Update for residents of Newcastle

I know a number of you are concerned about the a incident on Wednesday

PHOTO Ch Insp Pete Owen
Ch Insp Pete Owen

morning. I am your local police commander and I wanted to take a couple of minutes to  update and reassure the residents of Chesterton, Newcastle and the surrounding areas.

At approximately 9 o’clock on, Wednesday 2nd December, a lady who was walking her dog in Brick Kiln Lane reported seeing a man who she believed was carrying a rifle in the fields.  The lady was not threatened in any way and was aware that some people do shoot rabbits in that area.

With incidents of this type, although an individual does not appear to pose a threat, there is always the chance of a stray pellet causing injury or damage.  A patrol was therefore sent to search the area with a view to checking if the man was shooting the gun legally and also to provide suitable advice as to the safety of others.

Whilst officers were searching the area they could hear shots being fired which sounded like an air rifle.  The officers were aware of the nearby school and to ensure the safety of the children a decision was made to attend Chesterton Primary School to prevent the children going out into the playground whilst the incident was being dealt with.

After a short while no more shots could be heard.  The area was searched by officers with the help of the police helicopter, however the man was not found.

I would like to reassure the local community that it appears nobody was in any danger from the man shooting.  He appeared to have been shooting in the fields.  With incidents like these it is important that we take all reasonable measures to keep people safe which in this case included contacting the school.  I also appreciate the increased concern due to what has recently happened in Paris, however, it appears in all likelihood the man in this incident was shooting rabbits or other wildlife.

Chief Inspector Peter Owen

Local Policing Team Commander

Police musicians get ready to raise the roof

Police officers and staff are tuning up for their annual concert at Symphony Hall in Birmingham next month.

The British Police Symphony Orchestra, which boasts members from police forces across the country, will be taking centre stage on Saturday 5 December for their Proms Night Spectacular! concert.

British Police Symphony Orchestra flyer
British Police Symphony Orchestra flyer

Tickets are now on sale for the 7.30pm event, which features a programme including Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture; themes from the James Bond and Austin Powers movies; Khachaturian’s Spartacus and John Williams’ ‘Dartmoor’ from War Horse.

The concert will conclude with the traditional ‘Proms Night’ finish of Jerusalem; Rule, Britannia! and Land Of Hope & Glory, complete with a fireworks finish.

Staffordshire Police Cadets will again be attending the event to help out on the night.

The British Police Symphony Orchestra is now based in Staffordshire, with musicians rehearsing in Yarnfield. They host regular concerts in the county, most notably the annual concert at Beacon Park, Lichfield, which attracts crowds of between 8,000 and 10,000 people.

The orchestra is also actively engaged in outreach work in the region, with members working with disadvantaged and disabled young people.

Next month’s concert will help raise vital funds for the orchestra, which is entirely self-funding and relies on ticket sales from events, and sponsorship, in order to continue to provide music, outreach work and entertainment in the name of the British Police Service.

Tickets for the concert are now on sale priced at £12, £17 and £22 and there is also a special offer available to police employees. For details email: claire@bpso.net from a valid UK police force email address.

Andy Chapman, an Inspector with Staffordshire Police, is a percussionist in the orchestra and has been involved for 22 years.

“Members are involved in their own time, at their own expense, to deliver outstanding music concerts throughout the year,” he said.

“This concert is open to everyone so please bring your singing voices and raise the roof at Symphony Hall to be part of one of the region’s most popular concerts of the season.”

Tickets for this concert are priced at £12, £17 & £22 plus transaction fee* (concs. apply) and are available from the box office in person, online at thsh.co.uk or by calling 0121 345 0603.

15 new police officers start in Staffordshire today

Staffordshire’s Chief Constable greeted 15 new police recruits this morning as they start their careers as police officers.

The first few weeks will see the recruits mainly in the classroom at Police HQ but they will soon be alongside regular officers as they build their knowledge of this demanding role.

At the end of their first week, the new recruits will reach their first milestone as they undertake their attestation i.e. to swear an oath to be impartial and fair to all they deal with and to serve HM the Queen.

This oath will be taken before a magistrate and Assistant Chief Constable Bernie O’Reilly at Police Headquarters at 7pm on Friday 18 September 2015. The recruits families will attend as the now uniformed student officers become police officers in Staffordshire.

The student officers are:

PHOTO of Student officers
Student Officers meet Staffordshire’s Chief Constable

Mike Byrne – 25, Alison Webb – 29, George Cooper – 25, David Henzell – 27, Tara Field – 20, Lauren Buckle – 28, Bleaze Johnson – 22, Dawn Jones – 44, Jodie Newman – 24, Richard Farrar – 31, Chantelle Robinson-Fryer – 31, Gemma Collis – 24, Samuel Small – 23, Emily Hanlon – 26, Lisa Waring – 41

All will be notified which areas of Staffordshire they will be starting in over the next few days.

