With our campaign to revive Heanor in full force, we took to the streets with the people behind the scenes keeping crime to a minimum in the town.
The six members of the Heanor Safer Neighbourhood Team are the town’s presence on the ground against anti-social behaviour, drink, drugs and petty crime.
PC Rich Martin, known locally simply as ‘Martin’, has been pounding the beat in Heanor for the past five years and the top-bobby showed the News some of the issues facing the town, on one of his regular beat walks.
“It’s a busy patch, it’s a large town and it’s got as large built up area as well as a really mixed bag of people to deal with.” Said the 30-year-old policeman, who used to work for the response team before taking up a post at the Heanor station.
“We are a small team but we have a very similar work ethic. We take it very personally.”
the News joined PC Martin and Special Constable Rob Williamson as they headed around the town on a busy Friday.
Mainly PC Martin said the team is often occupied with younger people, underage drinking and bouts of anti-social behaviour.
earlier in the year, he and PCSO Emma Fisher, caught ten youths who had built a den and were drinking in the memorial park area, which was designated an in an alcohol exclusion zone in 2008.
“That was three or four times higher than that when we found it last,” the constable said, pointing to a pile of green beer cans. “but we got the lads to come and take the cans away themselves.
“What they were doing was having fires around here, and they would get drunk here - then they would fall out into the local area and cause issues.”
PC Martin says the team vary patrol routes so troublemakers do not get used to beat patterns. But being an officer now is much more than keeping eyes peeled while on the streets.
Recent reports suggest that a black bandana wearing gang from Heanor has been promoting itself using Facebook, although PC Martin said no crimes have been reported by gangs matching their description.
Regularly drop-in meetings with the public and visits to local schools help the team to gather information about crime hotspots and to react to residents concerns. A recent complaint of ilegal motorbike usage on Shipley Country Park led to seven drivers being disqualified for street racing.
It’s a busy job, but it’s worth it says PC Martin. “I’m happy that people can come to a park on a day like this and not experience any issues, the kids are all swimming and enjoying themselves – and there are no gangs.”