As the Inspector responsible for policing in the Derbyshire Dales I feel I must respond to Mr Wardle’s ill-judged comments contained within his letter “Have officers nothing to do” published in your March 22 edition, which suggested that officers were stood on Station Road at Darley Dale randomly stopping vehicles.
Mr Wardle rightly points out that Derbyshire Constabulary, in common with many other statutory organisations, is trying to manage massive budget cuts and I would agree that it is absolutely vital that we manage our finite resources in order to reduce crime, attack criminality, provide reassurance, protect the vulnerable and provide value for money in keeping with the Force’s stated commitment of purpose.
Indeed reducing crime has always been one of my top priorities and I am very proud to report that South Section (Derbyshire Dales) has reduced overall reported crime again by a fantastic ten per cent compared against last year’s figures and this is even more significant when considered that it is on the back of eight years of consecutive crime reductions.
This doesn’t happen by accident. This sort of result can only be achieved by intelligent and intelligence-led targeted policing undertaken by a supremely dedicated team of officers who always try their best despite reductions in staffing and resources to provide a high quality policing service to the community of the Derbyshire Dales.
Mr Wardle also points out that the police are employed by the state to serve the public, which is a principle again that I strongly agree with. While the areas of policing I have referred to above must demand our top priority, we also have key objectives amongst a number of others to keep our roads safe and to reduce the numbers of killed and seriously injured road traffic collisions.
In order to achieve this, we listen to the concerns of the public that often raise complaints about speeding and various road traffic related matters across the whole of the Derbyshire Dales and quite rightly expect an effective response. In fact, in relation to Station Road at Darley Dale, which is raised as an example in Mr Wardle’s letter, concerns had been raised by Darley Dale Town Council about speeding traffic and, as a result, my officers had conducted speed checks which confirmed that speed was a problem which needed to be addressed at this particular location.
Following this assessment it was arranged for our Force “Safedrive” team, together with H.M Customs and Excise, DVLA and VOSA to carry out checks and stop any vehicles caught speeding, not wearing seat belts, using mobile phones whilst driving, constructions and use offences, excise offences and of course any vehicles used or suspected of being used in crime as the team is equipped with Automatic number plate recognition equipment (ANPR) which searches for stolen vehicles and vehicles and persons suspected of being engaged in criminal activity.
You will note that I have mentioned H M Customs and these officers dip tanks to check for red diesel and can also identify any dyed diesel used by local businesses to prevent diesel theft which is a growing area of crime.
So this was an effective multi -faceted operation aimed not just at making our roads safer but also to reduce and detect crime which always has to be one of our prime objectives and to suggest that my officers have not got real work to do is seriously mistaken.
Inspector Bryan Hall
Matlock Police Station