Latest Thames Valley newsletter from Matthew Barber,
Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner
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Cllr Matthew Barber

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March 2018

In this month's edition:
  • Reintroduction of police helmets
  • Salisbury attack
  • Policing the Royal Wedding
  • Improving technology within policing
Keep up to date with the latest news and access archived articles on my website at

Police helmets are being reintroduced across the Thames Valley

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley has announced that Thames Valley Police will be bringing back Custodian Helmets.

The helmets have not been a part of the official uniform for Thames Valley Police since 2009 when male uniformed officers were provided with uniform caps instead.

Police and Crime Commissioner, Anthony Stansfeld said: “I have felt very strongly for a number of years that officers patrolling the streets of Thames Valley need to be more visible. I believe that wearing the custodian helmet not only increases visibility but also makes them more approachable and provides greater reassurance to the public. The custodian helmet is an iconic symbol of British policing, still used by a number of metropolitan police forces, and I am delighted that they will be returning to the streets of Thames Valley.”

Police officers who took part in the trial ahead of the reintroduction have welcomed the move. One officer said: "After not being issued a custodian, I wore one for the first time this morning in Reading Town Centre. After being sceptical about its practicality/place for it in modern policing I have changed my views completely. The public love it, and I was approached by numerous people both young and old excited to see it. The general feedback: “it’s a lot smarter”, “you look like a proper British bobby”, and “they have to bring it back”. I agree there’s a time and a place for it - but high visibility town centre patrols are enhanced by wearing the custodian. The benefits far outweigh the negatives, and I would be fully supportive of bringing it back for foot patrol.”

Salisbury attack

The use of a nerve agent in Salisbury has Schofield the country and the Government is right to be taking strong action against Russia as a consequence. There is no specific intelligence to suggest any increased threat within the Thames Valley but the national threat level remains at Severe, meaning an attack is highly likely.

Thames Valley has a significant counter terrorism capability through Counter Terrorism Policing South East to help keep the public safe, but we are all urges to be vigilant.

Don’t worry about wasting police time. No call or click will be ignored. What you tell the police is treated in the strictest confidence and is thoroughly researched by experienced officers before, and if, any police action is taken.

Any piece of information could be important, it is better to be safe and report. Remember, trust your instincts and ACT. Action Counters Terrorism.

Detective Chief Superintendent Kath Barnes, Head of Counter Terrorism Policing South East, said: “It is vital for the public to know that no matter how small the matter might be, if you think it is suspicious and you have concerns, report it.

“Counter Terrorism Policing South East will take all information seriously, any piece of information could be important, it is better to be safe and report. Communities are the key to defeating terrorism and you can help us prevent terrorism and save lives through your actions.”

How can I report?

Reporting is quick and easy. You can report in confidence online via our secure form: Alternatively, you can call the police confidentially on 0800 789 321.

All reports are kept confidential and you can report anonymously.

In an emergency always call 999.

Policing the Royal Wedding

We are proud to police the wedding of His Royal Highness Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle and are working with our partners to deliver a safe and happy event.

Last year it was announced that His Royal Highness Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle would wed on 19th May, 2018, in St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, followed by a carriage procession through Windsor town and a reception in St George’s Hall.

We are working with our partners, local business and the community to deliver a safe, secure and happy event for everyone. The wedding is expected to attract thousands of people from around the world to Windsor and planning is well under way. Visitors to the town can expect to see our officers, both armed and unarmed, our search dogs and our mounted section out and about in the coming weeks and months.

A broad range of visible security measures are already in place, such us the extensive network of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology, Close Circuit Television (CCTV) and Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM) barriers. There are also many security measures that you can’t see. As ever we encourage local businesses, our communities and visitors to continue to be our extra eyes and ears. If you see something that doesn’t look right, let us know and we will look into your concerns fully.

On the day if travelling by car, you may be stopped by one of our roads policing officers. If travelling by train, British Transport Police will be patrolling stations and carriages. Once you arrive in Windsor there will a screening and search regime. There will also be community wardens throughout the town centre. These are all part of our measures to keep you safe.

Our officers look forward to seeing you in Windsor. Feel free to approach them to ask questions or raise concerns or just to say hello.

Improving police technology

In addition to many meetings with groups and individuals around the Thames Valley listening to local concerns, this has been a busy month of national collaborations. Working with the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) and the Police ICT Company (established by the APCC), Thames Valley is leading the way on embracing and developing new technology.

Whether it is simply making savings on basic IT costs or moving into new areas such as improving online reporting for the public or greater capability for digital investigations, technology has never been more important to policing.

The increase of online reporting capabilities due to go live later this year will not only make police services more convenient and accessible for the public but also deliver significant savings that can be reinvested in front line policing.


Copyright © 2018 Matthew Barber, All rights reserved.

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