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    • nottspolice A crime fighting scheme is expanding in Africa thanks to the support of Nottinghamshire Police’s Sarah Smithurst. Sarah, who is responsible for co-ordinating information passed to Nottinghamshire Police through the Crimestoppers charity, has helped to set up a similar scheme in Ghana. She was first contacted by police there after they heard about the success of Crimestoppers and decided a similar approach could help their fight against organised crime, particularly the drugs and firearms trades. In August 2009, the first Crimefighters project was launched in Accra, the country’s capital, with Sarah’s help and support. It works along similar lines to Crimestoppers, although the scheme is not independently run as it is in Britain, with calls handled by the Ghanaian police. It still allows for rewards to be paid for information which leads to the conviction of criminals. On Monday (February 14), Sarah will arrive in Ghana to oversee the introduction of the second Crimefighters scheme in Takoradi, the capital of the country’s western region. She said: “I’m hoping this will be just the beginning of the growth of Crimefighters across Ghana and potentially other African countries. “The original scheme is really proving its worth, with arrests being made as a result of information coming in about all sorts of crimes, but mainly drugs and firearms. “Businesses in Ghana have given their backing to the project and we have relied on their goodwill and support to really get it off the ground and get the message out there.” Sarah’s fortnight working in Ghana has been timed to coincide with the arrival of a huge container full of donations from people in Britain to help the Ghanaian Police Service and schools and orphanages in the Accra area. This will be the second container of donations that Sarah has arranged to be transported there since she first visited the country in 2009. She said: “On my first visit, I was there to support the police in working out how we could set up Crimefighters. While I was working with them, I saw how in need of the equipment and basic protective items that our officers are automatically given in this country. “They had no stab vests or high visibility clothing and are working in extremely challenging conditions, with little or no protection. Although their uniforms are very smart and they take a lot of pride in their professional appearance, basic protective equipment is not available to them. “I also wanted to see the real Ghana and went to visit schools and orphanages near the police headquarters. What I saw broke my heart and it made me realise how much we take for granted in this country. I knew I needed to do something to help.” When she arrived back in England, Sarah enlisted the help of National Police Aid Convoys, a charity started in 1993 by police officers in Nottinghamshire and continues to procure and deliver humanitarian aid across the globe. With the help of their dedicated band of volunteers, they helped her organise the packing and transportation of the first container to Ghana in August 2009 as well as the one that will arrive there next week. Sarah appealed to people across Nottinghamshire to donate whatever they could. She said: “I continue to be amazed at the generosity of people who have supported our work. Schoolchildren donated shoeboxes filled with toys and letters and photographs for their counterparts in Ghana. “Couples who have no children of their own went out and bought nappies for the orphans. Six police forces donated surplus or decommissioned equipment, including batons, riot shields and high-visibility jackets. Local businesses, schools and hospitals also donated equipment which will change many many lives for the better.” To get an idea of the scale of the Nottinghamshire public’s generosity, this container, measures 40ft by 9ft by 7ft, weighs 8 tons, will take six hours to unload and there is not a spare inch of space on board. Sarah, who was made an honorary Superintendent in the Ghanaian Police to thank her for her support for Crimefighters, said: “I can only thank the people who have helped so much to make this dream of mine a reality. It is worth all the effort when you see the smiles on the faces of the people we are helping and you know that we are really making a difference.” Visit our website Become a fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitetr Watch us on YouTube at
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    • nottspolice Nottinghamshire Police's Crimestoppers co-ordinator Sarah Smithurst has thanked the people of Nottinghamshire for their support in helping to fight crime and change lives in Ghana. Sarah visited the country in February to help set up a second branch of crime reporting scheme Crime Fighters, which is based on Crimestoppers in the UK. Sarah was called upon to give advice and support to introduce the scheme in Ghana, due to her long-standing work with Crimestoppers. Before her latest visit, Sarah appealed to the people of Nottinghamshire and further afield to donate items, such as toys, clothes, equipment and books, that could be given to a school and hospital. She also received donations of decommissioned equipment, such as stab vests and riot shields, from six police forces for donation to the Ghanaian Police Force. Arrangements for the items to be shipped to Ghana were made by National Police Aid Convoys, based at Mansfield. In this video, Sarah says thank you to those that have helped to really make a difference to people's lives in Ghana and presents some footage taken during the trip so people who have supported her appeal can see how their help has had an impact there. Special thanks to Richard Tempest-Mitchell, from Manor School, in Mansfield, who recorded much of the footage. Sarah is planning another trip to Ghana and is already appealing for more items to take with her. If you would like to donate any unwanted items, in good condition, contact Sarah on 0300 300 9999. For more news and appeals from Nottinghamshire Police, visit To find out more about National Police Aid Convoys, visit Follow Nottinghamshire Police on Twitter at Become a fan on Facebook at
