Chief’s Week – w/c 22nd June 2015


The terrorist attack last week in Tunisia showed us, not for the first time, how we need to be constantly alert and vigilant. We encourage local people to use the anti-terrorist hotline 0800 789 321. A text phone service is available for people with speech or hearing difficulties on 0800 032 45 39 (text messages from mobiles are not accepted).

We have supported the national operation through our East Midlands regional approach to counter terrorism. Sadly the operation of repatriation of those murdered will include a number of families in the East Midlands. Our thoughts must be with them.

Operation Enamel

You will also have seen that the decision not to prosecute Lord Janner for alleged child sexual abuse offences has been reversed after a Victims Right to Review process. With a Court Case now pending it is best for us to allow the process of justice to take place. However, I would want to acknowledge the hard work of the Operation Enamel team who have continued to investigate, as they should, without fear or favour. It is perhaps time to reflect on the use of the Victims Right to Review. This is a relatively recently created opportunity for victims to seek reviews of CPS decisions on prosecutions. It reinforces the increasing victim focus of the justice system.

Mental health

Leicestershire was front and centre for its work on mental health issues again this week. I was proud to repreHouses of Parliamentsent Leicestershire Police at the House of Lords at the #rethinkyourmind awards, where I presented copies of their yellow book to artists who had contributed. Lord Patel hosted the event and I was joined by the Chief Executives of both East Midlands Ambulance Service and the local health partnership trust as we celebrated partnership working. Visit the rethinkyourmind website so that you can see what they are trying to achieve. It was an inspiring event.

Neighbourhood policing event

I also spoke on Neighbourhood Policing at an event for Police Leaders in London. Much of our work was of great interest to the audience. I covered Download festival, facial ID, Edison, partnership working and austerity. I was also able to listen to the National Crime Agency and Europol talking about digital investigation and cyber-crime. Fascinating and important work.

Treble One Trust

On Wednesday a fund raising event took place at Force HQ for the Treble One Trust. Between 10:30am and 2:00pm volunteers cycled for 11 minutes and 1 second with the intention of completing a static 111 mile event.  A special thanks to all colleagues who worked tirelessly throughout the event to time people, offer support and actively seek volunteers to take part:

One colleague cycled for an amazing 3 hours and 45 minutes during the event, supporting everybody else, clocking up approximately 60 miles. A superb effort by all, thank you.

Mixed Monday

And for those of you wondering, the helicopter landing at HQ last Monday morning contained Prince Edward, on his way to visit Leicester. Having greeted him I set off for a meeting in Rutland. On the way I came across a motorcyclist who had finished up in a ditch near to South Croxton. Fortunately he wasn’t hurt, although his bike was not looking very good. I did traffic control whilst two members of the public helped recover the bike. Within an hour I went from shaking hands with Royalty to clearing accident debris! Such is the joy of policing!

Sir Clive Loader

Finally, we send our best wishes to our PCC, Sir Clive Loader, who will be taking some time out to get his back fixed. In the meantime his office will ensure that normal business continues.

Chief’s Week – w/c 15th June 2015

Stew Sparling 111 logo

It was with a heavy heart that I was told of the untimely passing of PS 111 Stew Sparling. His courage in the face of Motor Neurone Disease has been inspirational. He has had great support from his family, but also from colleagues such as Ian McGrath and Ian Coulton. To turn his own ill health into the positives for others through The Treble One Trust tells you all that you need to know about Stew. May he rest in peace.‎ Our thoughts are with his family. I have asked that we retire the collar number 111: it seems to me to be an appropriate gesture.

Caught on Camera

Channel 5’s Caught on Camera isn’t a programme that I normally watch. It is a bit too much like a busman’s holiday! However I made an exception this week as it featured our investigation into the murders that took place in the City in the autumn of 2013. DI Simon Shuttleworth and DC Dave Greenhalgh were both interviewed. They came across as they are; passionate, knowledgeable and committed to getting justice for grieving families. Given the debate about facial ID systems I couldn’t help but speculate in my mind whether that would have speeded up bringing offenders to justice. The use of Body Worn Video was highlighted too; we continue to roll out sets for you all to access in conjunction with other East Midlands Forces.


You may not be aware that I am doing some work nationally on behalf of police Chiefs on interpreters. This involves working with the Home Office, and supported by our own Ian Fraser, to ensure appropriately trained interpreters are available. There is a large piece of work ongoing about best value procurement too. That meant that I was able to dial into the PACE strategy board. This is held to ensure that PACE, a seminal piece of legislation is there ever was one, is up to date. I am suggesting some changes that would allow interpreting presence virtually, rather than by attendance.

