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Commissioner's newsletter

December 2018

Well I can't believe we've got around to this time of year again - I hope everyone has been enjoying the festive period so far.

Every year I think we're going to wind down for Christmas and every year I'm proven wrong!

Some of you may have seen that we've had a big push on road safety in recent weeks - last month we celebrated Road Safety Week with events in Exeter and Kingsbridge. This month it's all about drink driving.

We know that people are more likely to get behind the wheel having a had a drink in the festive period than any other time of year, putting themselves and others at risk.

All our officers are trained to spot the signs of drink driving and are equipped with breathalisers - if you're caught it could easily be a night in the cells. Is it worth taking the risk?

I've also been lobbying Government for more funding from speeding fines to come back for local enforcement and road safety initiatives

At the moment all money generated by fixed penalty fines and other motoring offences goes to HM Treasury – not to the police, councils or highways authorities whose job it is to keep our roads safe. I don’t think this is fair.

Also, the level of fixed penalty notice fines for some offences is out of kilter with the harm caused. The penalty for those caught using a handheld mobile phone while driving doubled to a £200 fine and six points last year to reflect the severity of the crime and public concern, and the maximum fine for those admitting littering from a car rose to £150, yet the fixed penalty charge for speeding remains at £100 and three points.

As Police and Crime Commissioner, I am calling for the fixed penalty fines for some traffic offences to be increased to act as a greater deterrent and, importantly, that this additional revenue is passed directly into local road safety measures with a priority given to enforcement.

But I want to hear what you think. I'd be grateful if you could take time to answer a few questions to let me know your views (this should only take about a minute).

You can take the short survey here.

I also want to take this moment to mention those who will be working over the festive period to keep our communities safe. From our police officers, staff and call handlers to nurses, paramedics, firefighters and many more thank you for your continued dedication.

All that's left for me to do is wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy new year

Alison Hernandez

New funding will help Devon and Cornwall Police use cyclists' headcam footage

The Government has announced a cash boost to assist the police in managing helmet/dashcam footage submitted by cyclists, motorists and horse riders to clamp down on dangerous drivers.

The scheme, known as Operation Snap, originated in Wales and has been introduced in several police force areas.

It is proven to be a productive and cost effective way to address some of the poor driving behaviours displayed by dangerous motorists.

Recently Alison met Road Safety Minister Jesse Norman to discuss the project and was pleased to see it given support and funding from central Government.

“The wider roll out of Op Snap will enable the police to increase enforcement, remove dangerous motorists from the road and protect vulnerable road users including cyclists and horse riders.” she said.

More information is available on our website.

Latest News

New rural affairs officers for Devon and Cornwall

Two new rural affairs police constables have been announced for communities in Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly on UK Rural Crime Day (8 November).

PC Martin Beck in Devon and PC Chris Collins in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly will improve how the force deals with rural crime.

They will work in partnership to deliver effective problem solving and support neighbourhood officers and other staff.

Their key areas of focus will be: theft of farm machinery and vehicles, livestock offences, fuel theft, equine offence, poaching (working together with wildlife crime officers), fly tipping (as members of the national action group).

Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez said: “Rural crime can have a huge impact on our communities and local economy. Not only do these relatively small and often family-run businesses employ a huge number of people in the region but they also look after the countryside.

Find out more >

Celebrating dedicated volunteers

Two volunteers from Cornwall have received a Commissioner’s Award for their outstanding contribution to ensuring the welfare of detainees in their communities.

Julie Dowton from Launceston and Maria Hassell from Saltash, who both volunteer as independent custody visitors, have been presented with an award by the Police and Crime Commissioner on International Volunteers Day (5 December).

Independent custody visitors are volunteers from the local community who visit police custody centres unannounced to check on the treatment of detainees, the conditions in which they are held and ensure their rights and entitlements are being observed. They check all parts of the custody centre, ensuring that all materials, including food and medical supplies are in date, kept clean and stored correctly.

The scheme is run by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and provides transparency and reassurance to the public about the treatment of detainees whilst held in custody.

The awards were presented at a volunteer’s day celebration in St Melion where OPCC volunteers, including custody visitors, police dog welfare volunteers and councillor advocates, were invited to celebrate their contribution to communities and meet the Commissioner.

Read more >

Tragic loss of life on Devon and Cornwall Roads highlighted during BRAKE Road Safety Week

There were 63 deaths in the Devon and Cornwall Police force area in 2017 – of which 15 were motorcyclists. There were 12 more than in 2016 when 51 people were killed. In 2015 there were 36 road deaths.

In response to these figures the Office for the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) for Devon and Cornwall has released a Road Safety Strategy which recommends a ‘safe systems’ approach, greater enforcement of the law and improved driver training with the aspiration of creating the safest roads in the UK.

This year the OPCC has helped set up a ‘No Excuse’ roads policing team, funded tri-service officers for Cornwall, established community responders for Devon and bucked a national decline in police officer numbers by recruiting more constables.

The OPCC is also supporting the Honest Truth charity, which engages young people and wars them frankly about the dangers they face.

See more about the No Excuse Team in the mini-series on our YouTube channel.

Full story >

See more news from the OPCC

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Credits:

Created with images by Charisse Kenion - "untitled image"

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