Chief’s blog – Monday February 23, 2015

The last few days have been challenging for Leicestershire Police starting with the discharge of a firearm, a potential murder investigation and road closures around New Walk yesterday as the Council building was demolished. This is in addition to the continued changes in Force. Many people have worked extended hours over the weekend to progress these investigations. Thank you to all involved.

Although it is still early days the initial analysis across the Force has shown the number of hours spent patrolling local neighbourhoods has increased by 40%. The Patrol and Resolution Team are spending more time working remotely and therefore more visible in our communities.

Last week also saw the launch of an online survey asking the people of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland to have their say on the future of the Force. We need to continue to transform, responding to a reducing budget and to change public expectations.   To take part in the survey please visit www.leics.police.uk/futureofthepolice. It is available until 9am on 2nd March 2015.

I have received an e-mail thanking DCI Jonny Starbuck and DI Lucy Batchelor who presented at De Montfort University last week. The session was Police Leadership and Advanced Policing during which they discussed their personal experiences of being police leaders. It was an excellent input which the students have greatly benefitted from and voted the best module of their course so far.

Moving over to sports news, it has been an excellent week for both table tennis and rugby.

On Thursday evening Leicestershire Police played Knighton Park in the semi-final of the cup competition. Leicestershire Police won 5-4 after a thrilling match and are now through to the final. This is the first time that the Police team have got to the final and they are also on course for the league double being 11 points clear at the top with 5 games to play.

 

Chief’s blog – Monday February 16, 2015

I must start by thanking all staff for the tremendous efforts made over the past week as the Edison changes go live across the Force.  I have been immensely proud at the hard work, commitment and initiative shown by all sorts of people in every rank and role.

I spent some time out and about talking to those members of staff actually doing work within the new working arrangements.  Unsurprisingly it all feels rather different and sometimes that different feels good and sometimes it feels unsettling! I visited the patrol and resolution team officers at Euston Street and Braunstone as they were coming off and going on duty.  It is clear that, as intended, the officers that I had spoken to had only been asked to attend emergency and urgent issues. Those that had prisoners had found the process of handing them over to the new Force Investigation Unit to  be pretty seamless and positive.

I bumped into a dedicated neighbourhood officer who when I asked her what the changes had brought smiled broadly and said “time”.  Of course that time needs using wisely managing offenders and working with local people and partners to solve problems and get upstream of demand.  The managed appointments team have worked really hard to ensure that we have fulfilled the appointments that we have made and the force investigation unit have been doing follow up investigations, contrary to the national press’s position on the issue!

The IMU teams have been working positively to bring their differing skills and specialisms together to ensure that members of the public get a good service, to make sure that we identify investigative leads to follow up and in doing so have dealt with about 60% of what has been brought to their attention within their own office.

I spent much of the early days of the week dealing with the local media and the nationals too.  In general terms the local media have presented some balanced reporting about what we are doing and tried to weigh up the fact that, with fewer people, things will have to be different against our obvious commitment to fight crime and anti-social behaviour and to make Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland as safe as we possibly can for local people and visitors.  The national media were not interested in anything beyond broad headlines and, despite considerable effort on our part, insisted on misrepresenting what we are actually about and what we are doing.  As a citizen I do worry about a world where people make decisions based on half a story.

My media appearances took me to various locations within the Force and also back to Central TV studios in Gas Street in Birmingham.  Walking down Gas Street in my Chief’s uniform made me pause for thought; 26 years ago I was patrolling Gas Street as a Police Constable and it was an area that I regularly walked.  I am now of an age where there seem to have been a number of new buildings built, and a few demolished,  since I was on patrol in that area!

It was good to meet at HQ with senior partners to talk about how we can get upstream of demand together.  The meeting of the Strategic Partnership Board, chaired by Sir Clive Loader our PCC, featured some hard work done by Chief Superintendent Rob Nixon and colleagues.  It was a very positive approach from all partners and we have progressed community safety in a way that sees up well set up for the coming years.  I also chaired some national work about disabilities.  Working on behalf of ACPO I have set up three work streams on accessibility, autism and dementia.  These will create communities of practice, in effect groups of practitioners from all over the country who will be able to support our efforts to give a good service to individuals who have disabilities.

Chief’s blog – Monday February 09, 2015

Today is a landmark day for Leicestershire Police with the go-live of Project Edison.

