New Assistant Chief Constables appointed in Devon and Cornwall

Following a nationally advertised and a highly competitive process, Devon & Cornwall Police have appointed two new Assistant Chief Constables to the Force’s Executive team.

Chief Superintendent Nikki Leaper and Chief Superintendent Glen Mayhew will formally start in their roles in February.  Both officers have a long service within the force across many disciplines and working across Devon and Cornwall.

Chief Superintendent Leaper is appointed as Assistant Chief Constable for Innovation, Contact and Demand; a role which includes the contact centre for 999 and 101.

Chief Superintendent Mayhew is appointed Assistant Chief Constable for Operations; a role which he carried out during the successful G7 Leaders Summit in 2021.

Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer QPM said:

“I am pleased to welcome Nikki and Glen to their new roles within Devon and Cornwall Police.  They bring with them a wealth of experience and a career in serving the public and those in need.  They have worked in roles across the force and will bring that expertise and knowledge with them into the executive team.

They are respected by colleagues, partners and will bring increased focus on delivering operational policing and improved service to our communities and visitors.  Together with Executive colleagues and the wider workforce, we are intent on delivering the Police and Crime Plan as well as the wider government focus in reducing crime and violence”.

Chief Superintendent Leaper joined Devon & Cornwall Police in 2003 having previously worked in international customer service. During her policing career she has held a number of roles in uniform, intelligence, business and operations. In 2008 she spent sixteen months of her career at the Home Office on secondment.

In 2014 Nikki was invited to be part of the Strategic Alliance. A collaboration programme between Devon and Cornwall and Dorset Police and took on the role of Programme Delivery Manager in charge of implementation. Three years later she moved to Head of Alliance Specialist Operations.

Nikki received a National Special Recognition award from the British Association for Women in Policing in 2017, in recognition of her work with mentoring and coaching others.

In 2019 she successfully passed the National Chief Officer selection process and attended the Strategic Command Course in 2020. Since then she has carried out the roles of Head of Alliance Operations, Policing Commander for South Devon and in 2021 took on the role of Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Operations, responsible for the Force’s capability for operational policing, specifically including specialist capabilities and strategic policing requirements.

Nikki is a Strategic Firearms Commander, Public Order Public Safety Commander and a Major Incident Commander. She also holds a Masters in Applied Criminology from Cambridge University which focused on evidence based policing.

Chief Superintendent Mayhew has been with Devon & Cornwall Police since 1993. He has since held Command roles including Director of Intelligence, BCU Commander for South Devon and Commander of Alliance Operations (covering Devon & Cornwall Police and Dorset Police)

He is the South West regional lead for public order, armed policing, roads policing and hostage and crisis negotiation.

Glen was the Police Gold Commander for the G7 world leaders’ summit in St Ives as well as the Devon & Cornwall Police Gold Commander for Covid-19 and the Chair of the peninsula strategic co-ordinating group, co-ordinating the partnership response to Covid-19.

He is the Chair of the Local Resilience Forum overseeing partnership preparation and planning for major incidents and civil emergencies across Devon & Cornwall. He is a qualified Specialist Strategic Firearms Commander, Public Order Public Safety Commander and Major Incident Commander and has previously led the negotiator team across Devon & Cornwall.

Glen has been actively involved as a surf lifesaving instructor for over 20 years and in 2018 he was elected onto the board of Trustees for Surf Life Saving GB.

He is national police lead for Search & Rescue and drowning prevention.

Source:: Devon and Cornwall Police News

Chief Constable’s Foundation donates cheque to Devon and Cornwall Food Action

The donation came entirely from funds raised by the Chief Constable’s Foundation throughout the year, after DCFA was chosen as the Force’s Charity of the Year for 2021 by officers and staff.

The money raised each year by the Chief Constable’s Foundation is spread across three areas: The Charity of the Year, The Community Fund and the Staff Transformation Fund, which supports staff and officers who volunteer for groups, charities and organisations.

This donation will be used to help eradicate food poverty in Devon and Cornwall, which sees the charity redistributing produce received from food suppliers and manufacturers to those in need.

