This ‘project’ all started when I volunteered / was volunteered to be a representative of Bannerbrook Residents Association at the Police / Community monthly meeting in November 2016 at the Canley Police Station. It was made very clear to me that the level of Police officers in my local 4 ‘wards’ ( a group of estates) were to be very heavily scaled down, due partly to the lack of ‘Reported Crime’ in these wards. This information is generally compiled through the 999 emergency and newer 101 phone system, that is in place for non-emergency phone–calls. Even the senior officer chairing that meeting was retiring! (There is a big clue here to police response. Don’t just moan on Facebook about it, make sure you RING IT IN TO THE POLICE CONTACT LINE FIRST).
- Phone 999 for emergencies / criminal acts.
- Phone 101 for anti-social / other matters.
I have heard and voiced concerns that the 101 system may not be sufficiently manned and reporting an incident such as ‘anti-social behaviour’, for example, may entail being ‘on– hold’ for a period of up to perhaps 40 to 50 minutes before it is answered during busy periods! This matter needs seriously addressing, as it appears that an extended delay leads to a reduction in ‘reported crime’ , through ‘dropped calls’ (frustration leading to hanging up of the call from the complainant), therefore producing a reduction of actual ‘logged incidents’ and the matter not being properly recorded and addressed by the authorities. If you need to ring 101, and I stress, to please do so, then be prepared to wait for an answer, so your local officer receives a relevant log report on their next shift. If you are complacent reporting it, then the offence becomes ignored and will flourish.
At our last meeting with our local officer ( 10/03/2017) , we were advised that the 101 unit was recruiting more staff. We shall hope to see a far more efficient service in future. We are watching.
I returned to the Residents Association to report on this and made it clear to my attending neighbours that the days of 100% reliance of a Police response to incidents such as car or household crime may not even be responded to with a physical visit from an officer. I felt like just blurting out “we’re on our own now” but I’m not as blunt as I used to be so said “It appears we are pretty much on our own and best look to ourselves to police our estate”.
We were in a situation where a small group of residents (30+) had set up an estate chat group on the (Facebook affiliated) Messenger platform, an instant messaging network (similar to the WhatsApp platform I had been using regularly myself). As we were near a resolve with the issue, the group conversation had slowed dramatically and only intensified when an ‘event’ happened on the estate. The events were forming a disturbing pattern of anti-social and criminal events, so I proposed to the group that it’s primary purpose now be to alert us of ‘security issues’. We all agreed this was a good idea, so from this our network was born. As simple change of title to ‘Banner Watch’ was all that was needed, and we were in business!
BannerWatch has been working very well over the last few years so much so that we have now decided to spin it off to its own site and hence what you are reading and will read on this website.