Devon & Cornwall Police | FoI Request 4896/16 – Begging

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Devon & Cornwall Police

Freedom of Information Act Request No: 4896/16

Begging and Vagrancy Act 1824 I understand that begging is defined as the solicitation of money and/or food, especially in the street. Since December 2003, begging has been made a recordable offence.

Q1. How many incidents of begging have been recorded in the period 01 August 2015 to 31 July 2016?
193.

The number of incidents recorded in Exeter were 52

Q2. How many of these incidents resulted in the person begging being asked to move on or receive a word of warning?
Of those incidents attended, 75 resulted in an individual being moved on or given words of advice.

Of the attended incidents in Exeter, 20 resulted in an individual being moved on or given words of advice

Q3. How many of these incidents resulted in the person begging being prosecuted under the Vagrancy Act 1824?
Of those incidents attended, one was crimed for the offence of “fail to comply with a section 35 direction excluding a person from an area” [ADDITIONAL NOTE: this was issued under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014].

The one incident that was crimed was in Torquay.

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E&E Letters | Inconsiderate pavement parking – Let’s make it ‘cross-party’

E&E

13 October 2016

Inconsiderate pavement parking – Let’s make it ‘cross-party’

I welcome the recent thoughts of Cllr Peter Holland on the issue of inconsiderate pavement parking [Anger over inconsiderate pavement parking in ExeterE&E, 10 October 2016] as they echo the same comments I’ve been making for the past five years.

Cllr Holland is correct that section 30 of the Exeter City Council Act 1987 did outlaw the practice of parking on footpaths [ie pavements] and verges, and this provision was enforced by traffic wardens under the direction of Devon & Cornwall Police.

exeter-act-1987-cover

section-30-of-exeter-city-council-act-1987

However, Cllr Holland is mistaken in saying “when the responsibility for enforcement of the law was transferred to Devon County Council the law went into ‘decay’.”

The truth is that when parking enforcement was decriminalised in May 2008, those powers transferred to Devon County Council and now Civil Enforcement Officers [CEOs] enforce using powers issued by the Secretary of State for Transport [The Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP] under regulations contained within the Traffic Management Act 2004.

And in the rush to transfer powers to DCC, the provisions of the Exeter Act 1987 were missed.

A new power was conveyed by Statutory Instrument 2012 No.12 issued by the Government under the TMA 2004. Within its Schedules, the Statutory Instrument details which restrictions can be enforced by DCC’s CEOs.

statutory-instrument-2012-no-12Civil enforcement of offences in section 30 of the Exeter City Council Act 1987
2. In Schedule 7 to the Traffic Management Act 2004 (road traffic contraventions subject to civilenforcement), in paragraph 4 (parking contraventions outside Greater London), after subparagraph
(2)(e) insert—
“(ea) an offence under section 30(1) of the Exeter City Council Act 1987 (c. xi)(prohibition of parking vehicles on verges, central reservations and footways).”(b)

However, the situation was complicated in that the Department for Transport informed DCC – as the Local Highways Authority – that it would require additional signage, at intervals of around 400m, to enforce the new legislation.

And, of course, there are some roads which would be blocked without pavement parking,

Indeed the P bus – which coincidently serves both my ward of St Thomas and that of Cllr Holland – would be unable to make its way down Barley Farm Road if all the vehicles parked on the road.

If the situation is complicated in Exeter, then it is even more complex nationally.

The only mention of pavement parking in the Highway Code is under Rule 244:
“You MUST NOT park partially or wholly on the pavement in London, and should not do so elsewhere unless signs permit it. Parking on the pavement can obstruct and seriously inconvenience pedestrians, people in wheelchairs or with visual impairments and people with prams or pushchairs.”

The direction MUST NOT is legally enforceable [under the Greater London Council (General Powers) Act 1974 section 15] but should not is an advisory direction, not an enforceable one.

There is little or nothing DCC’s Civil Enforcement Officers can do in this situation – unless the vehicle is causing damage to the pavement, when the driver *could* be prosecuted. In practice, this rarely happen, if at all.