DCFA is currently running a new pilot scheme with schools in Plymouth where parent support advisors help to identify families in need of food parcels.

Alan Dunne, Chairman of DCFA, said: “Our relationship with Devon & Cornwall Police is paramount to what we do. We react to issues and cases we are presented with swiftly and without judgment, because for us it’s all about getting a positive result. The relationship we have built with the police staff and officers in Plymouth is complimentary without a doubt.”

The produce donated to DCFA does not meet the high standards for commercial sale, but is still fit for consumption and would otherwise be wasted. By donating this food to DCFA instead of sending it to landfill, supermarkets and producers are reducing their carbon footprint, decreasing food waste and more importantly fulfilling the social responsibility of helping families and individuals who are suffering from food poverty.

Devon & Cornwall Police Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer said: “The DCFA was voted as the Force charity by our staff and officers, the very people who witness the hardships that our communities endure every day. We recognise that unfortunately food poverty is a real problem, especially in our rural areas. To be able to support such a brilliant charity who directly tackle some of the issues we see on a daily basis is very rewarding.

“I am proud of the volunteer work our staff and officers continue to undertake on top of their duties. The Chief Constable’s Foundation aims to support their hard work and dedication to our communities, as well as the charities they volunteer for which make this all possible.”

Find out more about Devon and Cornwall Food Action on their website: https://devonandcornwallfoodaction.org/.

Source:: Devon and Cornwall Police News

Members of drugs gang which trafficked cocaine into Devon, Cornwall and Bristol are jailed

Five members of an organised crime gang who helped traffic hundreds of thousands of pounds-worth of cocaine into the South West have been jailed for a combined total of 40 years and 11 months years.

Adi Lleshi, Mark Vasija, Steven Evans, John Minchinton and Tyler Harrison were part of an organised outfit which saw high-purity drugs delivered from London to dealers in Brixham, Plymouth, Penzance and Bristol.

Some 3kg of the narcotic and £185,000 of cash was seized in a single day when officers swooped on key players following a surveillance operation led by Devon and Cornwall Police.

The five men were put behind bars at Exeter Crown Court today [Wednesday 19 January] – with one other, Michael Williams, due to be sentenced at a later date.

Albanians Lleshi and his brother-in-law Vasija, from Essex, moved cocaine out of the capital to Devon, Cornwall and Bristol.

They supplied Minchinton in Torbay; Williams in Bristol; Evans in Penzance; and Harrison in Plymouth, who all shifted the drugs on for sale.

Minchinton, Lleshi, and Williams were found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine following a month-long trial in October 2021.

Vasija, Harrison and Evans had all previously admitted the same charge.

Senior Investigating Officer Detective Chief Inspector Ben Davies said: “This was a substantial and complex investigation in which large quantities of Class-A drugs destined for the streets of Plymouth, Bristol, Torquay and Penzance were seized.

“The large quantities of criminal money also recovered demonstrated the extent of the drugs empire and foothold in the South West of England.”

The offences happened in the second half of 2019.

Vasija, aged 40, also of Buckhurst Hill, Essex, was jailed for 11 years and two months.

Lleshi, 25, of Buckhurst Hill, Essex, was sentenced to 10 years and six months in prison.

Minchinton, 42, of Kings Drive, Brixham, was also found guilty of obstructing a police officer and sentenced to nine years and four months in prison.

Evans, 43, of Mount Lidden, Penzance, was sentenced to five years and seven months in prison.

Harrison, 27, of Torridge Way, Plymouth, was jailed for four years and four months.

Williams, 59, of Padstow Road, Bristol, is due to be sentenced at a later date.

All of the convictions are the result of a large-scale investigation by Devon and Cornwall Police’s Serious and Organised Crime Branch, aided by the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit.

The trial in October 2021 heard how Lleshi – an integral part of the supply line – clocked up thousands of miles in his Mercedes driving from Essex to the South West and back again delivering drugs and collecting cash.

