Posted: Monday 2nd November 2015
The unusually warm temperatures of September have afforded us a little more time to relax in our gardens and enjoy balmy evenings outdoors ahead of the arrival of winter. Before long, the nights will draw in and the colder weather will bring the usual seasonal challenges to local policing that test our resources and keep our officers and staff incredibly busy.
Changes in season increase policing demands for different reasons. In winter, road traffic accidents typically increase as road users grapple with hazardous conditions such as fog, ice or snow. Bad weather is often blamed for road accidents but while bad weather no doubt increases the hazards of driving, the real cause of such collisions is of course inappropriate driving for the conditions that exist and changes in the way we drive can often eliminate the risk of a serious injury accident.
In wet weather, stopping distances are at least double those required for braking on dry roads – and can be ten times greater - which is why police officers, road safety campaigners and emergency service workers still highlight the importance of leaving an adequate distance between your own vehicle and the road user in front, especially during wet, icy or snowy weather.
Winter also brings the typical spikes in antisocial behaviour that accompany occasions such as Halloween and Bon Fire Night which can increase fear and intimidation in our communities, especially among the older generation. Such celebrations keep local police very busy and can continue days after the event, especially where fireworks are concerned, stretching scarce resources.
And then of course as the festive season approaches, we face the task of protecting partygoers from alcohol-related crime including violence and sexual assault and dealing with the excesses of the Christmas party season.
Whichever scenario of risk winter presents, it’s all a matter of being sensible. We all have the power to decide how susceptible to crime or injury we are willing to be. If we choose to be accountable for our actions, then we can greatly reduce the threat. This means driving in an appropriate manner according to road conditions to protect ourselves and other road users. This means drinking sensible levels of alcohol this Christmas to avoid becoming a victim or perpetrator of crime. And it means showing compassion for our community so they don’t have to live in fear or isolation.
Being sensible isn’t boring. It’s about being clever.
Police and Crime Commissioner