South Cambridge Policing Priorities

At the South Cambridge Area meeting this week (7th November), police agreed two new priorities:

  • attending the Morley and Queen Edith’s Primary Schools and Homerton Children’s Centre to crack down on illegal or dangerous driving and parking
  • cycle theft in Trumpington, as there has been a big increase in the last few months, mainly in Hills Road

They will continue with these objectives from the last quarter, slightly adapted to take account of offenders moving from one area to another:

  • moped misuse in Queen Edith’s and Cherry Hinton
  • anti-social behaviour and drug misuse in Cherry Hinton

Thanks to Mrs Ann Winter from Queen Edith’s, who addressed the meeting about the problems experienced with bad driving and parking in Godwin Way (the road where Queen Edith’s Primary School is). The petition for yellow lines on the Godwin Way/ Close corner now has nearly 50 signatures: do sign it if you haven’t already. Thanks to Layla Vandenbergh, who has put it on line on the County Council’s website: I have paper copies to sign if anyone would like one.

Police Priorities for South Cambridge

The next South Area meeting on 7th November will include a discussion on police priorities. The meeting’s at the Cherry Hinton Village Centre and open to everyone. It starts at 7.30 and we anticipate the policing discussion will begin by 8 p.m. You can view an agenda  for this meeting on the City Council website, as well as the police crime statistics and reports on the last few months.

The police come to the South Area meetings once every two months to put forward priorities for the next period and hear views from the public, including suggestions for new priorities.At the last meeting, we asked them to prioritise mini-moto anti-social behaviour, and it will be interesting to see what the police have to say about that.

One priority I intend to suggest is driving behaviour near schools. I regularly receive complaints about motorists parking on corners, on yellow zigzags, or blocking the road outside schools – creating a very hazardous environment for everyone, especially children.

If you are concerned about a particular type of crime or nuisance, or have something you would like to propose as a priority, come along to the meeting if you can. It starts at 7.30 p.m. and the police priority setting is the first major item after public questions. If you can’t make it, please pass your idea to me or one of the other councillors for Queen Edith’s, Cherry Hinton or Trumpington and we can put it forward on your behalf, with your permission.

The meeting will also be discussing where to put new CAB advice hubs (see previous post). After that it will determine three planning applications:

11/0900/FUL Hills Road Sixth Form College Sports Ground, Sedley Taylor Road (a new pavilion)

11/0873/FUL 12a Drayton Close (annexe to existing residence

11/0202/FUL 31 Beaumont Road (change of use from private dwelling house in multiple occupation)

Car crime spree in Queen Edith’s

police car

E-Cops report that there have been thefts from vehicles in Queen Edith’s recently.

Cars in Topcliffe Way, Beaumont Crescent and Hills Road have been broken into. The police comment: ‘Items taken in some of these crimes include property that has been left on show inside the vehicle. Please make sure you do not make your vehicle a target, by removing property from within when you leave it and always lock and secure it. These offenders are usually just opportunists who will spot something left inside the car and that will be enough for them to gain entry and steal that item in the process causing damage to your vehicle.’ It’s so easy to forget to remove or hide something.

Bikes have also been stollen in Hills Road and there was an attempt to break into a property on Queen Edith’s Way.

The police will be at the November South Area Committee (Cherry Hinton Village Centre) to report in more detail on what is happening locally and to propose their priorities for the coming season.

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20mph trial gets the thumb-up … but more support needed

Amanda and 20mph sign

There was a lively discussion on the Queen Edith’s 20mph trial at the Cambridge South Area meeting on Monday night. The meeting was held at the Cherry Hinton Village Centre for the first time, and was well attended, with many people there specially for either the 20mph item on the agenda or the policing session.

Mr Richard Preston from Cambridgeshire County Council Highways Dept was there to report and listen, and at my request, the police stayed on for the discussion.

Despite disappointing speed tests showing that drivers have not changed their behaviour much, here was general support for continuing with the lower 20mph limit, but there were also emphatic demands for two things that would make it work much better:

  • better signage (painted areas on the road or flashing signs)
  • police enforcement

There was a request for the lower limit to be extended to the whole of the estate, a change which councillors are happy to take on board. We limited it to Gunhild, Godwin and Wulfstan Ways initially, on the grounds that these roads had schools – but the point of a trial is that you can learn from it and make changes.

Mr James Woodburn of the Cambridge Cycling Campaign presented some very useful evidence, explaining how Portsmouth had brought in 20mph speed limits across 94% of the overall road length. They had taken a much more holistic approach, getting police buy-in from the beginning, making signage really prominent and giving much more information about the trial before it began. The result had been very good adherence to the lower speeds.

We asked Inspector Kerridge what enforcement there had been and what the police could offer us for the future. He didn’t give us a direct answer about what enforcement there had been (I suspect none) but explained the police had needed to do some research first about the viability of enforcing a 20mph limit. But he did say: ‘Can we enforce 20? Yes we can!’ and explained the approach he would like to take (talking to people and advising them if they were driving at over 20mph, following that up with a letter, before actually ticketing), while making it clear that the police would not enforce every 20mph limit without local requests to do so in areas where infringement was a particular problem. So: halfway there.

