Attending the scene of a crime once it has happened is, naturally, a large part of the work police do.
But helping prevent crime and working with communities to equip them with tips and – in some cases, products – to help them avoid becoming a victim of crime is the work of the Crime Reduction Team.
Made up of two police staff members – Georgina Greensmith and Alan Cook – their work is created in two ways. They are contacted by community groups to give talks (like WI, Cubs) about staying safe both in the home and when out and about – and this is picking up now Covid-19 restriction seem to be a thing of the past.
And they also take referrals from other officers in force who have come in to contact with victims of crime, who, have maybe been repeat victims of things like burglary or domestic abuse.
Visits to these victims are arranged in advance and only with their consent to have a visitor.
Georgina said: “No one is visited by us unless they have said yes – and many victims of crime do.
“We’re here to make people feel safer, whether that is in their homes or whether it’s giving advice about staying safe when out or offering a personal attack alarm.
“Sometimes it’s just making people aware of what would-be criminals will be looking for and about making it hard for those opportunistic thieves to carry out their crimes.”
Georgina starting working in the team just over two years ago, partnering up with Alan Cook, who’s worked in force for the last 35 years, and as a Crime Reduction Officer for the last 14 years.
The two of them are also involved in helping make outdoor spaces safer.
“We do environmental visual audits – patch walks in parks and outdoor spaces, and around new buildings. We look at what could be made safer whether that’s trees that need to be cut back or more lighting is needed,” Georgina continued.
“We work with the local councils for things like this and it’s a way of making sure things are as safe as they can be.”
The Crime Reduction Team is part of the Local Policing Directorate, working closely with the other teams – the rural policing team and the nine Neighbourhood Policing Areas covering the two counties.
“The needs of crime reduction advice in the city is vastly different to the more rural communities so we work with officers in the different teams to tailor our advice to the different areas; as you’d expect, the needs of people living in Rutland and different to those living in East Leicester. The policing footprint reflects this, and many of the crimes are different too.”