Police ask West Lancashire to “web-chat”

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THE constabulary is set to host two online web-chats for West Lancashire residents allowing them to discuss policing issues.

The first web-chat will take place on Tuesday 24th July for residents living in Ormskirk, Burscough and surrounding villages. The second chat will be for people living in Skelmersdale and will take place on Thursday 26th July. Both will start at 3pm.

The web-chats will be hosted by West Lancashire Inspector, Andy Willis, and Andrew Hill, Community Safety Manager for the district council.

See the Ormskirk web-chat below

Good afternoon and welcome to our Webchat for residents of Ormskirk, Burscough and Tarleton. Joining me today are Sgt Peter Reil, PC Ivan Leivers, PCSO Jill Reid, PCSO Andy Curry and PCSO Cathy Porter from the Neighbourhood Policing Team at Ormskirk and Andrew Hill from West Lancs District Council.

We are here to answer your questions about policing in your area and the format of this chat is fairly straightforward, as you post questions we will try answer each in turn, as a result if we have a flurry of questions it may take a few minutes to work through all of them so be please be patient with us.

Tuesday July 24, 2012 3:00 
IL. We are currently looking with West Lancs council at the speed limits on rural roads and whether we need to reassess them and reduce them, do you have a view on this ? If so come and ask us about it.
Tuesday July 24, 2012 3:11 
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 

I have heard that police station in Burscough is going to close is this right ?

Tuesday July 24, 2012 3:22 Guest
AW. In respect of the closure of police stations in West Lancs I will say that we are not looking to reduce our presence in any one area. As an example we have already made it clear that the current Burscough police station will close, it has not been used as a police station for some years and the building is simply too large and too expensive to maintain for the use we get out of it. As a result we are looking at a number of options to replace it but there is a clear expectation that the new building will deliver exactly what we are getting from the current one in terms of a base for local officers.
Tuesday July 24, 2012 3:23 
Speed enforcement is only one of a number of activities that the police carry out and requests from communities to enforce traffic legislation has to be balanced against the need to tackle anti social behaviour, prevent crime and investigate those matters reported to us. We try to use enforcement as part of a range of measures to deal with complaints as I am mindful that when my officers pack up for the day then the problem might simply reoccur. This includes education through speaking to motorists and putting key messages out to the media, looking at the street furniture and traffic calming measures and asking simple questions like is the speed limit appropriate for that road ? I will always ask local officers to engage with local residents to try to come up with the right solution to any problem which may or may not be speed enforcement in every case. The best solutions are often those that resolve the issues without the need for enforcement.
Tuesday July 24, 2012 3:32 
[Comment From Christine HerbertChristine Herbert: ] 

Reducing speed on rural roads is an excellent idea. However, given comments by the acting Chief Constable, where do you plan to get the manpower to enforce the limits.

Tuesday July 24, 2012 3:32 Christine Herbert
AW. We also use schemes like the Community Roadwatch where volunteers from the local community work with Special Constables to enforce speed limits, as an example in the last month they have checked over 2000 motorists in Rufford, Upholland and Ormskirk dealing with 61 motorists for speeding offences.
Tuesday July 24, 2012 3:37 
[Comment From John HerbertJohn Herbert: ] 

There have been reports in the local press re installation of a number of extra CCTV cameras in and around Ormskirk, including one in Scarisbrick. This is to make residents feel safer. The purpose of CCTV in an urban environment is self evident but does not translate well to a rural setting. Would not rural parishes benefit more from investing in strategically placed automatic number plate recognition cameras to track vehicles crossing adjacent county borders in order to commit crime?

Tuesday July 24, 2012 3:43 John Herbert
AH. Thanks for your question John, the council are investing £250,000 in both upgrading the current CCTV provision in Ormskirk and also expanding the scheme to other areas that have previously had no coverage. Whilst we recognise that the cameras are not ANPR cameras we still feel that cameras placed at strategic locations in the Borough will still be of benefit to the community and can still assist in evidence gathering and obtaining intelligence about travelling criminals. The cameras we will be placing in rural areas will be of sufficient quality to be able to read things like number plates and will suppliment not replace the ANPR cameras the police operate.
Tuesday July 24, 2012 3:45 
If you want to keep up to date with news on local policing issues you can do this in a number of ways, one is via social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

Currently we have a Facebook page solely for Chorley and West Lancs but in the next few months we will be expanding this to have separate pages for Ormskirk and Skelmersdale. The idea is that your local officers will post on that Facebook page what they have been up to that day or week and what is going on in your area in the coming days.

You can also register to receive news alerts from us via text or email at the force website www.lancashire.police.uk/about-us which in the next couple of months we will be expanding to allow you to receive messages about specific subjects such as Rural Crime that may be of interest to you.

Tuesday July 24, 2012 3:47 
[Comment From John HerbertJohn Herbert: ] 

Thanks Andrew. My limited knowledge of the technology is that CCTV requires a person to look at the images and any response would be after the horse has bolted. ANPR involves suspect number plates being flagged automatically and immediately giving much better chance of nipping criminality in the bud. CCTV is undoubtedly useful as security for businesses etc in towns and also for the control of anti social behaviour. The latter is not such an issue outside of towns, the fear of cross border criminality is more of an issue.

Tuesday July 24, 2012 3:59 John Herbert
AW. John, as Andrew said the CCTV cameras are not designed to replace the ANPR cameras that we have across the area but to suppliment them, the CCTV cameras are monitored 24hrs a day and if an incident or an ANPR ‘hit’ is flagged up to them they will be able to instantly review the footage given they are in a dedicated monitoring suite with access to the police radio network.

Inspector Andy Willis said: “Lancashire Constabulary holds plenty of engagement events across the county, but we know people don’t always have the time or resources to come along and meet face-to-face.

“That’s why we are hosting these web-chats where you can talk to us totally anonymously. I would urge as many as possible to login, and we will able to answer questions about the most prominent policing issues facing West Lancashire. ”

For more information about the web chat, e-mail [email protected]

Do you have a story to tell? Please text or phone 07930717137 or email [email protected]

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