Interestingly [as it pre-dates motorised vehicles], under section 72 of the Highways Act 1837 it is an offence to wilfully [but note, not park] “a carriage of any description upon the footpath.” But this can only be enforced by a warrant Police Officer, who needs to see the carriage actually driving on the footpath – even though to park on the pavement, the vehicle must have been driven onto it.

And it is also an offence under the Highways Act 1980 and also under s.28 of the Town and Police Clauses Act 1847 to “wilfully obstruct free passage along the highway or deposit anything which causes an interruption to, or obstruction of, the highway [including any public footpath or public thoroughfare].

In these cases, enforcement is the responsibility of warranted Police Officers and authorised PCSOs, rather than DCC’s CEOs.

At a meeting of the joint Exeter City Council and Devon CC’s joint Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee [HATOC] held on 28 July 2015 [see minute 119], County Officers expressed confidence that a Private Members’ Bill  being brought forward by Simon Hoare MP [CON, North Devon], which would resolve the whole issue of inconsiderate pavement parking.

exeter-hatoc-minute-119

I wasn’t convinced at the meeting that the Bill would proceed, and so it came to pass that on 08 December 2015, after a debate in the House of Commons, Simon Hoare withdrew his Pavement Parking (Protection of Vulnerable Pedestrians) Bill 2015-16 because he had been promised that “DfT would undertake some work to examine more closely the legal and financial implication of an alternative regime.”

So Cllr Holland’s own Government appears to kicked the issue into the long grass.

I note he hopes to raise the issue when the Minister, the Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, visits the city later this month.

Let me make this offer – we could make this a cross-party issue and I would be happy to meet the Minister along with him.

Paul Bull
Labour & Co-operative Councillor, St Thomas Ward

What do our local police teams know about part-night street lighting?

Last night local councillors had one of their quarterly liaison meetings with the Neighbourhood Policing Teams of Devon & Cornwall Police –  I asked for the issue of PNSL to be place on the agenda

Insp Tanya Youngs confirmed what we had heard in the monthly reported updates we’re receiving form our neighbourhoold policing teams – namely, that there us no reported increase. She also went on to say that in additon as far as she could see there was no policing issues connected with PNSL at the moment.

I went on to ask if the NPT knew the protocol for getting lights turned on in the event of an emergency/incident.

At first, someone around the table (cant remember who) suggested that they could be left off within a couple of days if the incident was a long-term one – that police office had done just that in outlying areas of Devon.

But all seemed to be unaware of the immediate switch-on facility that was used as a safety selling point at the initial members’ briefing in June 2013 and in subsequent discussions, conversations and correspondence.

I suppose that in normal circumstances this wouldn’t be surprising – its just the neighbourhood team’s Insp, Sgts and maybe PCs that attend this meeting.

But last night we were fortunate to be joined by senior officers of the Local Policing Area (LPA) – Ch Insp Matt Lawler (Ch Insp for Exeter, East and West Devon) and Supt Keith Perkin (Police lead for LPA)

Neither of these were aware of this facility being offered by DCC as part of the £1.7m computer-controlled Central Management System, either.

So Devon County Council, why are senior police officers not aware of the very safety features that helped convince me that PNSL could be a viable policy?

UPDATE:
Although Exeter is seeing no increase of crime, other counties are seeing significant increases.

As a result of a 62% increase in crime, Kent County Council is to return every residential area to all-night lighting by calling a halt to its policy of part-night street lighting and converting its enitre stock of 120,000 street lamps to LED at a cost of £40m.

