It’s 4.50pm on a Wednesday evening and the Tameside East Neighbourhood GMP Team are preparing for the shift ahead of them as part of the Neighbourhood Week of Action.
This is a national initiative aimed at fostering stronger relationships between the police and the community they serve.
During the week, various activities and events are organised in different neighbourhoods across the region to address local concerns, promote community engagement and improve public safety.
Tonight, we are with PC Davies, who primarily covers the Carrbrook area, and PC Beaumont, who focuses on Stalybridge town centre.
At 5pm, the team head out on patrol to a known hotspot for drug dealing.
This proactive approach allows them to monitor the area closely, deter illicit activities and potentially apprehend individuals involved in drug-related offences.
With plain clothes officers in an unmarked car just ahead of us, it wasn’t long before they noticed a male who appeared to potentially be waiting to either engage in drug dealing or to pick up drugs.
The team approached the individual and found that he was carrying the identification of another person.
PC Davies said: “We’ve taken the ID as we were concerned that it could have been stolen and he’s now going to tell his friend, whose bus pass it apparently is, that they can pick it up from the police station.
“He’s also got another person’s bank card on him, so we’ve taken that too. Spot search is negative but he did have a drugs bag on him which was empty.”
After leaving the scene of our first stop of the night, officers received a call from an off-duty colleague who had been alerted by a local retail store about two suspected shoplifters on the premises, one of whom had a notorious reputation in the area. We arrived at the shop and located both individuals within the premises. Concerned that they might have already concealed stolen items, stop searches were conducted on both. Although they didn’t possess any stolen goods, they did have ‘bags for life’, which contradicted the reason they had initially provided for being in the store.
“They were sent on their way and hopefully we’ve avoided a crime rather than catching them after it at that point,” PC Davies said.
Following this, we proceeded with the patrol into Ashton Hurst, where the officers observed a vehicle making a sudden manoeuvre which caught their attention. As a result of this, they conducted a Police National Computer check on the vehicle, revealing that it was registered outside of the area. Based on this information, they decided to pull the vehicle over under section 163 of the Road Traffic Act.
They found the driver to be sitting on his seatbelt, which we were told is one of the ‘tell-tale signs’, along with the car being out of area, leading to suspicion of potential drug dealing.
The male was removed from the vehicle and subjected to a search under Section 23 of the Misuse of Drugs Act, while the car itself was also searched.
Despite not finding any drugs in the vehicle, the driver will be issued with a traffic offence report for failing to wear his seatbelt.
A short while later, we stopped for a concern for welfare incident in Stalybridge. The officers noticed two males engaged in what appeared to be a confrontation, prompting them to stop to assess the situation, offering assistance if required.
“We’ve got there and they’re drinking alcohol on the street from an open container,” PC Douglas, one of the plain clothes officers, said.
PC Beaumont added: “We’ve advised them that they shouldn’t be doing that, and we’ve allowed, to a certain degree, a little bit of discrepancy and told them that they need to stop doing it and get themselves home safe.”
We then received a report stating that a male well-known to the police was trying to “smash his way through” someone’s door at a house in multiple occupation (HMO).
We were told there was a significant history between the informant, the victim and the suspect – enough to require firearms assistance at the scene alongside our team.
Upon arriving at the address, it was determined that no crimes had been committed. The victim expressed fear due to the extensive history between them, but the suspect had allegedly been banging on the door and departed prior to the police arriving. While no crimes were disclosed on this occasion, the victim remained fearful for his safety.
Reflecting on the evening, PC Davies said: “Overall it’s been good. It’s been really nice because we had a mixture of plain patrols and liveried vehicles with the hi-vis.
“We’ve been able to work on intelligence gain from the community around drug dealing and anti-social behaviour hotspots. Sending in plain clothes, they might spot something. We were quite successful with getting some stop searches in because of that.
“It’s really nice that we’ve been able to work as a team; we always do, to be fair, but being able to hit the hotspots in our area – in and around Stalybridge, Mossley and Carrbook – was great. We’ve done a variety of things tonight from traffic offences through to general ASB and drug dealing.
She continued: “For this week of action, there seems to be a spike in vehicle crimes, specifically thefts of motorbikes and off-road bikes. Drug dealing is always a big thing with us too; we’ve got some significant drug dealing hotspots in our areas. However, measures have been put in place, working with councils, to make certain areas less attractive and that seems to have moved drug deals onto smaller streets.
“Obviously, residents around there don’t want the anti-social behaviour, they don’t want the people congregating, doing drugs and dealing drugs, so that was one of our big focuses tonight.
“One thing that I’ve also been to tonight was my neighbourhood watch meeting. It’s a really good way that I can engage with my community and get information from them.
“Sometimes we’re able to gather a bit of intelligence and we can also provide safeguarding advice with regards to burglaries as well as explaining how important it is to get information from them. One of the things that also comes up a lot at the meetings is speeding vehicles and people just not taking care on the roads, so I think we’ve managed to pick a couple of things up tonight in regard to that.
“We want the public to know we’re here to help you – we care. It’s really crucial that we do have that time to step back and listen to our communities, so if there’s anything that anyone has any worries about they can report it to us and we will act on it.”
Sergeant Marsden added: “[The Neighbourhood Week of Action] has been really successful so far, with several successful arrests made. My team cover the East Neighbourhood side and we’ve had a really good impact there, and obviously the other neighbourhood teams covering the rest of Tameside have had their own individual results and good work.
“At the moment, we’re targeting our burglary hotspots with hi-vis patrols and prevention stuff, looking at drug dealing, working on intelligence, ASB, retail theft, just getting stuck into everything that matters to the community really.
“Please report anything that’s affecting your life because we do take it seriously. If you report through Crimestoppers intelligence, it lands on my page and I do review that intelligence so we will take action. If it’s not with that first report but it gets continually reported, we’ll look into it and things will get done.”