MY name is Ross Meredith. I am very pleased to introduce myself to you as the new Neighbourhood Inspector for South Wirral, formed by the merging of Heswall and Bromborough police neighbourhoods.
Based at Bromborough police station, I am responsible for delivering policing across the five wards of Heswall, Clatterbridge, Eastham, Bebington and Bromborough.
A geographically large neighbourhood, bordering Cheshire and covering the whole of south Wirral from the River Dee to the River Mersey, this is certainly a diverse area with distinct communities all with their own needs and priorities.
My new team consists of three sergeants, 10 constables and 10 police community support and traffic officers. In addition I am grateful for the dedication, help and support from special constables and community volunteers who give up their time freely to work alongside regular officers throughout the week.
My neighbourhood is further supported by patrol officers who answer 999 calls and address neighbourhood priorities 24 hours a day.
I am in my 17th year as a Merseyside police officer; all my service has been on Wirral. Most has been dynamic frontline patrol shift work. It is from this role that I come to south Wirral neighbourhood.
I have also worked as a wildlife officer and as control room inspector. From a policing perspective, I know the Wirral very well.
My priorities are to increase public satisfaction and confidence in the police, to reduce antisocial behaviour and to actively work to reduce crime and the fear of crime.
Antisocial behaviour and levels of crime in south Wirral are statistically much lower than other parts of Wirral and Merseyside, which makes the area a great place to live, visit, or work.
Since much of the crime that does take place in south Wirral is opportunist, some very simple steps can prevent you from becoming a victim of crime.
As the mornings get colder this January, please do not be tempted to leave your vehicle ‘defrosting’ unattended with the engine running.
To do so on a road is actually an offence, even on the driveway, plus you are making your vehicle available to an opportunist car thief.
If stolen you would not be covered by your insurance if the keys have been left in the ignition. A delivery driver lost his van in Heswall last week, having left the keys in the ignition whilst he was inside a store making a delivery.
Lots of good crime prevention advice appeared in this column through 2013. Please do follow this advice to avoid becoming a victim of crime in 2014.
When you leave your car, make sure that it is locked, in a well-lit area if possible and that valuables are either removed or certainly not on display. It is a good idea, too, to use a cloth to remove that telltale circular mark left on your windscreen by your SatNav holder.
At home, please remember to lock your front and back doors – even when you are in. Most burglaries reported on Wirral happened because people forgot to lock their doors or windows. Remember to lock your shed or garage, too!
Lots of simple measures make your home less attractive to burglars, including: low voltage external lighting, security lighting, an alarm, light timer switches.
Very, very importantly... do not keep your car keys within sight of your front door. Recent Wirral burglaries have involved burglars using a ’hook and cane’ method to steal car and house keys through the letterbox and then use them to steal the car itself.
To help us continue to make Wirral safer and target matters that concern you most, please continue to tell us about crimes or any form of suspicious activity.
If you wish to speak to your local neighbourhood team or to make an appointment, please call 101, the non-emergency telephone number.
Alternatively visit www .merseyside.police.uk for details of local police surgeries – 2014 dates will be published in the next few weeks.
You can also provide information anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
It is a national charity independent of the police.