Friday brief: Organised crime unit rated inadequate
Plus a round up of some Northamptonshire news from the week
Plenty going on across the county this week. Starting off with a couple of police related bits of news plus an update on the ongoing Wellingborough Walks story.
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The region’s collaboration of police forces set up to tackle serious organised crime has been rated as inadequate.
His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services has given a poor rating to the East Midlands Special Operations Crime Unit (EMSOU) after carrying out an inspection last year.
Inspectors found EMSOU - which is made up of staff from across the forces of Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire - had a number or concerns that was stopping it from being effective.
The report said the organisation, which was founded in 2001, was too focused on drugs and gun crime which it said was due to a lack of experience of staff, training and intelligence. Not enough was focused on human trafficking, modern slavery and child sexual exploitation.
Despite identifying fraud as the highest priority in the area only one part time member of staff was dedicated to it.
The inspection was critical of the amount of investigations being dealt with by EMSOU.
“On 1 February 2022, EMSOU was managing 16 identified SOC [serious organised crime] threats. This is the smallest number of threats mapped for any ROCU [regional organised crime units] nationally, despite EMSOU being one of the largest ROCUs.”
It also criticised how the unit records and shares intelligence and said at times it was shared too late to be of use.
EMSOU has not been inspected for ten years.
Its boss assistant detective chief superintendent Nikki Mayo said in a statement:
“Being found ‘inadequate’ at tackling serious and organised crime is of course not a badge we wish to wear any longer than is necessary, as it is not reflective of the high standard of work that our officers and staff deliver, rather a comment on the way we are funded and resourced.”
She said improvements had been made since the inspection.
The unit is funded by all of the forces, which negotiate their own amount of the budget.
In the inspection each force was rated. Northamptonshire was rated as adequate while neighbouring Leicestershire force was graded as outstanding. The report said Northamptonshire could make more use of financial experts to identify and disrupt organised criminals.
Northamptonshire Police has not made any arrests, three months on from the murder of a man in his home.
Martin Truett, died on December 12, 17 days after he was attacked by three men who broke into his Wellingborough home, claiming to be from the border force.
NN Journal went down to Highfield Road earlier this week and spoke to a family friend who was helping his sister clear out Martin’s terraced property.
They said Martin, who was originally from Wilby, had lived in the home alone and had never married. He was a hoarder and had suffered a broken knee in the attack.
Northamptonshire Police has decided not to give any information about the nature of the injuries.
NN Journal understands CCTV footage provided by a local business showed three men going to the property. We were also told a car possibly used by the men had false number plates.
These details were put to the investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Adam Pendlebury and we also asked whether he believed the attack to be random. The force said ‘the murder remains a live investigation and a number of lines of enquiry are being pursued’.
The police are appealing for anyone from the nearby area with relevant CCTV footage from the evening of November 25 to contact them.
Witnesses, anyone with information, or anyone with any pertinent footage should call Northamptonshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
News in brief
A Northampton Labour councillor was not able to vote at the recent West Northamptonshire Council budget meeting for the second year in a row due to being behind on her own council tax bill. Cllr Muna Cali, who represents the St George ward, is on a payment plan with the authority and the debt relates to last year’s bill. A party source said Cllr Cali is very embarrassed about the situation.
The trees at Wellingborough Walks have had a temporary stay of execution while talks between the developer Vistry, the North unitary council and the town’s MP take place.
There is huge confusion about the situation as protestors say the tree felling is unlawful,(they have tree preservation orders) whereas the council say they believe the felling by the developer Vistry Group (formerly Bovis) has been carried out lawfully.
However despite a number of requests from various bodies the authority has not put any paperwork which would definitively clear up the issue into the public domain. In total 15 trees have been taken down and a couple of dozen more could go.
Since the protests started last week Northamptonshire Police has arrested a number of local residents. Yesterday the force, which is being led temporarily by Paul Gibson, while former chief constable Nick Adderley takes a retirement break, issued a statement which said:
“We will remain impartial in delivering our core policing responsibilities and understand there are strong feelings regarding the work being conducted at Wellingborough Walk.
“We will continue to work with protesters, partners, contractors, community members and other stakeholders to facilitate peaceful protest, prevent crime and disorder.”
It appears to have deleted from its social media an earlier statement from this week which said the council had confirmed to it that the tree felling was lawful.
Speaking to NN Journal last night council leader Jason Smithers said he was being advised by his senior officer team on the matter and now wants the developer to engage with the community.
The trees are being cut down as part of infrastructure works for the Stanton Cross development, which was approved by the former Borough of Wellingborough Council several years ago.
NN Journal understands Wellingborough Town Council is due to hold a public meeting next week (at a date to be announced). The leader of the town council Conservative Cllr Graham Lawman, is also the executive member of the unitary council for highways. NN Journal has contacted Cllr Lawman for comment.
Read our story from yesterday with arrested protestor Anthony Loukes.
Northern Ireland secretary and Daventry MP Chris Heaton-Harris penned an article for a Conservative website this week saying why the new post-Brexit agreement between the UK and the European Union is the right one.
In it he said: “As a lifelong Eurosceptic and former Chairman of the European Research Group I support this deal strongly. It removes the need for the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill because it ends all trade barriers and protects our Union.”
The agreement will still need to go through parliament and may face opposition.
📚 Children’s author Sam Copeland is giving a writing masterclass at the Great Hall, Oundle, tomorrow from 2pm.
🍻 Saxby’s cider tap room in Wellingborough is hosting a quiz night on Thursday from 7.30pm.
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