A major operation to crack down on burglaries in some of our worst Doncaster hotspots has got off to a busy start, writes Insp Lynne Lancaster
Operation Shield, funded by the Community Safety Partnerships and the Police and Crime Commissioner, is a highly targeted initiative which focuses on the areas most affected by break-ins. In Doncaster Central, that means looking closely at Balby and Hexthorpe, where we are marking residents’ possessions with smartwater, and putting a larger presence on the ground.
We’re aiming to do 3,500 houses.
We have also seen extra patrols in the area, and CID teams have been out too, carrying out warrants and speaking to people in the area who are known to us about what we are doing.
On the first day, we saw three arrests as a result of what we are doing in the area.
One of these was for house burglary. Another was the arrest of a man who we stopped in his vehicle, who was was arrested for possession of drugs. The third was the arrest of a man who was wanted for other offences who we found as a result of our presence in the area.
We viewed this as a successful first day.
As part of operation shield, we have now put an ultra-violet torch in every police car. Smartwater glows under UV light, and every batch has a unique chemical make-up which allows us to identify property that has been marked. We can then check the address it has come from.
Everyone who we search, we will scan for signs of smartwater.
We marked property in 12 houses on day one. It is a long term plan., and I think we will get faster as we get used to doing it. On the first day, we had an expert from the manufacturer to advise us on the best way to mark the property.
Some people have a lot of property to mark, and if they have tools in their shed, then we will mark all their tools as well. It means some houses take longer than others.
Every address gets a sticker to show that the property has been marked.
When we have marked the property, we take the smartwater kit away. We will return with it if the householder wants us to come back to mark more items in the future, but the reason we are not leaving the pens is to make sure that the smartwater used for marking property in that house does not get used to mark property at another. That will be important in terms of evidence in the future.
Signs will be going up on the streets that have been smartwatered too, to deter burglars from breaking in.
We are also visiting the second hand shops in Doncaster this week to tell them about what we are doing. We are giving them their own UV torch. We are asking them to display a poster and scan property that comes in. If an item is marked, they can call us and quickly confirm the address from which the items is linked, and we will know if there has been a burglary there.
A re-organisation of the policing districts in Doncaster means that Bawtry, Tickhill and Rossinton are now part of the Doncaster Central area, and I attended my first neighbourhood meeting in Bawtry this week.
There is a new sergeant who will be based at Rossington Police Station, with half of the town centre PCs. Officers from the Police Tutor Unit will be patrolling the town centre, so that we will still have the same number of officers patrolling the town centre.
There were about 30 people who turned out at Bawtry Library to tell me the issues that they have in the town at the first meeting
One of the main issues in Bawtry is speeding, so we are inviting members of the public to do a speedwatch with us. It will involve a speed gun, and we will contact the registered keepers of vehicles found to have been speeding to warn them they have been observed speeding.
From there, we may look at further speeding operations with our traffic officers.