New Peterborough police chief on car cruising, unauthorised encampments and cyber crime

The Peterborough Telegraph recently interviewed the new police chief for Peterborough and Cambridgeshire, Supt Kate Anderson.

Thursday, 24th June 2021, 4:55 am
Updated Thursday, 24th June 2021, 6:29 am

Here, in the final part of the interview, are the area commander’s views on three key issues affecting residents.

Car cruising

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Tyre marks from a previous car cruising event in Peterborough
Tyre marks from a previous car cruising event in Peterborough

“The police do tackle car cruises, and I know in the last month we’ve issued four community protection warnings.

“That’s where we go, engage with people at a car cruising event and we think they are contributing to anti-social behaviour.

“If they don’t adhere to the guidance that we give them, either by leaving or turning their exhaust off etc, they can be given a community protection notice. And if they breach that it’s a criminal offence.

“We also respond to any driving offences, making sure individuals have their cars insured and MOTs - that’s all really important.

“And we do try to engage with organisers.

“The thing about being a car enthusiast, we want people to be able to enjoy that in a way that’s safe but doesn’t disrupt the local community. So planned events which are Covid secure and they’ve hired a venue where people can take the vehicles to look at - that’s brilliant.

“But when people find them descending on a residential street or industrial estate where businesses are trying to operate is particularly challenging for the residents and businesses who are there.

“Where we do identify that there’s going to be a car cruise we do reach out to the organisers and try to have some of those early discussions about what they are trying to do, what marshals they’ve put in place, whether they’ve got the agreement of the land owner, and have those discussions to make sure if they are happening, they’re happening in accordance with the laws.

“Sometimes they turn up and we’re not aware they’re going to be occurring, so if you are aware of car cruises being planned on closed Facebook groups, or elsewhere, share that information with us.

“That’s the best way we can engage and hopefully try to prevent it before it takes place, or hopefully make sure it’s considerate to local communities.”

Unauthorised encampments

“It’s really important to draw the distinction between traveller encampments and unauthorised encampments.

“There are lots of individuals from a traveller background who live on land in our county perfectly lawfully and are law-abiding citizens, and that’s part of the rich tapestry of what makes up Cambridgeshire.

“With unauthorised encampments, we work with the council to jointly problem-solve around it.

“I think it’s fair to say we have to balance a number of competing challenges around that: what is the disruption to the local community, are there children and would it be appropriate for us to move them in the middle of the night or not?

“We recognise the fact that sometimes an unauthorised encampment can have an impact on the local community, but that there are quite clear guidelines with how we should work with the council and the landowners to take those things forward.

“We operate within the law and the guidance that we’ve got. We’ll go and see if there are any reports of anti-social behaviour, whether any crimes have been committed, and all of those things will inform our response to any unauthorised encampment.

“Sometimes communities feel we are not taking action, but actually when we look very few people have contacted us about issues. So if there is a concern please do contact us about it.”

Cyber crime

“We’ve got our own dedicated team who investigate fraud and online crime.

“We work closely with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Against Scams Partnership. We’ve also got really good advice on our website, and Action Fraud have got really good information on there.

“Increasingly, we’re seeing private companies stepping forward and offering to give people support in terms of how to make sure they stay safe online.

“So I think there’s an awful lot we’re doing in terms of that prevention space.

“I think from an investigatory point of view there is a lot of national provision.

“It is a really complex environment, particularly with things going outside of the country and back in and trying to track where that’s been taken, but we do have a dedicated team that are working on it, and the more people can do to look at themselves on an online space as they would at keeping their car safe or their home safe (the better).

“You would lock the door if you went out, you would have a burglar alarm in your car. What are the things you need to do on an online space to keep yourself safe?”