Blue Light Pledge – supporting mental health and wellbeing of our force

Staffordshire Police has today, Thursday September 10, became one of the first forces in the country to sign up to a national pledge to develop action plans to support the welfare of its staff.

The Blue Light Time to Change pledge was signed by Chief Constable Jane Sawyers, Supt Carl Ratcliffe and Occupational Health Manager Donna Cantrell at a special welfare event at the force’s HQ in Stafford.

The force’s action plans will be in line with the nationwide Time to Change campaign developed by the mental health charity Mind to raise awareness and challenge discrimination and stigma around mental health.

Photo of Jane Sawyers
Jane Sawyers signs the Blue Light Pledge at Staffordshire Police HQ

Chief Constable Jane Sawyers said: “I have signed the pledge to show our absolute commitment to making positive changes to how we support the mental health and wellbeing of our workforce.

“Staffordshire is setting the pace for this initiative. We are the third force in the country to commit to the pledge along with Leicestershire and Kent.

Staffordshire’s statement is:

“To empower our staff to be knowledgeable and to speak openly about mental health in order that they feel valued and supported in managing their own wellbeing and in providing a high class service to the public they serve.”

The pledge signing heralds the launch of a three-month long “wellbeing tour” on September 14, which will take health and wellbeing advice and messages, health assessments, vaccinations and relaxation sessions to staff at police bases throughout the county.

Evidence shows that mental ill-health will affect one in four people at some point in their lives. Many problems are common everyday illnesses including stress, depression and anxiety as well as illnesses such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) bi-polar and schizophrenia.

Chief Constable Jane Sawyers is pictured with Staffordshire Police's signed pledge and Supt Carl Ratcliffe, left, and Donna Cantrell, Occupational health Manager, right.
Chief Constable Jane Sawyers is pictured with Staffordshire Police’s signed pledge and Supt Carl Ratcliffe, left, and Donna Cantrell, Occupational health Manager, right.

Men jailed following the biggest single drugs seizure by Staffordshire Police

Two men have been jailed for over 10 years for bringing Class A drugs valued at almost £7m into Staffordshire.

Dave Van de Ven and Barry Briggs were sentenced at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court today, Friday.

Dave Van de Ven Jailed
Dave Van de Ven -Jailed

Van de Ven, aged 30, from Rotterdam, was jailed for six years and eight months. He had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to two counts of being concerned in the importation of heroin and cocaine.

Barry Briggs – Jailed

Briggs, aged 43, from Seaforth Grove in Leeds, pleaded guilty to being concerned in the importation of heroin ahead of a trial starting. He was sentenced to five years.

The men were arrested on Wednesday 11 February when officers stopped two vehicles on the A52 in Cheadle.

drugs3 A search of the two vehicles, a HGV being driven by Van de Ven and a Renault van being driven by Briggs, led to the discovery of Class A drugs valued at almost £7m.

Staffordshire Police, together with the National Crime Agency, carried out a joint investigation after receiving information about the two men and their suspected involvement in drug supply.

The arrests were carried out under Operation Nemesis – the force’s commitment to tackling drug dealers and bringing them to justice.

The court heard Van de Ven, who was employed by a transport company in Holland, collected his trailer on February 10 with deliveries scheduled for several locations in England.

He arrived in England the following day, Wednesday 11 February, via ferry and continued his journey, not stopping until he reached a lay-by on the A50, in north Staffordshire.

Van de Ven was later observed at in Leek Road, Cheadle, where he met up with Briggs, who was driving a Renault Clio van and both were witnessed removing boxes from the rear of the lorry into the Renault Clio.

Both men were arrested a short time later.

drugs2A search of the van led to the recovery of the two boxes. Each box contained 15 individual packages of heroin, weighing around 1kg each. The drugs have since been valued at £5,750,000. (5 and ¾ million)

drugs seized by Staffordshire PoliceVan de Ven’s trailer was also searched. A box was recovered which contained 10 parcels of cocaine, each weighing 1kg each. These drugs are valued at £1.2million.

DI Lesley Fowler, who oversaw the investigation, said: “This was a significant seizure of class A drugs – the biggest Staffordshire Police has ever seized in one operation.

“Working closely with our colleagues at the National Crime Agency, we were able to stop a substantial amount of drugs entering the streets of Staffordshire.

“Today’s sentences are to be welcomed and send out a strong message – we will not tolerate drug dealing in our communities and will take positive action against those who do.