So many of you have contributed to where we are today, working tirelessly behind the scenes towards a smooth transition. At a local level this includes our managers, Facilities Officers and Support Administrators. It has been a busy weekend and early start for some to have our resources in the right location. We have moved 102 vehicles since 4am this morning!

On Friday the Home Office Select Committee published its report in to examining how people suffering from mental illness are policed. I spoke for the entire police service of England and Wales calling for changes in the law to ensure those with mental illness are treated more appropriately.

The Home Affairs Select Committee praised the work we are doing in partnership with other organisations in Leicestershire. This is clearly a step in the right direction towards providing the right services for people who are mentally ill.

Friday was also Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) International Zero Tolerance Day, the force have launched a new guidance document to assist officers spot the signs of FGM, forced marriage (FM) and honour-based violence (HBV).

I would like to thank those officers that supported West Midlands Police on Saturday during the demonstration in Dudley. I understand it was a very long day on standby. Dudley was my final posting as Chief Superintendent with West Midlands Police. It is good that we could support the policing of my old stomping ground!

Finally, on Saturday I found myself singing ‘A Policeman’s Lot is not a happy one’ to a paying audience! Daves Leicester Comedy Festival asked me to join the Lord Lieutenant; Tigers star George Chuter and some very talented acts and choirs in a celebration of British Comic Songs.

Daves-comedy-festival

 

‎The event was all in aid of the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust. Joe was a local lad who died of Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome in 2012. The Trust raises money for research and to train CPR in schools and sports clubs. NARPO member Geoff Feavyour sorted me out a fabulous cape, and my support band, The Simpletones, were enlisted for a few minutes.‎ The reviews were as expected, some said ‘it wasn’t as bad as I expected’, whilst my daughter scored me 10/10 on her embarrassment rating!

However, the best singing that I heard all weekend came from Cardiff: good to hear the stadium joining in so lustily with ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot’‎!

Chief’s blog – Tuesday February 03, 2015

With only a week to go we look forward with some excitement and anticipation to the introduction of the new operational policing model from next Monday February 9, 2015.  This transformation is the latest in a series of on-going changes in response to reducing budgets and changing public expectation and demand. This new way of working will allow the teams based in our communities to dedicate their time to working closely with neighbourhoods and partners to resolve issues at a local level. Read the full article here.

I have been hugely impressed with the efforts that many of our unsung colleagues have put into the change work. I saw the Resource Planning Team to thank them for the massive effort that they are making to update duties, correlate flexible working patterns, and ensure that we have our people working the right duties to make local communities safer. Colleagues in  IT, finance and estates have moved mountains to ensure that we are ready to go. Transport, supported by the Change Team themselves, will make sure that the fleet is in the right place, and good to go on 9th. I am very proud of the efforts that are being made; thank you!

On Tuesday I met with a number of Chiefs and the Chief HMI in London. This was a frank and open discussion around current challenges, and the relationship with the newly expanding HMI team.  I spent time with Sir Tom Winsor and his senior team, including our lead HMI Zoe Billingham, to discuss proposed inspections for the year ahead that include productivity, demand management, CSE and serious and organised crime. These are all areas that we are working hard on, and which came up as the PCC and I spoke with members of the public at Market Harborough at our latest ‘What Matters To You Roadshow’.

We also talked about the budget challenge ahead.  You will be aware that at Thursday’s meeting of the Police and Crime Panel, it was agreed to raise council taxes by 1.99%, this is an increase of 7p per week which will raise an additional £1 million for policing. The Panel, who hold the PCC to account, asked lots of relevant questions about the work that we are doing to protect local communities. Read the full article here.

I also chaired the National Mental Health Forum, where I continued to drive forward our work around Mental Health.  As mentioned in last week’s blog our good work nationally continues to be praised but I want to help improve how we and our partners deal with incidents involving mental health.  This includes working with EMAS, our response to Section 136 of the Mental Health Act and our support to others as they help the vulnerable.

