A Fresh challenge

Moving away from home and starting a new life is a challenging  thing for anyone to do. When you multiply that by hundreds of people, you start to realise the kind of challenge that comes with policing Freshers’ Fortnight.


As a licensing officer, my role is to work alongside licensed premises in Luton to ensure that the night-time economy  are policed effectively and that venues are working within the law, to promote the prevention of crime and disorder.

But, for two weeks a year, we see hundreds of new students descend upon the nightlife hotspots of Luton and Bedford and it’s our role to ensure they stay safe and – wherever possible – sensible.

I used to work in Response, which is a different challenge entirely from the one I face now. But at the heart of both roles is my duty to protect people and keep them safe.

Over the past two weeks during Freshers’ Fortnight, I’ve helped steward as many as 700 revelling youngsters at a time. Continue reading

A contract to kill

When you’re working against the clock to prevent someone from being killed, every second counts.

It doesn’t get more pressured than that.

923 Pushpa GuildWhen the case of Paul Vass first came in, I ended up working 18 hours straight. This is common in the first few days of a major investigation.

There is no time to think of anything else as you are so focused on what you need to do to capture evidence to either catch the person responsible, or in this case stop him from carrying out a killing.

I joined the police in 1986 and these days leading a major investigation is a lot different.

We have so many specialist resources and experts now from scenes of crime officers to digital media investigators and analysts.

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No smoke without fire

PC Rob Sparkes, from Bedfordshire Police’s licensing department, gives an insight into his role after a crackdown on the sale of illicit tobacco in Bedfordshire.

CigarettesAs a licensing officer, part of my role is to support local authority Trading Standards by helping them run operations into the sale of such products, and the breach of licences.
We are there to help keep the peace and enforce the notices handed to any vendor found to be selling illegal items.

In partnership, we go round and target premises where our intelligence has suggested under-the-counter sales of tobacco are taking place.

We take control of the shop for a period of time and search the premises with a sniffer dog – going through store rooms and under the counter.

We see some interesting things.
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