Patrol is a red light to crime in Bracknell
Published: 27 Sep 2013 16:300 comments
Operation Ladybird, run by Thames Valley Police, focuses on local law breakers and key locations – areas which have seen a spike in crime, or a high number of collisions, are visited to demonstrate a strong police presence.
PC Oliver Neale, of Bracknell CID, said: “When we first started doing it (Operation Ladybird) we ran it for two weeks; we now run it four times a year.
“We used to advertise it but we found the people we were trying to engage with went to ground, so we reverted to not advertising.”
PC Neale praised the operation, saying: “It has made our lives easier when we are dealing with suspects because they know us, it’s a familiar face.”
While I was on patrol with officers, visiting areas where vehicle theft had recently occurred, a call came in regarding a suspected break-in at The Berkshire Golf Club, in Swinley Road, Ascot, where an alarm had been set off. Due to a recent spate of burglaries at golf clubs, we immediately rushed to the scene.
It transpired the alarm came from a nearby property, which the officers investigated, finding no intruders but an empty house.
While investigating the property, where the entrance gates were wide open, officers were careful to avoid falling into a deep pool in the back garden.
In the early hours of Saturday morning, a vehicle driving directly in front of the police car ran a red light. To the officers’ surprise, and as if running the red was not bad enough, the driver then stopped at a green light.
This erratic behaviour prompted officers to pull over the vehicle and have a chat with the driver. The young man driving blamed his errors on a lack of sleep, and playing too much Grand Theft Auto. The officers were not impressed, but gave him a caution after driving under the influence was ruled out.
New road-side equipment, as well as increased police presence, has been invaluable in tackling offences on the road, PC Ryan Seager explained.
There are fixed cameras at a number of locations across the borough but, over time, criminals learn where these are and know to avoid them. New portable ANPR cameras can be deployed anywhere officers see fit, taking people by surprise.
The technology scans licence plates of passing cars, and checks it against a database, which immediately flags up whether a car has an out of date tax disc, is stolen or wanted in connection with an incident.