Beat Bobby of the Year

In the course of the rest of the week‎ I was able to be involved in selecting the Beat Bobby of the Year award. The standard of entries was ridiculously high. To help me choose I was joined by Tiff Lynch, Kerry McLernon, Sir Clive Loader and Mercury editor Kevin Booth. After much debate we have selected the outstanding work of PC Chris Perry from Melton. His work with local people had a breadth and depth that proved unbeatable. Well done Chris!

Association of Special Constabulary Chief Officers

‎I also enjoyed seeing the national leaders of the Association of Special Constabulary Chief Officers, welcoming health partners to carry out a flu pandemic exercise, and opening the Loughborough University Police Research Group Conference: issues covered included custody, mental health, high risk sex offenders and burglary. A fascinating evidence base is building up on our doorstep.  Seifen

Challenge from Krefeld

In an unusual development I received a challenge to the Force to produce a soap box derby car! The challengers are from Leicester’s twin town of Krefeld, and the challenge was made by some students from their visiting HQ. A team from CMC have accepted the challenge and will seek to uphold our honour in Krefeld in August!

Leicestershire Regiment AHindoostanssociation annual service and march past

On Sunday I was proud to represent the Force at Royal Tigers Sunday in the Cathedral. The Leicestershire Regiment Association hold their annual service and march past. The obvious pride of the veterans ‎in their Regiment was reflected in the prayer to ‘have mercy on the servants of the Royal Leicestershire Regiment, who out on the boldness of the Tiger in the day of battle.’ thanks to the colleagues who provided visible presence for the event. It was much appreciated by the veterans, and enabled us to explain our body worn video to the Lord Lieutenant, High Sheriff of Leicester, Lord Mayor of Leicester and Chairman of the County Council afterwards.

Congratulations Roger Bannister

Lastly, but by no means least, our new Deputy Chief Constable will be Assistant Chief Constable Roger Bannister. It was tough to decide after a very competitive process that only featured very strong candidates. I am sure that you will wish him well when he takes up the role during the summer.

Chief’s Week – w/c 8th June 2015

Five years on and Download 2015

Thank you to so many colleagues for their hard work over the last week. Download has been a great success even if very wet.

MudfestIt is five years ago this week that I arrived as Chief here in Leicestershire. I celebrated my arrChief at Downloadival then by heading to Loughborough and going out on patrol to look at the campus, which was then being assessed as a potential Olympic base for Team GB. I decided to mark the anniversary by going out on foot at Download. Our policing of Download now reflected lots of work led by PC Kev Walker that followed on from his ‘Go Make A Difference’ project. Kev has gone international as a consequence, presenting in Europe on his work. It is a great example of making a positive difference to what we do.

We talk a lot about local policing, and how to link in at neighbourhood level. Download is a special neighbourhood. It emerges in a matter of days, and becomes the temporary, tented home for 80,000 people. The community is supported by an infrastructure familiar to us from more permanent communities. It was good to see familiar faces from the ambulance service, local councils and the Local Resilience Forum (LLR Prepared). It was also great to see the Sophie Lancaster Foundation on site working hard to spread their message on hate crime. We also work closely with private security, as we do in many other locations across the Force.

The community at Download is very diverse and comes from all over the world. Our social media @Downloadcops is key to communicating with that crowd. They had clearly heard about phone bungees as I was stopped every five minutes and asked for one! We ran out rather Officers at Downloadquickly, which is good. I was hugely proud of the team effort that I saw ongoing with colleagues from every part of the Force pulling together to identify offenders, and prevent crime.

Festivals offer a mixture of offending opportunities including vehicle crime, ticket scams, violence and drug dealing. In fact drug deaths have been a problem at some Festivals. It was good to see at first-hand how we worked to get upstream of these issues. I was also struck by how far some people had travelled to try and take criminal opportunities; one person that we intercepted had just flown into Luton airport before heading to Download. Officers at Download 2

The reaction of the Festival goers to our efforts was remarkable. Foot patrol was an absolute joy and, whilst we did help people and deal with lost property and people, ‎my memory will be of selfies and hat swaps, of phone bungees and endless high fives. Fantastic! Neighbourhood Policing at its best.

Facial identification software at Download

During the Festival we have worked at how to make the Festival goers as safe as we can by using facial identification software. This has caused much interest and a lively discussion about human rights. That is an important debate. Private companies are looking very dynamically at how they can use such technology and there is a risk at the moment that law enforcement communities get left out of that work. We have developed a database that holds images of people that attend events such as Download intent in causing harm to others. These are organised crime groups that commit offences such as theft, fraud and drug dealing.

As it is a condition of entry, imposed by the organisers of the event to be photographed cameras have scanned the faces of the crowd on entry. Facial mapping technology assesses if that facial map matches any of the individuals on the database. That match can be passed to security staff who can than speak to the person and decide if they should or shouldn’t be admitted. It can also identify people who are wanted by us for offences. This all seems to be a sensible and proportionate approach to keeping attendees safe at the event.