Massive victory for Express readers as council decide to turn street lights back on [Dover Express, 02 February 2015]

Devon & Cornwall Police | FOI Request 6836/14

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Freedom of Information Act Request No: 6836/14

  1. Can you confirm if your force uses the thresholds as published in the “ACPO Speed Enforcement Policy Guidelines 2011 – 2015: Joining Forces for Safer Roads” version 3.0 document as a basis for policy influencing decisions on whether to prosecute motorists found speeding?  Section 9.6 has the relevant table and can be found here: http://www.acpo.police.uk/documents/uniformed/2013/201305-uoba-joining-forces-safer-roads.pdf

2) If this is part of force policy and procedures are they treated as guidelines or are there any checks to prevent prosecutions under the thresholds given, such as review by a designated decision maker or is it solely on the discretion of the officer in case?

3) Can you confirm how many prosecutions or fixed penalty notices were issued to drivers that were below the threshold of speed awareness courses in the ACPO guidance (for example between 31-34MPH in a 30MPH limit or 51-56MPH in a 50MPH limit zone) since 2011 broken down by calendar year.

4) In addition to point 3, can you also include how many speed awareness courses were completed for speeds detected below the ACPO guidance for speed awareness courses, broken down by calendar year since 2011.

The Safety Camera Partnership and Central Ticket Unit have provided the following information:

1) Can you confirm if your force uses the thresholds as published in the “ACPO Speed Enforcement Policy Guidelines 2011 – 2015: Joining Forces for Safer Roads” version 3.0 document as a basis for policy influencing decisions on whether to prosecute motorists found speeding?  Section 9.6 has the relevant table and can be found here: http://www.acpo.police.uk/documents/uniformed/2013/201305-uoba-joining-forces-safer-roads.pdf

Automated speed enforcement carried out by the Safety Camera Partnership complies with the current ACPO guidelines.  These guidelines do not replace a police officer’s discretion (paragraph 9.7 of the ACPO guidance) when dealing with a speeding offence.

 

2) If this is part of force policy and procedures are they treated as guidelines or are there any checks to prevent prosecutions under the thresholds given, such as review by a designated decision maker or is it solely on the discretion of the officer in case?

The current ACPO guidelines form part of the Devon & Cornwall police policy guidance on speed enforcement D116 – Speeding Offences – see link below:

http://www.devon-cornwall.police.uk/FOI/Doc/88750058-64b9-4a39-99fe-3b43537fa2d5/p?D116.pdf

Police officers engaging in speed enforcement can exercise discretion applying a test of proportionality, consistency and justification.

3) Can you confirm how many prosecutions or fixed penalty notices were issued to drivers that were below the threshold of speed awareness courses in the ACPO guidance (for example between 31-34MPH in a 30MPH limit or 51-56MPH in a 50MPH limit zone) since 2011 broken down by calendar year.

4) In addition to point 3, can you also include how many speed awareness courses were completed for speeds detected below the ACPO guidance for speed awareness courses, broken down by calendar year since 2011.

For the Safety Camera Partnership the answer to both Q3 and 4 is none

Devon and Cornwall Police do not issue fixed penalty notices (FPN’s), these were replaced by OSCO’s (officer seen conditional offers) on 01/04/2013.

The Central Ticket Unit have confirmed that OSCO’s are only held for 12 months

Devon & Cornwall Police | D116 – Speeding Offences

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Force Policy & Procedures          Speeding Offences

Reference Number                        D116

Policy Version Date                       05 November 2014

Review Date                                    04 November 2015

Policy Ownership                          Operations Department

Portfolio Holder                             Assistant Chief Constable [Operations Support]

1. Policy Statement [FOIA Open]

The Principles and Scope of the Policy
This policy acknowledges the Government’s Road Safety Strategy in establishing the issues which are continuing priorities for roads policing.

The National Strategic Assessment for Roads Policing underpins the principles of this policy. The strategic priorities are:

  • Reducing road casualties
  • Disrupting criminality
  • Countering terrorism
  • Patrolling the roads to enhance public confidence
  • Combating anti-social road use.

The ACPO Uniformed Operations Policing the Roads Strategy 2011-2015 provides guidance to the Police Service in respect of road safety priorities.

The Devon and Cornwall Police Policing the Roads Strategy 2013 – 2016 embraces these documents and should be read in conjunction with this policy.

