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Author Topic: CRIME SCENE  (Read 1017 times)
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« 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.

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