Mr Preston from the County Council told us more signage would cost about £500 (the cost of a painting gang) and that interactive signs could cost up to £5,000. The County had initially been trying not to clutter the area up with too many signs and taken a low-key approach – but in v iew of our comments would look favourably on local requests for more signs … if funding could be found. That may mean we have to fund them from Area Committee funds.

Mr Preston will report back on what we said on Monday to a joint county/city transport committee, and it is expected that the lower limit will remain. We evidently have more work to do on securing the better signage and police enforcement, but Monday’s meeting was a constructive sharing of what’s needed to improve the scheme. Thanks to all those who came along to speak, especially Claire from Godwin Way and Jim and James the Cycling Campaign, and to everyone who sent in surveys, or made comments on the Queen Edith’s  Facebook page.

Oh … our trial appear to have made the news!

BBC News

BBC News (Cambridgeshire)

Police to crack down on mini-moto misuse

On Monday at the South Area Committee meeting in Cherry Hinton, police agreed to adopt a new priority in the south of the city –mini-mot0 misuse. This is in top of an existing priority to address anti-social behaviour in Cherry Hinton.

The south sector neighbourhood police attend the Cambridge South Area meetings three times a year to present reports on their activities over the past season, highlight any trends, and to agree priorities for the coming season with councillors and the public. Anyone can come to these meetings and raise concerns. Monday’s meeting was held at the Cherry Hinton Village Centre for the first time, and there was a good attendance, with many clearly there specially for the policing item of the agenda.

The police start by presenting statistics, to inform the priorities. Mr Richard Taylor, a regular attender of council meetings and a campaigner for greater openness and accountability from public services, asked a number of questions about the stats, particularly about how they were broken down and why only certain types of crimes were included. He also asked about police surgeries and made some suggestions about how the police could tell people about these meetings in their own publicity. You can read Richard’s own account of this part of the meeting at his blog.

Various concerns were raised, including drink and drug abuse and I brought up under-age drink sales as I have had complaints recently. But it was bikes and mini-motos that were the burning issue. Councillor after councillor spoke of people riding on the pavement when they shouldn’t, and youths riding mini-motos recklessly in residential areas, terrorising innocent pedestrians.

The police were asked why, if they can run a campaign against cycling without lights, they can’t address other bike-related misdemeanours that harm other people, such as riding on the pavements.

Granted, as one of my fellow Cambridge Cycling Campaign members pointed out, most cyclists are law-abiding and some pavements are designated dual use – but the cyclists who break the rules give the good ones a bad name.

So I’m pleased to report that the police agreed to add a new priority: to concentrate on mini-motos and cycling misuse in Queen Edith’s and Cherry Hinton. If you notice any, please don’t hesitate to report it to them – telephone 03454564564.

A useful tip from Cllr Russ Macpherson, who knows about these things: Don’t worry if you don’t know the exact make of motorbike, as few people do. But make a note of the colour of the bike, as the colours are closely linked to the makes of bike. Clothing can also be quite distinctive, so try to give a good description of what the rider’s wearing.

20mph speed limits

County Council Highways officers are coming to the next South Cambridge Area meeting on 11th July to hear what we think of the 20mph speed limit trial in the Wulfstan Way area. Officers would like to make it permanent. The scheme has been running for just over a year and covers Wulfstan Way, Gunhild Way and Godwin Way, and the three cul-de-sacs in that area.

The Wulfstan Way area was chosen because it has a lot of of pedestrians and cyclists, and several community facilities – churches, schools, doctors’ surgeries and shops.

The police will be at the meeting too, so there will be a good opportunity to evaluate the trial – and to ask for more support from them in terms of enforcement. I have also had suggestions that the lower speed limit should be more clearly signed, a very valid point. Clearly those two things need to work together.

The meeting takes place on Monday 11th July at the Cherry Hinton Village Centre, starting at 7.30 p.m. Or if you cannot attend, please comment here or on the Queen Edith’s Facebook page.

I would also welcome views on other streets which would benefit from 20mph zones, as the Government has just relaxed the rules, meaning local people can get 20mph speed limits put in with much less bureaucracy and at lower cost.

Police priorities for Queen Edith’s, Trumpington and Cherry Hinton

Cambridgeshire Constabulary

Next Thursday’s South Area meeting will be discussing some important issues, including how the police spend their time.  The meeting’s at Homerton College and open to everyone. It starts at 7.30 and we anticipate the policing discussion will begin by 8 p.m. You can view an agenda on the City Council website.

The police come to the South Area meetings once every two months to put forward priorities for the next period and hear views from the public, including suggestions for new priorities. They are proposing to continue with their patrols in  Cherry Hinton High Street in response to complaints about anti-social behaviour. The police have in the past two months been able to move on troublemakers and address other breaches of the law. Although incidents have gone down, the police want to carry on with the patrols as they anticipate more anti-social behaviour as the weather improves. If you have suggestions for areas that need police action, come along and tell the police or, if you can’t get to the meeting, please let us know your views.

The meeting will also be discussing an extension to the cumulative impact zones at Cambridge Leisure and Hills Road and grants. After that it will determine three planning applications.