Unknown to him, he was being followed by trained surveillance officers.

He was covertly watched making frequent and fleeting visits to Minchinton’s Brixham home carrying packages and bags to and from the property.

Jurors were told how Lleshi’s behaviour was the same when he visited Williams in Bristol, Evans in Penzance, and Harrison in Plymouth.

Police stopped him outside of Williams’s home on 28 November 2019 and caught him with a bag containing 3kg of cocaine with a street value of £250,000.

Williams was also spotted in the house next-door, where his elderly parents lived, stuffing items into a carrier bag, the court heard.

Officers recovered a half-kilogram of cocaine and nearly £160,000 in cash in a cupboard under the stairs.

On the same day in Plymouth, police raided Harrison’s flat and discovered a drugs den with dozens of bags of cocaine – worth more than £10,000 – wrapped up ready for onward sale. There were lists of names, contacts and debts outstanding, as well as more than £1,500 in cash.

The address had been visited by Lleshi, with his familiar shopping bag, and Vasija on 9 November 2019 when they made a cocaine delivery.

Officers also raided the Penzance home of Evans on 28 November 2019 and recovered £10,000 of cocaine wrapped, or being prepared for, onward supply in his bedroom along with lists of names, contacts, and outstanding debts. Some £25,000 in cash was found in a chest of drawers next to his bed.

Police had previously followed Minchinton to the caravan park home of an associate in Chudleigh on 9 October 2019 and raided the property, recovering an ounce of cocaine worth £1,000.

In Brixham, officers had twice raided Minchinton’s home. On 12 July 2019 they seized an expensive, encrypted mobile phone and a set of scales from the kitchen, where traces of cocaine were found on the surfaces.

On 26 November 2019, further traces of cocaine on a spoon and plastic wrappings were discovered. Officers witnessed Minchinton flushing what was believed to be cocaine down the toilet as they entered the property.

Lleshi, Vasija and Minchinton all had mobile phones with the highest level of encryption.

DCI Davies added: “Sentences handed out today send a clear message to those who feel that they can transport drugs into our communities, set up and sell them.

“The judge was very clear that this group of criminals were sophisticated, organised and operating across the region.

“I commend the professionalism and dedication of the investigating team in Devon and Cornwall for the lengths they have gone to ensuring that the organised crime group were identified, arrested and convicted.

“This complex investigation took place during the national Covid pandemic which brought challenging conditions to both the team and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

“Working together ensures that those who commit serious organised crime will be dealt with robustly by the police and CPS.

“I thank the CPS and those that work within it for their continued support in making the communities of Devon and Cornwall safer for all.

“Devon and Cornwall Police will continue to pursue these organised crime groups in order to protect the communities they target.

“I would urge any residents to have the confidence to call the police or Crimestoppers to report drug-dealing activity so that we can be made aware and look to stop it as soon as possible.”

Ann Hampshire, Senior Crown Prosecutor in the CPS South West Complex Casework Unit, said: “Because of the scale and complexity of these investigations, we worked closely with a team of specialist officers from Devon and Cornwall Police from 2019 to build a strong case against this organised crime group.

“The case took many months of careful investigation and preparation, as we needed to obtain and review vast amounts of material to build a picture of the criminal network. Covid restrictions impacted significantly on the investigation and prosecution of this case, but we were able to demonstrate the individual role that each defendant played in the large-scale county lines drug supply of cocaine from London into the South West.

“This organised crime group ran a substantial business operation distributing many kilos of cocaine into the West Country and generating hundreds of thousands of pounds of income. Proceedings continue to confiscate any assets that the defendants may have so that they do not profit from their crimes”.

• If you have been affected by the above article, you can access information on drug and alcohol support on the following link: www.dc.police.uk/drugs-alcohol-support
You can also visit the Frank website to find local drug treatment services.

Source:: Devon and Cornwall Police News

Serious assault, Newton Abbot

Police are appealing for witnesses and information following reports of a serious assault in Newton Abbot.