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    • nottspolice A project to ‘design out’ crime was officially launched in a Nottinghamshire village on Friday (March 11). East Stoke is believed to be the first community in the country to have had security in all its homes upgraded and CCTV installed to cover the entire village. The project began two years ago and has now resulted in the community being awared Secured By Design status by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO). Secured by Design is a police initiative to encourage the building industry to adopt crime prevention measures in the design of developments to assist in reducing the opportunity for crime and the fear of crime, creating a safer and more secure environment. The project involved ensuring that doors and windows has effective locks, and that garden and shed security measures are also taken. Installation of security lighting and intruder alarms has also been included. The village’s CCTV and street lighting coverage have also been extended. Nottinghamshire Police has teamed up with the county council and the village’s Neighbourhood Watch group, led by resident Sid Davies, to develop the initiative, which also received National Lottery Funding. Assistant Chief Constable Ian Ackerley, who came up with the proposal for achieving SBD status, said: "We all like to feel our communities are becoming increasingly safer, and across Nottinghamshire crime is reducing at a faster rate than anywhere else in England and Wales. "Those reductions have been achieved by employing a plethora of different approaches which are appropriate to each of our communities. "What is happening in East Stoke is truly innovative, resulting from police and partner organisations listening to the community here and responding with a solution that has been talked about in Nottinghamshire for some time. "I’m delighted to say that this project is now complete, thanks in part to funding from Nottinghamshire County Council and the National Lottery, and that East Stoke is ready to become a trailblazer for improving community safety and, consequently, its residents’ quality of life. "I’d like to pay tribute to the dedication and commitment of the residents of East Stoke, and in particular Sid Davies, who has been the driving force to develop this initiative. Their input has been inspirational and every bit as important as the work of the partner agencies involved. "For that alone, they deserve the greater peace of mind that this project will hopefully bring them." Listen to this boo to find out from Neighbourhood Watch chair Sid Davies, ACC Ian Ackerley and Architectural Liaison Officer Kevin Brown, how the project has developed. For more information about policing in Nottinghamshire visit
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    • nottspolice As 45,000 information cards are distributed around Nottinghamshire this month to help people experiencing domestic violence to find help, one survivor tells her story. Here, Jackie, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, talks about her experiences of domestic violence and how she found the strength to break free. If you are experiencing domestic violence and would like to find out how you can get help visit Follow us on Twitter at or become a fan on Facebook
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    • nottspolice Police are urging 'trick or treaters' not to make life frightful for other members of the community on Halloween. And Nottinghamshire Police is asking those who do not want trick or treaters knocking on their door to download, print off and display a specially-designed poster explaining this. Residents subjected to antisocial behaviour on 31 October are also being asked to help prevent the police Control Rooms from becoming overloaded by only calling 999 for genuine emergencies. "It's all about making sure everyone is safe and happy on Halloween," said Chief Inspector Ted Antill, who works in the control room. "We have guidance for people's children to follow if they go out trick or treating and while much of it may sound like common sense, it's better to follow it and be safe. "It's also important for young people to respect the wishes of those who do not want to be disturbed. "They should be aware that callers at the door after dark can be intimidating for some elderly residents, and annoying for those with young families." Ch Insp Antill also wanted to reinforce the message about calls to the police on the night. "We can experience an increase in 999 calls of up to 25 per cent at Halloween so would urge people to call 0300 300 9999 unless life is at risk