The week ended at Hamilton College with a charity football match (yes, the ball is a strange shape!) on behalf of the Lord Mayor’s Charity Appeal.  Leicester City MPs vs Leicester Councillors.  This charity event was organised by Silver Star Diabetes campaigning for diabetes awareness.  I was part of the winning MP’s team bolstered by Keith Vaz MP, former West Ham triallist ACC Phil Kay, X Factor winner Sam Bailey and Dorothy the Diabetes Duck!  We eventually won 13-12, thanks to the judicious use of a subs bench including many Leicester City Youth Squad members! The Mercury website has footage of us all in ‘action’!
Sam Bailet with Simon Cole

 

Continuing with supporting others, this Thursday 5th February, is Time to Talk Day.  Across the country schools, communities and workplaces are planning to take 5 minutes to have a conversation about mental health and wellbeing.  Time to Change is a charity that started in 2007 they campaign to improve public attitudes towards people with mental health problems.  Please take time to have a discussion with colleagues and family or friends throughout the day.

Chief’s blog – Tuesday January 27, 2015

The challenges facing policing came very much to the fore last week as I met police leaders and senior politicians to discuss a broad range of issues from health services to counter-terrorism.

It became clear that issues we are tackling in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland are common to the wider service and it was reassuring that the force is “ahead of the game” in many areas.

On Monday I joined the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb in London for the launch of a cross-governmental taskforce to improve mental health services for young people and transform crisis care. They were keen to hear about the difficult decisions our officers and staff face when dealing with people in crisis. It is almost a year since I signed the Mental Health Concordat on behalf of ACPO and there remains much work to do to improve services. The advent of the mental health triage car and referral pathways developed in partnership with mental health services here have had a significant impact and are held as examples of good practice nationally.

It is apparent that challenges across the NHS and in the care system as a whole impact upon our demand, and some of those difficulties, particularly in ambulance services, have been publicised over the winter. I am working closely with the ambulance service both at a local level and nationally to address this. On Tuesday East Midlands Ambulance Service’s Director of Operations, Richard Henderson, came to Force Headquarters to brief the region’s Chief Constables and PCCs on the measures it is taking to reduce ambulance waiting times.

On Wednesday I jumped on another downbound train to London for talks with the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives and colleagues from the Metropolitan Police. I know that frontline officers have experienced difficulties dealing with injured members of the public during periods of high demand for ambulances. The meeting was very positive about how we shall overcome these issues by working together better in the interests of the public.

On Thursday I was at the National Crime Agency headquarters speaking to colleagues from the Turkish National Police, many stationed near to the Turkish-Syrian border. They were fascinated by how Peel’s model of local policing, based upon the uniformed officer patrolling his or her neighbourhood, remains as relevant today as ever and is central to tackling everything from local ASB to serious organised crime and terrorism. The idea that non-warranted staff, PCSOs, Special Constables, cadets and volunteers perform core policing roles is worlds apart from policing in Turkey and was the subject of great interest. The couple of hours I spent in their company brought home to me the high esteem in which British Policing continues to be held abroad.

Finally, I leave you with sage words from a Sergeant who came to see me as he retired after 32 years in policing.

“In many ways the job has changed beyond recognition since I joined, but really deep down it’s the same. I found this Buddhist quote given to me by my tutor 30 years ago, and it’s just as relevant today really:

“Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant with the weak and wrong. Sometime in your life you will have been all of these.”

Wise words.

Chief’s blog – Tuesday January 20, 2015

Tuesday’s meeting of the regional Chief Officers presented a chance to take stock of some of the significant developments designed to improve the way we work here and across the East Midlands. A key area of work comes under the banner of “Transforming Summary Justice”, which will see us shift towards “paperless” prosecutions and streamlined court processes, ensuring defendants wishing to plead guilty can do so and be dealt with at earliest opportunity.

This also presented an opportunity to raise the issue of call times to CPS Direct and to discuss the implications of digital evidence sharing in sensitive cases, such as child abuse and CSE investigations.

HM Inspector of Constabulary Zoe Billingham joined us to outline the key themes for next year’s PEEL Inspections, which will focus upon understanding and managing our demand and how forces ensure productivity. Throughout we must maintain the integrity of crime data and ethical recording. These have been the underlying principles of the new changes to the Force.

Mike Penning, the Minister for Policing, Criminal Justice and Victims, was keen to discuss the work of regional collaboration when we met at FHQ on Thursday. In the afternoon he saw for himself one of the ways in which we are improving victims’ services when he travelled to Keyham Lane to see Project 360, the multi-agency team which supports victims of sexual and domestic violence. To read more click here.

The same day I attended Chief Constables’ Council at Ryton to finalise the transition from ACPO to a new body, the National Police Chiefs’ Council, which will take effect in April. The NPCC will be responsible for co-ordinating all areas of operational policing, working closely with the College on education, setting and maintaining high professional and ethical standards within the Police Service. I will remain the national lead for Local Policing and Partnerships and for Disability under the new arrangements.