“On this occasion we had information which subsequently led to the arrest of both Van de Ven and Briggs.

“These men were clearly working together to bring drugs in to England for onward distribution.

“Their partnership was uncovered and we have stopped drugs getting onto our streets.

“Today marks yet another success under Operation Nemesis and further demonstrates that drug dealing and drugs misuse will not be tolerated in Staffordshire.”

NCA Car1 smlBrent Lyon from the National Crime Agency said: “This was a substantial amount of heroin – the largest seizure of Class A drugs ever made in the area.

“Van de Ven and Briggs clearly thought they were operating under the radar with this handover. But there are no hiding places, no safe locations, for those who try to bring drugs into our communities.

“Operations like this one are successful because of the close working relationship the NCA has with forces like Staffordshire.”

Incident in Fenton

Officers from Staffordshire Police are currently at an address in Park Place, Fenton.

We were called there at about 4am this morning (Thursday 3 September) following concerns from neighbours about a domestic related incident.

Park Place Officers are currently talking to a lady at the address who has locked herself inside. We are also trying to locate a second female who may be at the address or in the nearby area.


UPDATE: The incident at Park Place has now been safely resolved after specially trained police officers in safety equipment entered the location. The female occupant of the house has been arrested is being treated for a minor self-inflicted injury.

Staffordshire Police are reporting a peaceful night at the V Festival at Weston Park in Staffordshire

Drugs recovered at V Festival in Staffordshire

Supt. Elliott Sharrard-Williams, Commander of the Staffordshire Police operation said “We are pleased that some of the drugs we raised concerns about have been disposed of into the drugs bins on-site. If you do have those drugs please put them in the bins provided as they are not safe.

“Of course with so many people on site relaxing and consuming alcohol we will have issues to deal with but nothing too serious. I want to remind people that are attending the festival to continue to look after their property and to start thinking about their safety when they leave.

“Remember attending a Festival is no excuse for drink driving, we have already arrested a handful of motorists heading for V Festival on suspicion of drink driving and we will have a road crime operation in place to ensure the safety of those using the roads tonight and tomorrow morning.

Drugs tested at the on-site police drugs lab
Drugs tested at the on-site police drugs lab

“If you are in any doubt about being over the limit I would urge those drivers to wait or make alternative arrangements.”

Staffordshire Police are continuing to issue regular updates via Twitter – just follow @VFestPolice or if you are having problems getting a signal then text ‘on vfestpolice’ to 86444.

POLICE WARNING: Dangerous Drugs Cause Concern at V Festival

Police and organisers at V Festival are repeating their warning about dangerous drugs that are circulating the Festival scene at the moment.

Photo: Supt. Sharrard-Williams
Police Commander at V Festival in Staffordshire

Supt. Elliott Sharrard-Williams, commander of the police operation at the V Festival in Staffordshire said “We discovered samples of two very dangerous substances with unusually high purity. OImage of dangerous drugs found at V Festival Westernne is a purple pill with a Louis Vuitton logo & the other an orange pill with crown logo.

“We examined the tablets at the onsite drugs lab, and we are concerned that high level of purity could cause users to become serious ill.

Image of dangerous drugs found at V Festival Western

“Late last night a young man was found collapsed in the arena and he was immediately treated and transferred to hospital with a suspected drug overdose. Thankfully the man is recovering in hospital.

“We are working to support the organisers to keep V Festival as safe and enjoyable event and I urge anyone in contact with drugs to deposit them in the dedicated drugs bins on the site.” 

Steve Wheaton from West Midlands Ambulance Service added “I urge anyone feeling unwell who may have had drugs to seek immediate medical help. We have doctors, paramedics and skilled staff on site to deal with any emergency and we are working closely with the onsite medical teams to provide any urgent support.”

Police appeal for witnesses following fatal pedal cycle collision in Birches Head

Police in Stoke-on-Trent are appealing for witnesses to come forward who may have seen a cyclist involved in a collision on Friday afternoon on Birches Head Road.

EJG_4601Police and colleagues from West Midlands Ambulance Service responded to reports of an injured cyclist at around 2.35pm on Friday on Birches Head Road, near the high school. At this stage it is believed that the injured male had fallen from his pedal cycle. The cyclist, 46-year-old Martin Prendergast from Birches Head, was taken to the Royal Stoke Hospital with serious head injuries and has sadly died despite the efforts of the medical teams.

A trained family liaison officer is supporting the family at this very difficult time.

Anyone who saw the incident is urged to call the Senior Investigating Officer Sgt 4798 Perry at Hanley Police Station by calling 101 quoting incident 442 of 14 August.