or a crime is in progress," he said. "Those extra 999 calls can lead to delays in reaching those who urgently need help, so use the 0300 number if appropriate or if you can wait till a less busy time, then please do so." The 'No trick or treat' poster can be downloaded by clicking on this link Anyone planning on celebrating Halloween by 'trick or treating' should follow these simple rules: · Children should always go trick or treating with an adult. · Keep to areas that are well lit with streetlights, or alternatively take a torch. · Stay with friends -- don't split into smaller groups unless accompanied by an adult. · Choose a costume which does not restrict a child's movement or sight. · Consider using face paint as masks can limit a child's vision, which could pose a danger when crossing roads. · Reiterate the importance of good behaviour to children to avoid being a nuisance to residents. · Don't knock on doors where there is a 'No trick or treat' sign. · Don't enter any house -- stay on the doorstep. · Be careful not to frighten vulnerable people, especially the elderly. · Never throw items like eggs and flour - this is not a trick and can cause significant damage and misery. It can also be classed as criminal damage or even assault, and a night of 'fun' could result in a visit from the police. Visit our website Follow us on Twitter Become a fan on Facebook
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    • nottspolice Hear Insp Al Pearson's warning to potential cannabis growers following a fire at a flat in Vale Road, Colwick, in the early hours of Wednesday 20 April, which was caused by a plug socket overloaded with hydroponic equipment used for growing cannabis plants. For more news from Nottinghamshire Police visit Follow us on Twitter at Become a fan on Facebook at http://www.facebook.como/nottspolice See our story on YouTube at
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    • nottspolice Students are being urged to lock up their rooms in halls of residences and student homes as they embark on a new academic year in Nottingham. Crime Reduction Manager Dave Bagshaw has been interviewed by Emma Lautman at URN, The University of Nottingham's student radio station, to advise students how they can keep themselves safe throughout the academic year. Nottinghamshire Police is working with the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University to hammer home property security and personal safety advice and reduce burglaries. As part of a ‘Welcome Weekend’, high visibility officers, university staff and volunteers, will be patrolling streets this weekend (September 18 and 19), speaking with students and handing out crime prevention advice. Officers will also be looking for insecurities, such as unlocked doors and open windows, and advising residents to keep them closed. Over the next few weeks, police will visit both of the universities’ freshers’ fairs to speak with students about securing their homes and personal safety. Students will be offered free SmartWater – a property marking liquid - and given free registration to the Immobilise database, which allows stolen property to be registered and easily returned to its rightful owner if it is stolen in a burglary and later recovered by police. Local Safer Neighbourhood Inspector Anwaar Ahmed said: “A large proportion of burglaries committed against students happen because doors are left unlocked and windows are left open. “Officers will be looking for these insecurities and speaking with students, to ensure they can minimise the chance of becoming a victim of crime and losing expensive items. “I advise all students to lock all doors and windows, even if you are in the house, and keep valuable property hidden well away from peering eyes." Since 2003, police and partners have been running Operation Country – an initiative tackling burglary in Lenton, Radford and Canning Circus. In this time, the number of student burglaries has steadily fallen and between 2007/08 and 2008/09 there was a 59 per cent fall in break-ins. Throughout the academic year, police analyse intelligence to identify vulnerable areas and use both overt and covert tactics to deter burglaries taking place and catch offenders. Insp Ahmed added: “The public and student population can rest assured we will use all the tools in our box to deter and apprehend offenders. “And those who set out to break into properties and steal from others should understand they are being watched and we will not rest in our pursuit of you.” Nottingham University’s ‘Love Your Stuff’ bike will be out and about over the next few weeks advertising crime prevention and signposting students to, which promotes student safety and crime prevention. Melanie Futer, Off-Campus Student Affairs Manager at the University of Nottingham, said: "Most burglars are opportunists, and a third of burglaries occurring are through insecurities such as open doors and windows. "We're hoping that by offering some simple advice, we can help more students to take responsibility for their possessions and make sure they don't give burglars any chances.” You can hear the interview on URN's The Pulse show on Saturday 25 September at
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    Why Nottingham's new trams are being built abroad
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    Gem 106 looks back at the best moments of the Olympic Torch visits in the East Midlands