Speed enforcement will be conducted in accordance with:

Speed enforcement will be carried out in accordance with working practice DF81 – Speed Enforcement.

The aim of the policy
Greater habitual compliance with existing speed limits has the potential to deliver the following benefits:
a) Reduced casualties, in terms of both numbers and severity.
b) Reduced demand upon the Health Service.
c) Reduced conflict between motor vehicles and other road users.
d) A calmer and freer flowing traffic environment.
e) Improved quality of life in local communities.

Effective speed enforcement will contribute to the following:
a) Police Service Overarching Aims and Objectives.
b) ‘Saving Lives: Our Healthier Nation‘ (White Paper 1999)
c) Local Transport Plans (Integrated Transport Policy)
d) The Human Rights Act 1998
e) Department for Transport Circular 01/2013 “Setting Local Speed Limits”
f) National Roads Policing Strategic Assessment 2014-2015
g) ACPO Uniform Operations ‘Policing the Roads Strategy 2011-2015’
h) Devon and Cornwall Police ‘Policing the Roads Strategy 2013-2016’

Police interactions with road users aims to have wider benefits and the emphasis on visible roads policing is an important factor in developing improved road safety.

The wider aims of improved road safety will deliver benefits of reducing serious collisions resulting in road closures. It is recognised that working closely with other agencies will improve clear up times to promptly restore the road network to optimum functionality given the vital economic role it plays.

2. Introduction [FOIA Open]

Origins/Background Information
The Devon and Cornwall Police is working together with the following traffic authorities to secure a road environment that will reduce the fear of harm to help create safer communities.
– Highways Agency
– Devon County Council
– Cornwall Council
– Council of the Isles of Scilly
– Plymouth and Torbay Unitary Councils

The focus intention is to engage with road users to fulfil a vision of a ‘safe and secure environment for all road users’. Greater emphasis is placed on enforcement based on professional discretion and judgement to increase potential enforcement interactions that result in education. The aim is to increase habitual levels of compliance with the laws and rules of the road by those who use them.

In the application of this policy staff are reminded of the need to comply with the standards and principles of the Code of Ethics for policing.

Motivators/Driving Forces
The key elements to the Police Service position (Joining Forces for Safer Roads) on speed limits are:
– Support for appropriate speed limits where they look and feel like the limit giving visiting motorists the opportunity to conform
– To have speeds at the limit chosen and achieve safe roads for all users and not high speeds with high levels of enforcement
– Self-enforcing (with reducing features) without large scale enforcement
– Achieve average speeds close to the limit imposed or with interventions that make the limit clear to visiting motorists
– Speeding problems identified in an area must have the engineering, site clarity and need re-assessed, not simply a call for more enforcement 
– Inappropriate to enforce against drivers who simply misread the road.

The principles of speed enforcement
The enforcement of traffic laws by the Police should be guided by the principles of:
Proportionality in applying the law and securing compliance
Relating enforcement action to the risks
Targeting of enforcement action
Ensuring enforcement action is directed primarily at those whose behaviour poses the greatest risk often at identifiable locations or circumstances.
Consistency of approach
Taking a similar approach in similar circumstances to achieve similar ends
Transparency about what enforcement action is undertaken and why
Helping drivers to understand what is expected of them and why.

Effective partnerships with other organisations are essential to its success.

Where officers believe that an offence has been committed, in exercising their discretion on enforcement action, they must consider the nature and circumstances of the offence. Depending on those circumstances, they have a variety of options available to them, ranging from arrest, reporting for process, use of the Conditional Offer (OSCO) process, caution, warn or take no further action.

Road users expect consistency from the Police nationally, and an over reliance on automated enforcement can undermine public confidence and general support for roads policing. Successful policing emanates from legitimacy and the balance between engineering, education and enforcement is crucial.

The differing speed limits are generally related and proportionate, to the risks for to all road users using that road. Where Police Officers consider that an offence has been committed, they should consider whether it is appropriate to take enforcement action against the offender.

