners, to keep people safe.

She said: “All our neighbourhood teams had an impressive 2022 and their success, combined with a joined-up approach to policing the night-time economy and the excellent work of our licensing team, has helped reduce crime by almost a quarter.

“Of course, no city is crime-free and when incidents do occur our officers work closely alongside colleagues in other police teams – such as response, CID and the force’s knife crime, burglary and robbery teams – to ensure offenders are brought to justice.

“All these cogs have come together to successfully reduce crime in Nottingham and these efforts will continue throughout 2023 and beyond.”

Here’s everything you need to know about the various teams policing the city centre:

Operation Reacher

Nottinghamshire Police has had 12 Operation Reacher teams operating since October 2020 to react quickly to community concerns, disrupt organised criminality and build stronger relationships with residents.

The city centre Reacher team is headed up by Sergeant Louise Ellis, who said: “We had a really productive year in 2022.

“In total, we executed 90 warrants at addresses linked to suspects and that resulted in us seizing a variety of dangerous weapons and drugs that are a blight on our communities. In one week alone we seized £2.5m worth of class A and B substances as part of a crackdown on drugs.

“We then work closely with the Crown Prosecution Service to ensure those responsible are removed from our streets and put behind bars.

“Clearly that’s a really important part of the job but we also want to steer people away from crime. That’s why we’ve also carried out an array of engagement events at schools and Scout groups.

“We also organise these visits because we want children to feel safe around police officers and to not be afraid of them. It is important we show them there’s a friendly face behind the uniform who is there to help protect them and keep them safe.”

Operation Compass

The Operation Compass team is dedicated to tackling complex issues in the city centre associated with vulnerable people who are begging, street drinking and other street lifestyle issues.

The team work closely with partners to try to break the cycle of offending and vulnerability by providing a wrap-around service, seeking sustainable solutions by providing a tailored multi-agency response.

Those who decline support are subjected to a staged approach to enforcement, making best use of criminal behaviour orders, city centre PSPOs (Public Space Protection Orders) and dispersal powers.

Sergeant Jonathan Pothercary, who leads the Compass team, said: “Our proactive patrols have led to drugs and weapons being seized and this all helps to make the city centre a safer place to live, work and visit.

“As a team we've now made 347 arrests as part of the action we take in tackling these issues."

Operation Guardian

Operation Guardian is an anti-violence operation run regularly by officers in the city centre. The initiative sees officers and a specially trained drugs dog tackle the supply and use of illegal drugs, in order to reduce violence during the night time economy.

During the patrols, the Guardian team keep an eye out for suspicious activity and will typically stop and search up to 50 individuals. Often this leads to a number of arrests for offences such as possession of class A and/or class B drugs and possession of an offensive weapons.

Sergeant Graham Whitt, who leads the Guardian patrols, said: “Last year was another successful year for Operation Guardian. Hundreds of people were actively engaged with, resulting in the recovery of numerous class A, B and C controlled substances and dangerous weapons. In turn, this has inevitable reduced violent crime and made the streets safer.”

Traditional neighbourhood teams

Headed up by Sergeant Rich Tiernan and Sergeant Paul Whitehead, these teams get amongst the local community every single day solving the issues and problems that are affect residents, businesses and visitors.

They play a key part in tackling the core priorities of the City Centre Neighbourhood Team, which are tackling knife crime and anti-social behaviour in the Milton Street and Clumber Street area.

Sergeant Tiernan is pictured below at an operation held recently at Nottingham Railway Station, which was designed to catch people trying to bring knives into the city.

Night-Time Economy / Operation Castle

Metal detectors outside bars, high-visibility police patrols and a joined-up CCTV network that sees suspects arrested within minutes are just some of the ways the city centre is policed during the night-time economy.

It is why Nottingham has Purple Flag status – and an international award which recognises excellence in the management of a safe town or city centre.

Last year, in an effort to reduce incidents even further, a new strategy for policing Nottingham’s night-time economy was launched as part of efforts to stop disorder happening in the first place.

Randomised patrols are now being complemented by a more targeted approach, with hotspot areas now seeing a higher police presence on Friday and Saturday nights.

Inspector John Lees said the new approach – called Operation Castle – was designed to make Nottingham city centre an even safer place to enjoy an evening out.

He said: “The starting point was to look how we were deploying our resource. Previously, the deployment was two vans – each with a sergeant and seven PCs – carrying out randomised patrols. When a call came in, they would immediately respond.

“This approach meant we could respond quickly to incidents, but it did little to prevent incidents happening in the first place.

“Now resource is deployed across five units. Of these, three units are assigned two hotspot locations each and alternate between them, ensuring six hotspots are covered in total. During periods of no disorder, officers enter venues to build rapport with staff and to check licensing conditions are being adhered to.

“Meanwhile, the remaining two police units carry out randomised patrols. We’ve implemented these changes to make Nottingham city centre an even safer place to enjoy an evening out.”

Learn more about the city centre neighbourhood policing team here: City Centre | Your Area | Nottinghamshire Police | Nottinghamshire Police.

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Nottinghamshire Police
Sherwood Lodge, Arnold
NG5 8PP Nottinghamshire,
United Kingdom