My own face is one of the images on the database. I am struck that when I have (off duty) attended events in recent weeks at the Ricoh Stadium and Wembley I will have been on CCTV within the ground, having gone through a physical search at the entry gate. At the Ricoh I also featured in the TV coverage of the game on BT Sport. I felt that any intrusion into my human rights was something that I was prepared to tolerate as it made me, my family and friends safer at the stadiums.

Chief’s Week – w/c 1st June 2015

Volunteers in Policing Recognition and Awards CC_Vol

Last week was National Volunteers Week. On Tuesday evening I had the pleasure of attending the Volunteers in Policing Recognition and Awards evening at the King Power Stadium.

I thoroughly look forward to these award ceremonies; they allow all of us the opportunity to formally celebrate and acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the superb volunteers we have working with us. The innovation and commitment demonstrated was inspiring and humbling. To see Police Support Volunteers, Special Constables and cadets all together was fantastic. I know that the Lord Lieutenant and both High Sheriffs were hugely impressed.

Charity event

On Sunday 31st May the police football spotters played the annual football match at the King Power Stadium against the stewards. For the 5th year running the Police side came out winners. This year the score was 5- 2.

The players from both sides and the supporters who came to watch raised over £800 toward the following charities; Leicester Hospitals Charity, Leicestershire Autistic Society, Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, Leicester & Rutland Branch, Rainbows Hospice for Children & Young People and The Lord Mayor of Leicester’s Appeal .

Thank you to all involved.

Continuing on the subject of football, I was pleased to hear that King Power Stadium was ranked the 5th best away venue by Premier league fans, a fact due in no small part I’m sure to the quality of the policing operation that many officers have been involved in throughout the season.

Chief’s Week – w/c 25th May 2015

National Volunteers Week

This week is National Volunteers week. Our volunteers contribute massively to making local communities safer. The work to reach 1000 volunteers, be they Specials, Police Volunteers, Cadets and those who commit to Neighbourhood Watch and Street Pastor roles, is ongoing with some vigour. I was pleased to be able to speak about the role of volunteers, and Specials in particular, during a Thought for the Day on Radio Leicester last week. Listen now.

Leicester Riders

Most of you will know that sport means a lot to me, but it also offers great opportunities to us as a diversionary activity for those who may become offenders. I was pleased to bump into friends from the Leicester Riders during the week. They shared some fascinating information with me about the past season. This included their results, which were outstanding. They have sold out their last 16 games and won 78% of their matches. Beyond that I think there is much that we can take from their success. Every month 26,415 unique users look at their online offering.

Their commitment to the Shoot 2 the Future work in anti-social hot spot areas has been huge. They have run 36 basketball sessions a week and engaged 110 schools in their diversionary programmes. Overall 23,081 members of the local community have been engaged through The Riders. For us there are some lessons here about what can be achieved online and how we can work with local sports clubs to ensure diversion before offending. That getting upstream of demand is so important to us going forwards. It is great to have The Riders on board with us. For further information contact the Press Team at The Riders.

Sean McOwen

I spoke to a colleague last week who has recently gone through the dreaded “Big C”. Early last year Sean McOwen was diagnosed with cancer and subsequently had to go through a heavy dose of chemotherapy, and trialling a drug which enabled him to work throughout his treatment. He’s made a complete recovery and has recently been given the 9 month all clear continuing through remission.

As a ‘thank you’ Sean is going to be working within the Chemo Suite at Osborne Building Leicester Royal Infirmary giving out tea/coffee and sandwiches to the patient’s within the suite (basically the Tea Trolley operative!) he’s also offered his services to the suite to listen and offer advice to others going through what he has been through, all on a voluntary basis. It is great to see such a positive attitude in the face of bad news.

NW Leics Police Update May 2015

Welcome to my latest update.

I am conscious that it has been a few months since my last update. As many of you will be aware, we have been through some significant organisational changes within Leicestershire Police over the past few months which has resulted in a very busy time. However the end result of all of the changes is that I am still here as the police commander for North West Leicestershire!

PC Tom LongdenPolice Constable Tom Longden who is one of the Dedicated Neighbourhood Officers working from Castle Donington, was recognised for his hard work when he was Highly Commended in the Leicestershire Police Investigator of the Year category at an awards event held at our headquarters in Enderby recently.

Nominees and winners of this award are usually dominated by detectives, and to the best of my knowledge Tom is the first non-detective to win an award in this category.

In a twelve month period Tom took on and investigated 88 crimes, and on a number of occasions he received praise from the Crown Prosecution Service for the quality of his work. Some of the investigations Tom has been involved in related to dogs, and Tom has developed his knowledge and expertise in this area and has successfully applied for five dog control orders. I am delighted that Tom has been recognised for his hard work as he is an asset to the local police team in particular and the community in general.

