Featherstone Make a Difference Forum

Featherstone Town => Crime News => Topic started by: yetion1 on March 30, 2008, 12:03:55 pm

Post by: yetion1 on March 30, 2008, 12:03:55 pm

The history starts 10 years ago with a lady called Karen Harrison, who I consider the god of all shop watches. She ran a shop in South Elmsall selling kids uniforms and jewellery. One day a male approached her shop in day light and started to hammer is way through the glass for the jewellery. While this was going on she was talking to the police (who were 5 minutes away). She had to endure 30 minutes of terror as she was trapped in her shop while the man hammered away to get in. eventually he got some items and made his escape in a car that pulled up. She had done everything she could and had even given the vehicle description and registration number. The police arrived the day after.
This was Karen’s turning point. Over the next 10 years she pulled the community together and produced the first shop watch scheme. This led to a vast reduction in shop crime and consequently local crime. The police then saw that she had something that couldn’t be ignored.
Because of Karen’s persistence and spirit South Elmsall became a safer area for all. I was lucky to find Karen in 2003 and from then on Featherstone has benefited from her information and experience by helping to set up our own shop watch that has worked well to reduce crime and pull in others such as WMDC who had to accept our proposal for CCTV and more police.
Karen continued to work on reducing crime and lucky for us all it took over her life. She has made such an impact and gained so much knowledge that she has had to sell her business and is a now full time civilian crime fighter. The result of this 101% effort has created “crime scene”. Over the last 18 months Karen and all the crime fighters have been working on the next stage. This is to produce a united group that is coordinated from a central base. She has also managed to pull funds to install a central computer that all the local groups can access. From here on the intelligence will increase 100% with monthly updates and 4 yearly photo book updates. And touring criminals in the UK that look to be heading our way will now be known before they arrive.
The link at the bottom takes you to the new web site. In my opinion the work done and new services provide will be as useful as being given a gun, but its legal. We all owe this silent hero a great deal.


Post by: yetion1 on June 01, 2010, 08:58:26 pm
Chief Superintendant M Callaghan
West Yorkshire Police
Wood Street - Divisional Headquarters


Ref: Featherstone Shopwatch

Dear Mr Callaghan

I have been forced to write to you regards a recent news paper article in the Pontefract and Castleford Express.
The article advertised 2 amounts of money received by Castleford shopwatch totalling £34000.00 to pay for new radio handsets and remote control panic buttons. The grants had been obtained by the police.
In 2003 with the help of a small number of volunteers and shop keepers, a Featherstone shopwatch scheme was born. This made immediate dramatic reductions to business and public crime that has continued to this day. Due to the success of the scheme awards were won.
In all the time Featherstone’s scheme has been operating there have been over 20 grant applications to help improve and sustain the scheme and create attached ideas to cure problems. Six of these were to West Yorkshire police. On some occasions match funding and support had all ready been offered subject to police help. No police grants have ever been successful.
My time is voluntary as was Karen Harrisons whose help many; many times improved Featherstone’s safety. I must say that Karen’s MBE is well deserved. A year before Karen left she made sure everything was in order with the 5 town’s shopwatch scheme she had created. I am sure you are aware that from 1st January 2010 the five town’s shopwatch scheme was to be run by Wakefield police.
I was asked by Karen in March 2009 to attend a meeting at Wood Street police station with the five town’s inspectors. The meeting was to agree a way forward for 2010. A way was agreed.
During the remainder of 2009 let’s just say that police communication broke down with Featherstone resulting in myself telling the local police not to bother asking for help when they needed it. If Featherstone had a problem we would use the radio and phone as best we could and keep a record until something could be resolved.
I believe even you at the height of the rank you hold will not have missed the odd mention of the heated and spicy politics in Featherstone. I love Featherstone for many reasons but a big one is the spirit of its inhabitants. You have to live here to understand. Because of this one big issue is the many thousands of pounds that never gets to Featherstone yet arrives all around its boarders. I am fully aware that the majority of this is because of politics. This situation is different. The people with the money on this occasion are the police and the police have taken on the “5” towns and not just Castleford. It is very fair to say that Castleford has received more than its fair share of cash recently. If I am jumping the gun and the same is on its way to Featherstone in the next few weeks I apologise for my comments. If nothing as usual has been done to help Featherstone then can you please set in motion the same grant that Castleford has received? Perhaps someone could talk to me as there are many options that would reduce crime locally and not just business orientated.
I have one final point to make. Five years ago three local police officers separate to each other realised the impact Featherstone had made in its early years. They realised also that our system was a significant tool. When on duty they would often call to borrow a spare handset for their shift. Not a perfect situation but the resulting arrests made by the officers made other police very aware of what could be achieved. The police officers gave feed back that had only 2 subjects. One was they needed handsets. Second was the handsets would be better if they could work in any town. The Featherstone shopwatch financed and worked with Apex Radio to create a multi receiving handset. At the request of the police a total of 7 handsets were given to Pontefract Police costing £2345.00. 5 extra new batteries were also supplied to maintain existing units costing £29 +vat each. This was paid for by Featherstone and Apex Radio. Our thanks for this was to then see a dramatic reduction in local policing including the removal of the good officers. The handsets have never been seen since. After many enquires the handsets were thought to be in a bag under someone’s desk. When they could not be found the final reply was that the handsets were assumed to have been taken to operate around Castleford. I hope you can understand the frustration when tools are provided only to be used to help others apart from the ones in need of help.
Please excuse my passion. My passion and frustration is derived from the volunteers who try hard but are let down by those who are put in place to help and don’t.
Your comments and assistance would be appreciated.


Post by: yetion1 on June 01, 2010, 09:26:31 pm
Well after the police buried their heads in the sand and decided not to reply matters could not be left.
Why should bloody Castleford get our bloody money again?
So without any police assistance or grant funding fresh input was needed.
Lucky for Featherstone that Apex radio systems came to the rescue.
On Thursday Featherstone was very grateful to have installed a new £4500.00 digital radio system with a few added extras. Total cost to Featherstone £0.00.

Bet that’s not published by “the Pont + Cas!
Nor that Featherstone Shopwatch has surveyed Normanton and left a scheme on a platter for the police to take up. How many police will it take to scratch their heads before its realised it’s not difficult, just get off your ass. ::)