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PC Mike Spittlehouse Talks about his Vision for Policing in Nidderdale


It goes without saying that Nidderdale and North Yorkshire Police has seen a significant change in how it is policed in the past to how it is policed now. With only one PC Hickson (and now me) to cover the entire area of Nidderdale including Birstwith, Burnt Yates, Felliscliffe, Thornthwaite, West End, Blubberhouses, Greenhow, Patelely Bridge, Ramsgill, Lofthouse. Scar House Reservoir and everywhere else in between I have to be smart with how to proceed. For me, the key to reducing crime and fear of crime is to increase the flow of information / intelligence from me to you directly so you can take your own measures to protect yourselves. Likewise, I must also increase the flow of community intelligence coming into police (from you to me) to enable me to target resources/actions appropriately. How am I to do this? 

North Yorkshire Police have heavily invested in a community messenger system called North Yorkshire Community Messenger System. This system is the future of neighbourhood Policing which if utilised correctly can be a game changer with how crime is managed/reduced. By signing up to the messenger system you will receive regular updates on current crime trends, scams etc tailor specifically to your area/interests.  More importantly however, the system allows me to send you live information as it happens. It can also speed up the process by allowing you to do the same. 

Example of use of  North Yorkshire Community messenger.  Door to door sellers purporting to be reformed convicts out on a prison scheme turn up to a house selling dishcloths/cleaning products etc.. These individuals frequently target elderly and vulnerable and use intimidation to sell a 10p dishcloth for £10 just to get rid of them. If a resident in Birstwith reports such an incident via 101, the control room, (and me if I’m on duty) can immediately send out a community message to all other residents in Nidderdale warning you all of their presence and to not answer the door. Likewise in addition to this the original reporting persons, if signed up, can also send the community message themselves both alerting police and their neighbours at the same time.. The community will be alerted quickly, whether I’m on duty or not, and like a immune response can react appropriately across the dale. Offending individuals suddenly find their day a waste of time. (eventually getting the message to not bother attending at all in the future).. This basic example / principle can be applied to many different scenarios as I’m sure you can appreciate.

Another example, youth related anti-social behaviour (ASB). If all the residents are signed up to the messenger system, parents can notify me or each other discreetly if a child is involved in anti-social behaviour and respond appropriately, preventing a problem before escalates to police involvement. This is how I see it working. Child A and  Child B seen sitting in a park, drinking alcohol, shouting abuse towards other residents, causing nuisance. If the parents are signed up to the community messenger system, A concerned resident who knows the kids and parents by name, but not well enough to have their direct contact numbers can use the messenger service to discreetly inform their parents or me of the problem directly. This message would not be seen by other residents being a direct message. Thus would I hope be received gratefully by parents of child A and B who can then come out take responsibility and sort the issue before it becomes a problem. This private messaging function is much better approach to simply ignoring the problem waiting for something to happen then naming / shaming later on Facebook, social media etc, which usually only prompts resentment from parents and in-fighting in the community, not to mention do nothing to stop ASB in the first place. By using the system allows the community to work together to address concerns / issues. 

In my immediate future I and members of my team will be going door to door to sign up as many people as we can to the system. This can only be successful if enough people across our communities engage/sign up to the system. Please do log onto webpage  and go from there. Above examples are only brief examples of it’s application. I will be sending out further information promoting it’s use in due course. 

I look forward to working with you all only working together can we reduce crime/fear of crime in our community.

Lastly, as well as the above I aim to be as visible as possible within the community. Please do approach me if you see me, (I won’t bite) and I will be happy to discuss any issues you have. I intend to utilise mobile working within the community as much as possible. Paperwork comes with any job…. You may see me up and down the dale sitting in a café, tea room or police van in front of a laptop doing some paperwork,  whilst enjoying a cup of tea. If you do, please interrupt me, join me and I’ll be happy to talk to you about anything.  

Thank you for your time 

Yours sincerely 

PC1893 Mike Spittlehouse


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