The incident is reported to have taken place near the bus station on Sherbourne Road between 10pm and 10.20pm on Thursday 13 January.

The victims, a 17-year-old male and a 17-year-old female, were assaulted by a male who was in possession of a knife.

The male victim sustained injuries to his head and back. The female victim sustained an injury to her hand.

Officers are continuing to carry out a number of enquiries in relation to this matter and are keen to speak to anyone who was in the area at the time and may have information which could assist the investigation.

Anyone who witnessed the assault, and anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 quoting CR/003670/22.

Source:: Devon and Cornwall Police News

Assault, Plymouth

Police were called at around 3.25pm with a report of an assault at an address in Hotham Place, Plymouth.

Ambulance also attended and a man was taken to hospital with what are currently believed to be serious injuries.

Officers, including armed units, remain in the area while enquiries continue.

Police are appealing for anyone who witnessed the incident, or has information, to call 101, or email [email protected], quoting log 481 of 18 January.

 

Source:: Devon and Cornwall Police News

Serious assault, Torquay

Police are appealing for witnesses following a serious assault last night in Torquay.

Units attended an address on Warren Road, Torquay at around 10pm on Monday 17 January following reports of a disturbance.

Officers attended and found a man in his 30’s having sustained a number of stab wounds. He was taken to Torbay District Hospital with serious injuries but is currently in a stable condition.

Detective Inspector Dave Pebworth said: “We are investigating a serious assault that took place last night on Warren Road and we are appealing to the public for information.

“We believe that the incident spilling out into the street and our victim who was visibly injured was helped by a female passer-by who came to his assistance, but she had left the scene by the time units attended.

“It is vital that this person comes forward and speaks to us as she could hold information vital to our investigation. “

A 29-year-old local man and a 38-year-old man from Rotherham area were arrested last night; police have also since arrested a 51-year-old local man this morning in connection to this matter.

DI Pebworth added: “Three men are now in police custody. The two men aged 29 and 38 who we arrested last night are being held on suspicion of attempted murder. The man who we have today arrested aged 51 is being held on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

“I would like to reassure the public that this is a contained matter, and we are not looking for anyone else in connection to this assault.

“Local residents can expect to see a heightened police presence in an around Warren Road as we undertake door-to-door enquiries and continue with our investigation. I ask that anyone who has any information contacts the police as soon as possible.”

Anyone with any information that could aid officers with the investigation, including CCTV of the surround area, is asked to contact 101 or [email protected] quoting crime reference CR/004830/22.

You can also give information anonymously via Crimestoppers.

Source:: Devon and Cornwall Police News

Total of 207 arrests made as part of Christmas drink and drug driving crackdown

The annual Christmas drink and drug drive campaign saw Devon & Cornwall Police target those who drive while under the influence.

In total, Devon & Cornwall Police recorded 207 arrests during the December 2021 initiative – of which 166 were for drink driving and 41 for driving with excess drugs.

The Christmas campaign, which ran between Wednesday 1 December 2021 and Saturday 1 January 2022, was an increase on the equivalent period the previous year that saw a total of 193 drink and drug drive arrests.

Of the 166 people arrested for drink driving related offences, 141 were men and 25 were women. The youngest was 16 years old and the oldest was 76, with the average age being 36.

For excess drug driving related offences, the driver was asked to complete a roadside swab. If the swab was positive, they were arrested and a blood sample was taken at custody for analysis. These are currently being examined before any potential charges are brought. 

Of the 41 people arrested for excess drug driving-related offences, 34 were men and seven were women. The youngest was 17 years old and the oldest was 59, with the average age being 32.

During the campaign, the Force encouraged those out enjoying a drink during the festive period to plan how to get home without driving. The ‘Lift Legend’ campaign was launched, which saw Devon & Cornwall Police partner with over 110 venues across the two counties to offer free drinks to those who agreed to be the designated driver for their group.

Motorists were reminded of the potential consequences of driving while under the influence and the continuing effects that alcohol and drugs can have the morning after.

