How the dark nights provide a different policing challenge

Chief Superintendent Sarah Pitt.
Chief Superintendent Sarah Pitt.

It only feels like yesterday that the Tall Ships sailed into Wearside and the Red Arrows lit up the summer skies above Sunderland.

Next summer already has the makings of another exciting one for the city too following this week’s news that the Spice Girls will be playing at the Stadium of Light in June 2019.

But first, almost in the blink of an eye, Halloween and Bonfire Night have passed and attentions turn towards the winter months ahead.

For police, this time of year provides a different challenge but work is already well underway as our officers look to tackle anti-social behaviour, burglary and other crimes that have historically risen under the cover of darkness.

Cutting-edge, mobile CCTV cameras have been installed at some of Sunderland’s antisocial behaviour hot spots and we continue to work closely with the local authority to offer reassurance to those most vulnerable in our communities.

Last week, in partnership with Tyne & Wear Fire & Rescue Service and others, police launched Operation Extinguish to tackle antisocial behaviour in Southwick, while our neighbourhood teams across South Tyneside are also working tirelessly to spread crime prevention messages and keep residents safe.

On Sunday morning, however, we will fall silent along with the rest of the country as we remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

Many of our officers will attend Remembrance Day services across the force both in a personal and professional capacity to pay their respects, as well as support organisers in ensuring the events run smoothly.

It is always an incredibly emotive day, and this weekend takes on extra significance given that Remembrance Sunday falls on the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

On that subject, it was nice to see that one of our long-serving police community support officers in Sunderland has been paying his own respects in the run-up to Remembrance Day.

A keen historian, PCSO Jim Tuckwell has extensively researched the Durham Light Infantry (DLI) regiment between the years of 1918 and 1946 in his spare time, and he was keen to remember some of this region’s policing casualties.

He has been paying tribute to a different fallen police officer who lost their life in the line of duty every day since the start of the month, and will continue to tell their stories on Twitter: @NPSSunSW through until Sunday. It’s well worth a look, if you haven’t seen it already.

If you are attending a Remembrance Day event at the weekend, stay safe – and make sure to say hello to our officers who’ll be pleased to see you.

•Chief Superintendent Sarah Pitt, Southern Area Command, Northumbria Police