Enforcement guidance for Police Officers is published in the documents referred to earlier.

Other than in the most exceptional circumstances, the issue of fixed penalty notices (or use of conditional offers) and summonses are likely to be the minimum appropriate enforcement action as soon as the following speeds have been reached:

Screen shot 2016-03-30 at 13.24.37
* see section 5.3

Where a vehicle is restricted by virtue of its class, e.g. PCV/LGV the prosecution will be for exceeding the speed limit for class of vehicle.

This guidance does not and cannot replace the Police Officer’s discretion in full accordance with the National Decision Model. An officer may decide to report an offender in respect of offences committed at speeds lower than those set out in the table, but this must be fully justifiable in the circumstances.

Effective speed enforcement cannot be carried out by one agency acting alone. The Police Service actively seeks to develop close working relationships with others (e.g. the DfT, Highway Authorities, Magistrates Courts, Education Authorities, Road Safety Organisations etc), to promote road safety and ensure that approaches to speed compliance which do not rely solely upon sanctions, are fully exploited.

Those routes where the Safety Camera Partnership (SCP) enforcement sites are generally signed. Signage at other enforcement sites is not required, as the high visibility of officers engaged in such roadside speed enforcement is considered sufficient.

Covert Speed Enforcement This Force does not operate a policy of routine covert speed enforcement. Please see working practice DF81 – Speed Enforcement.

2.3 Implications of the Policy [FOIA Open]
Equipment Evaluation and Purchase
New items of speed detection equipment will undergo evaluation before purchase and consultation will take place in advance with the Inspector Roads Policing (Professional Lead).

3. Procedures [FOIA Open]

3.1 Speed Enforcement Technology

Any enforcement device deployed in relation to speed enforcement must have a Home Office Type Approval and/or be ACPO approved for use in this Force if required.

Further details of the current type approved speed detection equipment can be found in the Guide For The Operational Use Of Speed And Red-Light Offence Detection Technology (December 2011). All trained officers must be familiar with the contents of this document.

3.2 Community Speedwatch

Community Speedwatch is a scheme that actively engages members of the local community in speed monitoring. This involves members of the public utilising a variety of devices, to monitor vehicle speeds. The information gathered is collated by a police volunteer who arranges, when appropriate, for letters to be sent to the registered keepers of vehicles monitored travelling at apparently excess speed.

For further guidance, refer to working practice TP04 – Speed Watch

20 MPH Limits and Zones (This whole section needs reviewing in relation to 01/2013)

The setting of speed limits, including 20mph limits and zones, and 10mph Home Zones, is the responsibility of the Local Authority. The Government has provided guidance to authorities in Department for Transport Circular 01/2013 “Setting Local Speed Limits”

Circular 1/2013 encourages the wider use of 20mph limits and zones in residential streets and those in towns and cities with high pedestrian and cyclist movements.

Whilst the circular identifies that traffic authorities can over time introduce 20 mph limits and zones in specific areas, where they do so general compliance needs to be achievable without a general reliance on enforcement.

ACPO’s Speed Enforcement Policy Guidelines 2011-2015 makes specific reference to 20mph zones and speed limits. The introduction of these limits without making it clear to all drivers is not supported. If they are, high levels of offending may result leaving vulnerable road users exposed to unnecessary higher speeds and the police with an unsustainable large scale enforcement issue.

Routine prosecution of offenders is seen as an inappropriate and disproportionate measure to achieve general compliance. It is for local authorities to adequately sign and if necessary appropriately engineer a limit to secure compliance. The police should be used to target the identified, persistent and deliberate offender.

The Police Service must ensure all its resources are used effectively in responding to community priorities and calls for service from the public. Enforcement has a part to play and the police will respond to specific intelligence on offending in order to identify persistent high harm offenders. Police enforcement should not be the general arbiter of compliance in 20 mph limits and zones.

20mph zones
These require traffic calming features, e.g. speed humps and chicanes or repeater speed limit signing and/or roundel road markings at regular intervals. The start and end of such a zone should be identified by terminal signs.

