Estate ‘won’t see cut in numbers of police’

thisisoxfordshire: Chief Inspector Cecilia Agger Chief Inspector Cecilia Agger

A TOP police officer has pledged she will not take officers off the streets of Oxford’s Blackbird Leys estate, despite changes to the city’s policing arrangements.

Chief Inspector Cecilia Agger from Thames Valley Police visited Blackbird Leys Parish Council this week to talk about the estate.

She fielded questions from councillors and sought to assure them that although neighbourhood policing would soon change, no frontline officers would be lost.

Councillors had previously raised concerns the estate would “return to the days of joyriding” if any major changes were made.

But she said: “I want to assure you we will not take officers off the streets. We will not be reducing the numbers.”

Ms Agger confirmed that the city’s 22 neighbourhood teams would merge to form seven larger units to provide more round-the-clock cover.

The Blackbird Leys Neighbourhood Team will now serve Littlemore and Rose Hill as part of the Oxford South East area.

She added: “What that means is that we are changing the shift patterns so there will now be officers on seven-days-a-week, earlier and later.

“Before the Blackbird Leys team may have been unable to work on, say, a Tuesday morning, but now there will always be someone in the area.

“We will still have separate teams and the number will not be reduced. There will be more officers covering larger areas.”

The Chief Inspector was also quizzed about burglaries, vulnerable people and gangs.

She said: “In answer to the question of whether there are gangs in Blackbird Leys, yes there are.

“We are aware of gangs in the Oxford area and some of those have geographical connections to Blackbird Leys.”

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Ms Agger said the force had profiled gangs and their members in the city, hierarchies within the gangs and how they operated.

She said: “These are groups which are organised and co-operate together for criminal activity, which may be drugs.

“But don’t think they are like the gangs you might see in American feature films.

“Now we have detected who they are we can work out how to target them.”

Ms Agger reassured councillors that burglaries in Blackbird Leys had dropped in recent years.

She also refused to comment on Operation Bullfinch , an investigation into an alleged child sex ring in Oxford, due to legal reasons.

“We have a number of pieces of work around the issue of vulnerability,” she added.

“We are making sure there are places for them to come and people they can talk to.”

Parish Council chairman Gordon Roper thanked the Chief Inspector – who years ago was the inspector for the Leys area – for coming to the estate.

He said: “We don’t often see people of such high ranks coming here.”

Comments (3)

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10:04am Sun 29 Jul 12

Myron Blatz says...

With the second largest Parish Council in Oxfordshire (behind Kidlington and ahead of Littlemore) it's good to see that higher-ranking Police for the area are prepared to interact with the communities which they are employed to work within - especially with regard to Oxford's larger social (previously known as council)housing estates such as Blackbird-with-Great
er Leys and Barton. Although the PCSOs have become established in communities, their role and function is different to the Police, and many still miss the role which the former Oxford (City Council) Street Wardens successfully achieved, working within communities such as Blackbird Leys - and especially the greatly missed Junior Street Wardens created to include and involve young children. Yes, City Council did replace Street Wardens with its 'Community Response Teams' across Oxford, but these have a different role and work in a different way. As for 'reported crime being down' in many areas such as Blackbird Leys, Littlemore and Rose Hill-with-Iffley Village, it's all about statistics - and doesn't include un-reported 'non-emergency' incidents (where people can often get fed-up with the 0800 and non-emergency call line 'dance') and the knowledge that when Police and PCSOs are not on shift, it can take ages for Police to respond to non-emergency issues - mainly because their manpower resources have continued to be streteched under the Coalition Government, and after more than a decade of neglect by the previous Labour administration. Nor is it right for the Police and local authorities such as Oxford City Council to fall-back upon the voluntary sector, such as local Neighbourhood Watches - where some of the more active members can themselves become targets of community crime and bricks through their windows! Surely, the problem remains as to how to police such large and growing communities as Blackbird Leys (12,000-plus) and the proposed increase in population of Barton, wihout increasing the number of PCSOs and Police on active duty?
With the second largest Parish Council in Oxfordshire (behind Kidlington and ahead of Littlemore) it's good to see that higher-ranking Police for the area are prepared to interact with the communities which they are employed to work within - especially with regard to Oxford's larger social (previously known as council)housing estates such as Blackbird-with-Great er Leys and Barton. Although the PCSOs have become established in communities, their role and function is different to the Police, and many still miss the role which the former Oxford (City Council) Street Wardens successfully achieved, working within communities such as Blackbird Leys - and especially the greatly missed Junior Street Wardens created to include and involve young children. Yes, City Council did replace Street Wardens with its 'Community Response Teams' across Oxford, but these have a different role and work in a different way. As for 'reported crime being down' in many areas such as Blackbird Leys, Littlemore and Rose Hill-with-Iffley Village, it's all about statistics - and doesn't include un-reported 'non-emergency' incidents (where people can often get fed-up with the 0800 and non-emergency call line 'dance') and the knowledge that when Police and PCSOs are not on shift, it can take ages for Police to respond to non-emergency issues - mainly because their manpower resources have continued to be streteched under the Coalition Government, and after more than a decade of neglect by the previous Labour administration. Nor is it right for the Police and local authorities such as Oxford City Council to fall-back upon the voluntary sector, such as local Neighbourhood Watches - where some of the more active members can themselves become targets of community crime and bricks through their windows! Surely, the problem remains as to how to police such large and growing communities as Blackbird Leys (12,000-plus) and the proposed increase in population of Barton, wihout increasing the number of PCSOs and Police on active duty? Myron Blatz
  • Score: 0

1:24pm Sun 29 Jul 12

xjohnx says...

Excellent, but please try to make your point before readers get bored.
Excellent, but please try to make your point before readers get bored. xjohnx
  • Score: 0

1:48pm Sun 29 Jul 12

Myron Blatz says...

Sorry XJohn, what was your point?
Sorry XJohn, what was your point? Myron Blatz
  • Score: 1

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