Harpenden gets new neighbourhood sergeant

DEALING with anti-social behaviour and speeding will be at the top of the pile for new Harpenden Neighbourhood Sergeant James Twitchett who has taken charge of the town’s policing team.

James, who is an experienced detective, will be leading Harpenden’s seven Neighbourhood Officers and six Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) after taking over from Sergeant Lewis Ducket who has taken on a new role at police headquarters.

He said: “I know that anti-social behaviour and speeding regularly come up as neighbourhood priorities in Harpenden, Wheathampstead and Redbourn – and we will do our best to try and resolve these problems.

“I will also be using my detective experience to deal with other crimes and build on the fantastic work that Lewis has done over the past few years.”

First and foremost he intends to meet residents, businesses, local stakeholders and organisations to get his face known across the area and wants to know about what their policing priorities are.

He said that people were most concerned about anti-social behaviour and speeding and he was looking forward to dealing with long-term problems rather than quick fixes.

James, who has spent the last two years as an Intervention Sergeant – responding to 999 calls – in the St Albans district, explained that each area had a dedicated Neighbourhood Officer and PCSO and urged people to go along to regular police surgeries or speak to their local officer in person.

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He went on: “Whilst we carry out a number of high-visibility patrols, we also do a lot of covert work so work may be going on without you knowing – but I can assure you that I have inherited an excellent, dedicated team from Lewis who are committed to improving quality-of-life issues for residents across Harpenden.”

James, 32, who has previously lived in St Albans but now lives in Shenley with his wife, a primary school teacher, joined Herts Police in 2002 after studying for a Masters degree in English Literature at the University of Herts.

His career has taken in the Cell Intervention Team dealing with prisoners, Priority Crimes Unit, focusing on burglaries in St Albans, and Tactical CID which involves dealing with cross-border crimes, warrants and prison visits.

He went on to join Area Crime and from 2006, he joined the Local Crime Unit as a detective constable before being promoted to Intervention Sergeant where he was also involved with a proactive operation focusing on deterring burglars, robbers and vehicle thieves.

James added: “I’m thrilled to be doing this role. I’ve spent most of my career as a detective. I have never had the opportunity to take ownership of an area and find solutions to neighbourhood issues.”

He can be contacted at james.twitchett@herts.pnn.police uk or call 01707 796127.