These are generally used in urban locations, town and residential areas or in the vicinity of schools. They should be used around shops, markets, playgrounds and other areas with high pedestrian or cyclist traffic. They should not be used on roads where motor vehicle movement is the primary function. It is generally recommended that they are imposed over an area consisting of several roads

20 mph speed limits
These are signed with terminal and at least one repeater sign, and do not require traffic calming. 20 mph limits are similar to other local speed limits and normally apply to individual or small numbers of roads but are increasingly being applied to larger areas.

Signed-only 20 mph speed limits generally lead to only small reductions in traffic speeds and are therefore most appropriate for areas where vehicle speeds are already low. This may, for example, be on roads that are very narrow through engineering or on-road car parking. If the mean speed is already at or below 24 mph on a road, introducing a 20 mph speed limit through signing alone is likely to lead to general compliance with the new speed limit.

Traffic authorities are free to use additional measures in 20 mph limits to achieve compliance, such as some traffic calming measures and vehicle activated signs, or safety cameras if appropriate. Traffic authorities have powers to introduce 20 mph speed limits that apply only at certain times of day. These variable limits may be particularly relevant where for example a school is located on a road that is not suitable for a full-time 20 mph zone or limit, such as a major through road.

Successful 20 mph zones and 20 mph speed limits are generally self-enforcing where the existing conditions of the road together with measures such as traffic calming or signing, publicity and information as part of the scheme, lead to a mean traffic speed compliant with the speed limit. To achieve compliance there should be no expectation on the police to provide additional enforcement beyond their routine activity, unless this has been explicitly agreed and is both proportionate and justifiable.

Comprehensive and early consultation with all those who may be affected by the introduction of a 20 mph scheme is an essential part of the implementation process. This should include local residents, all tiers of local government, the police and emergency services, public transport providers and any other relevant local groups.

The initial police point of contact for such matters is the local Road Casualty Reduction Officer (RCRO). Any consultation regarding the introduction of new or amendment to existing 20mph limits/zones should be referred to the RCRO.

The wider use of 20mph limits impacts upon police enforcement. Generally, there should be little requirement for speed enforcement within a 20mph limit or zone due to their self-enforcing nature. Speeding complaints in such limits must be handled with care and in close consultation with both the local RCRO and relevant highway authority. Engineering solutions are the preferred option to deal with evidence of general poor compliance issues in 20mph limits and zones.

Before considering enforcement in any 20mph speed limit or zone, officers must check that the appropriate signage and Traffic Regulation Order are correct to make the enforcement action legal. This will be done through the local RCRO who will undertake liaison with the relevant highway authority and monitor enforcement activity.

Enforcement has a wide meaning and does not only constitute roadside speed detections. Other options can include providing a high profile police presence, a localised media campaign, leaflet or letter drops in the local community, tasking to the Safety Camera Partnership or SRSU and use of a roadside information devices, which can include Speed Indicator Devices or Speed Visor signs.

Communities often raise excess speed as a concern. As an organisation dedicated to resolving problems and supporting our communities, it is important that we are responsive to public priorities. There are many practical options which must be considered to address these priorities if we wish to retain the confidence of our community.

4.0 Audit / Assessment Compliance [FOIA Open]

This policy has been drafted and audited to comply with the principles of the Human Rights Act. Equality and diversity issues have also been considered to ensure compliance with Equality legislation and policies. In addition Data Protection, Freedom of Information, Management of Police Information and Health and Safety issues have been considered. Adherence to this policy will therefore ensure compliance with all relevant legislation and internal policies.

5.0 Monitoring [FOIA Open]

The implications and impact of this policy will be monitored in relation to the relevant legislation. If any areas are identified as being in need of action, the Operations Unit will undertake this, on behalf of Commander, Operations Support.

6.0 Review and Ownership [FOIA Open]

The review of the contents of this policy is the responsibility of the Commander, Operations Department. Review of the policy will be undertaken annually.