Superintendent Adrian Leisk, of the alliance roads policing team, said: “Those charged throughout the campaign were not necessarily your ‘usual’ suspects. Too many people who are otherwise law-abiding citizens, fail to consider the untold devastation that drink and drug driving can cause.

“The highest reading came from a 44-year-old man who was arrested at 3pm on New Year’s Eve – he blew 140 micrograms per millilitre of breath which is four times the legal limit, and rang in the New Year sitting alone in a police cell in our Exeter custody suite.

“This year, we have placed a greater emphasis on encouraging those planning a night out to think about how they’re getting home. I would like to thank the venues that took part in our ‘Lift Legend’ campaign for their supporting in helping to keep their customers and wider road users safe.

“In the past I have been the person knocking on the door to inform relatives that their loved one has been killed as a result of a motorist who thinks it is okay to get behind the wheel while under the influence. This is something that I do not want my team to have to do during the festive period, or any other time of year. 

“As in previous years, I would like to thank those members of the public who called us to report a drink driver. Our enforcement efforts will of course continue all year round and intelligence from the public is invaluable in keeping Devon and Cornwall’s roads safe.”

Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, is also the APCC national lead for road safety and chairman of the Vision Zero South West road safety partnership.

Commissioner Hernandez said: “There is absolutely no excuse for drink or drug driving and I was shocked to see how many people were dealt with for this offence throughout the festive period.

“Drink and drug driving is a choice people take which endangers lives and it is completely unacceptable. Those who are caught face losing their license and potentially their jobs and livelihoods – as well as potentially causing death or serious injury to themselves or others. It’s just not worth it.

“I’d like to thank those officers who gave up their Christmas and New Year to help keep Devon and Cornwall safe, as well as those residents who provided information to the police to help them do their job.”

If you suspect someone of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, please dial 999 immediately with the vehicle information and direction of travel. 

For non-urgent matters, or to pass information about someone who regularly drives under the influence of drugs or alcohol, please go to www.dc.police.uk or call 101.  

Source:: Devon and Cornwall Police News

Woman injured in attempted robbery, Plymouth

Police are appealing for witnesses after a woman was assaulted during an attempted robbery in a Plymouth street.

The woman, in her 50s, was walking on Monica Walk in Greenbank when she was approached by a man who tried to steal her handbag.

She suffered a head injury after falling to the ground during the struggle for the bag.

The man then ran from the scene empty-handed.

Police would like to hear from anyone who witnessed the incident just before 6.30pm on Friday 14 January.

They are also seeking the suspect who is described as white, aged 18-25, and around 5ft 8ins to 5ft 10ins tall. He was wearing blue jeans, a dark-coloured top with the hood up and a face mask.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact police on [email protected] or by telephone on 101, quoting crime reference CR/003954/22.

Source:: Devon and Cornwall Police News

Neighbourhood policing celebrated in national week of action

Devon and Cornwall Police are supporting the National Police Chiefs’ Council neighbourhood policing week of action, which focuses on recognising the hard work and dedication of our neighbourhood policing colleagues.

This week of action will take place from Monday 17th – Sunday 23rd January 2022.

Neighbourhood policing is designed to make the police more visible, reduce fear among the communities and aid interaction between the public and the police. It also helps build local knowledge, gain intelligence and build support from the public.

Assistant Chief Constable Jim Nye said: “Neighbourhood policing is at the heart of everything we do and building trust and confidence with our local communities is vital in helping us to prevent crime, keep people safe, especially the most vulnerable members of our communities, and bring offenders to justice.

“This week of action is an ideal opportunity to recognise and celebrate the vital work that all our Neighbourhood Policing teams and our wider policing family perform to keep the communities of Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly safe.”

To find details of your Neighbourhood Policing Team, go to devon-cornwall.police.uk/your-area. Our neighbourhood teams are available to discuss any issues you may have in your area. You can contact them online at devon-cornwall.police.uk/contact, or leave them a message using the 101 non-emergency service. Remember, if a crime is in progress or life in danger, always dial 999.

Source:: Devon and Cornwall Police News