Plymouth police answer your questions online
Plymouth's most senior police officers spent two hours taking your questions live online.
Chief Supt Andy Bickley was joined by his senior policimg team for Plymouth facung questions on thisisplymouth for two hours.
Questions ranged from police pay, recruitment and retirement to drugs, guns and prostitution.
Replay the full debate in the panel below, and read an extract of some of the questions below that.
MIKE JONES: Has there been an increase in gun crime recently?
CHIEF SUPT ANDY BICKLEY: Thankfully Plymouth remains a very safe city compared to other cities of a similar size. Though in the 21st century gun crime across the UK is possibly a greater threat than before. Having said that, gun crime in Plymouth is not increasing, although there are occasions when offenders do use a firearm either real or imitation to commit crime, such as the recent attempted armed robbery at Ladbrokes at West Park.
My officers remain constantly vigilant about emerging threats to the city and we will always respond robustly to such threats.
YOUR NAME: Mr Bickley what are you doing to prevent a repeat of the shocking treatment of a young autistic girl in Plymouth?
CHIEF SUPT ANDY BICKLEY: Protecting all members of the public is an important part of our work, particularly regarding the more vulnerable members of our community. Treating everybody we deal with – either victims, witnesses or suspects and offenders – with dignity, respect and fairness is at the heart of our service but on occasions I do accept we fall below the high standards we expect.
KEVIN ROCHE: With cuts in manpower and budget being made to the Devon and Cornwall force are you confident that you can maintain the existing level of policing of Plymouth's Evening and Night-time Economy without the council imposing a late night levy?
CHIEF SUPT ANDY BICKLEY: Plymouth for some time has deployed significant resources into the ENTE. We have continued to do this even though we have had officer reductions in the last 18 months. Alcohol related crime is a key priority not only for us but also the Police & Crime Commissioner. I am confident that we will be able to police the ENTE as we do at the moment.
STEVE FOSTER: Is it true that Plympton Police Station is to be sold, and both Plympton and Plymstock will be policed from the new Devonport Police Station.
CHIEF SUPT ANDY BICKLEY: We have recently re-secured a lease for Plymstock and will continue policing from there for the forseeable future.
Plympton police station remains in use but is subject to review.
The number of response officers in operation across the city remains the same and whatever arrangement is put in place for Plympton we will continue to deliver a service that meets local needs from whatever facility we have there.
MR REESE: Are the police snitches value for money?
CHIEF SUPT ANDY BICKLEY: We have strict policies around the use of police informants to ensure that any money spent is commensurate with the outcome of the particular case. We have dedicated officers involved in informant handling to ensure we are consistent in our approach and supervisors who are experts in this.
JOHN: I follow a number of police officers on Twitter and seem to get a lot of good information from them – do you think this is a good way for police to communicate?
SUPT CHRIS SINGER: Twitter is one means of communication which can be used by officers and the Force as a whole. It does provide a useful and immediate platform which we can use to communicate with out communities. It also has many operational benefits not least for making appeals, giving public order and traffic information. We have recently increased the number of officers using twitter but it is important to note that our first priority is to discharge our duty and must therefore concentrate upon that.
TESS: Do you think alcohol is more of a problem than drugs? and Will we ever win the war on drug dealers.
CHIEF SUPT ANDY BICKLEY: I am not so sure whether the harm caused by alcohol is more than drugs. The harm caused by alcohol is more visible as people can see the effects on a weekend evening. We can never give up on working with our partners such as Health, the City Council on the harm caused by drugs as if we don't we are letting vulnerable people down.
JOAN GREY: Is the police commissioner a waste of money?
SUPT CHRIS SINGER: We welcome the opportunity to work with the commissioner in making sure that Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are safe and receive a first class policing service. The commissioner has paid regular visits to Plymouth and is in fact here at the moment and is making his influence felt across a wide range of police related matters. The decision to implement commissioners is legislative and not one the police would comment on.
MRS F: Can you please advise what the force policy is regarding Facebook problems, with threats being made or online bullying taking place?
DET SUPT KEITH PERKIN: Recently the Head of the Crown Prosecution Service has issued guidelines to the police around dealing with social media. The growth in use of social media has resulted in a very large increase in calls to us. Facebook have put in place processes where people experiencing problems from Facebook can stop such messages. However we will investigate where we believe there is a risk of harm to anyone.
RICK OSHAY: Some reports have suggested that morale within the police service is at an all time low. Do you agree?
DET SUPT KEITH PERKIN: Undoubtedly the impact of some decisions that have been taken by the Government has affected our officers. The force also recognises that some major changes introduced in 2011 also affected staff morale. The recently appointed Chief Constable has made improving police morale as one of his priorities and has a number of plans in place in an attempt to improve morale. All senior leaders are working hard in supporting these plans as we recognise that good morale leads to improved service to the public
LOUISE: Is it frustrating for you when you do all the work involved to get the criminals in to court then our justice system let's them off with a slap on the wrist?
DET SUPT KEITH PERKIN: One of the qualities of the UK Justice system is that it is independent. Although we do not comment on individual cases and sentences, we recognise that Judges and Magistrates are given strict sentencing guidelines from Government.
AR: Would you welcome the Dance Academy on Union Street becoming a mosque?
CHIEF SUPT ANDY BICKLEY: In terms of the future use of the building this is, as I understand it, subject of much discussion and any speculation at this time is just that.
GRAHAM: Do the universities and colleges help you with the cost of policing the city's students?
CHIEF SUPT ANDY BICKLEY: Students add to the vibrancy of the city and to its diverse nature. Plymouth now has a student population of over 36,000 which contributes over £200m to the economy of the city. The overall population in Devon and Cornwall is a factor in the budget allocated to the police force. There are no separate levies for colleges or universities.
ROBIN: Would a Bolton Batman style vigilante help reduce crime in Plymouth?
SUPT CHRIS SINGER: We do not condone it, no matter what fancy dress is employed.
HELEN: On International Women's Day, how come none of your senior officers are women?
DET SUPT KEITH PERKIN: We do have a number of senior police officers and police staff. The force is committed to a diverse leadership and have made improvement in promoting woman as senior leaders.