During the course of the last year many of you will have been involved in incidents or investigations in which members of the public demonstrated tremendous courage. Those selfless acts are recognised annually at the National Police Public Bravery Awards, providing an opportunity for the Service to show our appreciation of acts of heroism. Last year thanks to you, DCC Edens presented two Leicestershire people with Silver Medals for tackling violent offenders.

If you would like to give someone you know a deserving pat on the back for an act of bravery, please click here to see the criteria and complete the nomination form.

Heroism – of the sporting kind – is the closing theme of this week’s blog.

The same could be said of the force rugby team. You might remember a couple of weeks ago I mentioned their upcoming clash with West Midlands Police in the Area Final of the Police Sport UK Cup. Well … they did it! For me there was a personal edge, having grown up in Leicestershire and started my career in the West Midlands. At 27-31 down defeat looked on the cards, but victory went, in the last minute, to Leicestershire, scoring in the final play of the game to take a famous 34-31 win. . A tremendous effort by all and especially sweet against my old force. They go on to the final stages of the national competition with their heads, and hopes, high.

sport-uk-cup

Chief’s blog – Tuesday January 13, 2015

As we have borne witness to events in Paris over recent days, grief and outrage have galvanised into a sense of solidarity against those who seek to spread terror.

For police officers here and around the world, the killings of officers Ahmed Mirabet and Franck Brinsolaro in the assault on the offices of Charlie Hebdo, and the murder of Clarissa Jean-Philippe in the Montrouge area of the French capital, once more demonstrated the risks we face on behalf of the public. It is hard to imagine the limits to which our French colleagues were tested last week. I am confident that should we face those same challenges here – and the current threat assessment is that an attack is highly likely – we would do so with equal courage, commitment and professionalism.

We have done so before. This summer will mark the 10th anniversary of the 7/7 bombings, which will have seen some of you deployed to support colleagues in London. Throughout the history of policing, the terrorist threat has been ever-present. As a young PC in Birmingham, I patrolled a city on high alert against the threat of bombing by the IRA.

The Paris attacks reinforce the importance of supporting and protecting local communities. Some of our communities may feel particularly vulnerable at this time and it is important that we do all we can to listen to their concerns and provide reassurance.

We also need the help of communities themselves to combat the threat of terrorism by telling us about any concerns they have about the activities of individuals or groups. Our Community Engagement Team has done a great deal of work to take forward the Prevent strategy, which focuses on stopping young or vulnerable people from being radicalised. All officers and staff have a role to play in supporting this work. The Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321 is a confidential service for the public to report any suspicion, even if they think “it’s probably nothing”. While there might be an innocent explanation for the concern, we would rather know about it and investigate than miss an opportunity to prevent terrorism.

Thank you to all who have provided support to our colleagues from West Midlands Police over the last week. Our officers conducted searches and guarded scenes around the city, often in some very difficult weather conditions, during a complex investigation into the disappearance of Sameena Imam from Cardiff. Two men, including one from Leicester, have been charged with Sameena’s murder. I know that my old force has been hugely impressed and appreciative of the support Leicestershire Police have provided throughout.

During the course of last week I and some of the other Chief Officers had an opportunity to take the role of offenders participating in a demonstration of the Victim Awareness Course. The course, designed by Victim Support, gives those responsible for relatively minor offences an insight into the effects of their behaviour and can provide an effective alternative to prosecution for some offenders as part of a conditional caution. We are looking at the scheme as part of our work to streamline out of court disposals and to cut re-offending through education and awareness.

Leicestershire has been a trailblazer force in national work to improve services to mental health patients who come into contact with police. It was heartening to see that work, done in partnership with colleagues in mental health services, recognised in a national article published by NHS England last week.

The article provides an in-depth look at our innovative approach to Liaison & Diversion for people detained under the Mental Health Act, those we see through criminal justice or others with whom we have regular contact. Click here to read the full bulletin.

Last week I attended the College of Policing Professional Committee to look at the ongoing work being done by the College to manage demand. This will be key for the Service to maintain services in the future. Meanwhile the demand for the force in 2014 is illustrated by the “infographic” below, which makes interesting reading and captures some of our achievements last year.

 

A round up of 2014 for Leicestershire Police

Round up of 2014 Infographic for Leicestershire Police