Sergeant Sam Dobbs is the District Sergeant for Daventry district, and chairman of his parish council. Here is his advice on contacting the police…
When I recently attended a local Parish Council meeting, we discussed the gap that sometimes exists between the confidence of members of the rural community in reporting issues to the police, and the need of the police for that information.
People often ask which number they should ring and worry that they will be making a nuisance by calling, or that the police are too busy. I often refer to Sir Robert Peel, who founded the police service in the 1820s. He said that the ‘public are the police and the police are the public’. In other words, we do it with you, not to you! And nowadays we talk of policing comprising the three parts of the mnemonic PIE – Prevention, Information and Enforcement. If we get the first bits right, we don’t need the last bit! All that said, then, we need you to help us police and we need your information. Information (we call it intelligence) is the oil which keeps the engine going for us, if it is not the petrol itself! It’s vital.
So the next question asked is ‘how do we contact you?’ Here are some thoughts:
999 is the national number for crimes in progress, for anything happening that is dangerous, or for suspicious circumstances. We know people hesitate before calling us, but if it appears suspicious to you then it probably is! If a well-intentioned call does not require the use of 999, you won’t be told off, and if we need to call you back on a non-emergency line, we will.
101 is the national non-emergency number. Wherever you are in the country, dialling 101 will get you through to the local police. Previously, you would have dialled 03000 111222 to get through to the Northamptonshire Police switchboard. 101 gets you through to the same switchboard if dialled within the county. I know that this number can require you to queue for some time and that there are frustrations around that (which we are working on).
I Don’t Want To Leave My Name
Anonymous reporting: If you have information you would rather pass anonymously then you can contact Crimestoppers - the charity which welcomes anonymous information either by calling on 0800 555111 or sending a message online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org. Another website aimed at empowering young people with an option to pass on information about crime with guaranteed anonymity is www.fearless.org.
Social media is like Marmite – some love it, and some loathe it. Generally, I like it but get really frustrated when people talk on Facebook about this or that problem, and presume that someone has told the police. We don’t monitor Facebook pages, so if you are a Facebookie and you see chatter about things that should have, but may not have been reported to us, then please be proactive in encouraging this. Many of the local officers have Twitter accounts and if you tweet, you may want to check out @sgtsamdobbs, @pcsopaulharris, @pcsokirsten, @pcsosangster, @pcsocarlbarton, @hutch472 or @northantspolice for more local information updates.
So often, we don’t get to hear of things happening in our community because people presume someone else told the police. I urge you to keep us in the loop – it is true we are busy, but not too busy. And don’t forget, if you are unsure of contacting us, get in touch with a parish councillor – they are rarely afraid to voice local issues, and we are happy to listen to them.
(Northamptonshire CALC’s newsletter)