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Creating change with collaboration and hotspot policing 

Earlier this month I announced my vision to improve safety in Torquay town centre and make changes to help inspire pride in the town. 

Creating change with collaboration and hotspot policing 

The Commissioner in Torquay with patrol officers

Street Focus Torquay is still in its early stages, but it’s promising to see the immediate impact of police patrols in the town centre. These patrols are part of the £1 million hotspot funding I secured to crack down on antisocial behaviour (ASB) and serious violence across Devon and Cornwall.  

Castle Circus is one of the hotspots identified by crime data and intensified patrol efforts are now being delivered here. In May alone, Torquay saw 136 hours of additional police patrols. Too often police are taken away from the job they signed up for, but these dedicated foot patrols enable them to be on the streets where the public want them. 

I know that ASB is a top concern for residents and the patrols enable proactive policing. Police officers and public community support officers attended 20 incidents of ASB in the first month of the project. There was also one arrest and seven enforcements of Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) which give discretionary powers to crack down on behaviours that have a negative effect on people’s quality of life.   

I am pleased to see a new PSPO has been introduced by Torbay Council in the town centre. It’s important to give police and other authorised officers the power to tackle ASB and street drinking so we can create long-term change.  

Since the PSPO has been implemented, compliance has been requested from 46 individuals in relation to alcohol use with further enforcement occurring in three cases. Behaviour related issues have also resulted in five requests to disperse individuals from the town centre. PSPOs are a useful tool so that everyone can feel safe and enjoy being in the town centre. 

Members of the public have responded well to the hotspot patrols not just in Torquay but across the peninsula. The first month of the scheme has delivered over 800 hours of additional police patrols in Barnstaple, Exeter, Newquay, Plymouth, Torquay and Truro. I can see this targeted approach is working with police attending 130 incidents of ASB and 103 cases of proactive policing, leading to 21 arrests.  

While it’s clear these high visibility patrols are disrupting crime, it’s important not to overlook the wider impact of officers spending time on foot in the communities. Engagement is a key aspect with just under 3,000 individuals spoken to during these patrols so far. It’s fantastic to hear that the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive with individuals and businesses alike expressing their appreciation for the increased police presence. The patrols also facilitate engagement with street-attached homeless people, signposting them to essential support services.  

In partnership with councils, uniformed community patrols will commence in the coming weeks. I am pleased to support this by matching the funding for these street wardens and marshals so that we can maximise the number of patrols. Collaborating with other agencies is vital to drive real change and enable further community engagement.   

My team has been listening to the issues faced by Torquay residents for the past few weeks. You are welcome to voice your concerns or find out more about Street Focus Torquay every Thursday from 10am to 2pm. Our public engagement van will be parked in the town centre and please check our social media to find out where we’ll be each week. 

We are planning to conduct visits to local business owners in the town centre with Torquay’s neighbourhood policing team to raise awareness of this project and encourage sign ups to the Store Net Scheme. 

I will also be in Torquay town centre for my third walkabout session on Saturday 6th July (10am to 1.30pm) to visit local business owners.  

For updates about the project, please visit www.street-focus.co.uk

I am committed to ensuring that our communities feel safer and more connected. Hotspot policing and collaboration with our partners is making a difference but we’re far from done. Let's continue working together to make Torquay and the entire Devon and Cornwall area a place where everyone can thrive.