North West Leicestershire SpecialsAt the same award ceremony our Special Constables received the Saville Cup as the Leicestershire Police Special Constable Team of the Year. During the year 2014-15 the North West Leicestershire Special Constables contributed over 5,700 hours of duty time, equating to a public saving that runs into six figures. They were involved in 47 arrests, and ran several operations including Operation Headley which targeted crime at major events and other operations targeting cross-border criminality. We are lucky to have a dedicated and enthusiastic group of officers who provide police support and assistance across North West Leicestershire.

Special Constables are volunteer police officers and work in their own time helping to make their local communities safer. I am delighted that our team has received the Saville Cup in recognition for their hard work.

An important part of the work we do in North West Leicestershire involves partner agencies.

Joint Agency operationIn April together with Her Majesties Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA), the Environment Agency and Trading Standards, we carried out an intelligence led operation which targeted offences related to the use of commercial vehicles. This included defective vehicles, unregistered waste carriers and the illegal use of red (duty free) diesel. During the course of the operation we stopped over 70 vehicles, and a number of offences were discovered including vehicle defects, using a mobile phone whilst driving and VOSA also dealt with two vehicles that also had defects.

As well as multi-agency operations like this we also regularly run local operations to target community concerns for example anti-social behaviour, speeding and parking particularly in and around schools.

We regularly consult with local people to help us understand concerns and identify our priorities. You can take part by visiting this link. Consultation survey

On a sad note, last month a member of our Front Desk team, George Hailstones passed away following a short illness. George had come to us last year having worked as a Police Community Support Officer in the Roads Policing Team and before that as a Traffic Warden.

He was a quiet unassuming man, and a proud Scot, he would no doubt have enjoyed the success of the Scottish National Party in the recent general election.

I together with a number of colleagues from different teams within Leicestershire Police attended George’s funeral which was a fitting and moving tribute.

That is all for this month

Helena Bhakta


North West Leicestershire Neighbourhood Policing Commander

You can find out more about local policing including details of our Dedicated Neighbourhood Teams by visiting this link. Local policing

You can also follow me on twitter @NWLeicsNPA

We also have a facebook page North West Leics Police facebook

Sophie Lancaster hate crime event

Chief’s Week – w/c 18 May 2015

W/C 18 May 2015

Sophie Lancaster Hate Crime Event

On Thursday I joined the PCC at the Phoenix Arts Centre for a very powerful hate crime event. The event was supported by Sylvia Lancaster, whose daughter Sophie was brutally murdered for looking ‎a bit different; she was a Goth. The film shown, Black Roses, is a stunning piece of cinema and will be on the BBC later this year.

Neighbourhood Policing, Cinnamon Network, Workplace Challenge…

The rest of the week passed in a blur; I was interviewed by Radio Leicester about neighbourhood policing, civil contingency planning and special Constables. ‎I made the BBC end of year ‘outtakes’ show after my interview on hate crime ended early after our ‘Beatsafe’ banner proved to be not safe and fell on my head! ACC Phil Kay and I met with the faith based Cinnamon Network to discuss how they may help our demand management work. I was involved in outlining what we would want a new Bishop to do to support our work, and in agreeing what our own advert for Deputy Chief Constable will say too. I reviewed where we are with the Chief Constables’ charitable trust fund and did my Midday Mile for the Workplace Challenge.

National Volunteers Week

Next week is National Volunteers Week and is the annual celebration of the contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK. This year, the theme for Leicestershire Police’s Volunteers Week will be ‘The Big Clean-Up’ and will be supported by volunteers, officers and staff across the force area. More to follow next week….

Sports and Leisure

I was delighted to Chair the Force Sports and Leisure AGM. Some of you may be aware that the FS & L have also teamed up with the FHQ gym to provide exercise classes at FHQ all members of the FS & L can attend free of charge. I have added metafit and yoga to the start my day – ouch!

In April this year the final application was submitted for “Force for Sport”. Force for Sport is a new project spearheaded by a unique partnership between two organisations; Leicestershire Police and Leicestershire Force Sport and Leisure.

The project aims to deliver a community sport programme to two cohort groups; young people 14-25 in three Leicester City communities and young people/adults 14+ from the “Policing Family” which includes all 4000+ employees/volunteers within Leicestershire Police and their wider family and social circle.

The project is also aiming to build capacity through utilising its new Cadet Workforce of 50 16-18 year olds to support the delivery of the community sport programme. The plan is being supported by three delivery partners; Leicester Riders Foundation, Leicester Badminton Association and ER Dance. I would also like to thank the committee for their continued hard work.

I ended the week by seeing Leicestershire win at T20 cricket, the Tigers get rather well‎ beaten at Bath, and the mighty Norwich City took the chance to join Leicester City in the Premiership!  Norwich and Leicester City both in the Premiership next season seemed pretty unlikely in January, now it is a reality!