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!

Update from Inspector Lou Cordiner Eastern Counties Neighbourhood Police Commander – May 2015

Welcome to my May’s blog update for the Eastern Counties Neighbourhood Police Area.

This is a “light touch” catch up with what we have been doing to make our communities safer. The last couple of months have been very busy for all of us on the Eastern Counties.

Ask Me Anything’ Public Meeting

Q and A 1

Inspector Cordiner chairing the ‘Ask Me Anything’ event

April saw the first of my ‘Ask Me Anything’ public meetings, which was held at Waltham Village Hall on Wednesday April 8. These meetings are chance for members of the community to ask me any question and raise any issue directly with me.

PCSO Oli Webb demonstrating the speed monitoring equipment

The meeting was well attended, with many issues raised. The main concerns for residents were speeding in villages, breaching of HGV weight restrictions and generally traffic related matters. We have already started working on all of the issues raised and are making real progress. I will update you in my next blog. We are already planning our next meeting for the Melton Rural South beat which will be held at Somerby Memorial Hall on Tuesday 26th May at 6.30pm. I plan to complete similar events on all of the beats on the Eastern Counties over the coming months.

Off Road Bikes

After receiving a number of complaints from members of the public regarding the use of ‘off road’ bikes, officers from Harborough Station have recently been out with Northamptonshire’s ‘off road’ bike crew to areas in Harborough that have been experiencing the problem. Officers visited Brampton Valley Way, Canal Town Path near Green acres caravan site, Robert Smyth School/Burnmill Road, Great Glen, Covert Lane in Scraptoft and Harborough Town Centre.

Using ‘off road’ bikes makes it much easier to reach the locations effected by this problem, so that we can speak to the offenders and young people in the area, to educate them on this type of vehicles off road capabilities and how to use them legally. We hope to repeat this initiative again in the future.

 Our Neighbourhood Priority Team

The Neighbourhood Priority team have made a number of significant arrests over the last couple of months for drugs, burglary, harassment and fraud, and shop theft. The team are committed to catching the offenders in our communities that cause the most harm and will continue to do so over the coming months. Sgt Thorley is doing an excellent job with his team focusing on the issues that our communities report to us.

Fatal 4 Operations

We have been completing a number of Fatal 4 Operations across the Neighbourhood Policing Area. Fatal 4 Operations consist of us stopping drivers who are spotted committing one of the four most common offences that result in death. The Fatal Four are driving whilst on a mobile phone, not wearing a seat belt, speeding and drink driving.

We held the first of these operations in Melton on March 10, in partnership with HM Customs and Excise. During the operation Traffic Offence reports were issues as follows; eighteen for driving without a seatbelt; one for defects on the vehicle ; one for unfit load; one for no MOT; and one for use of a mobile phone whilst driving. Vehicles were also stopped for using red diesel; having no insurance; and possession of drugs. In total we stopped 67 vehicles during the operation.

On April 27, we held a Fatal 4 Operation on Burton Street in Melton Mowbray. During the operation 22 drivers were stopped for not wearing a seat belt; five for driving whilst on a mobile phone; and two others for miscellaneous offences.

We also conducted another operation in Oakham on the 4 May, where x7 traffic offences were prosecuted using a mobile phone; four for driving without a seat belt; and one for not having valid tax. A Vehicle Defect Rectification Scheme notice was issued for a cracked windscreen.

Further events are planned over the coming months.

Tackling drug use in schools

In May, officers from our local Neighbourhood Priority Team assisted Rutland based officer PC Joe Lloyd with a drugs and contraband search at a school in Oakham, on request of the school themselves. The school were delighted with the turnout of officers, and it’s hoped that this sends a clear message that drug use will not be tolerated.

Community Volunteers on Horseback Scheme

The police community volunteers on horseback scheme continues to go from strength to strength. The volunteers have put in a huge amount of time in patrolling the lanes and villages of Rutland. Between October 2014 and March 2015, my volunteers completed 8200 hours of patrol and I would publically like to thank each of them for their continued commitment to this innovative scheme which through their high visibility patrol has helped to prevent crime, reduce speeding in rural locations and has increased community confidence.

Neighbourhood Watch

We also have an excellent number of Neighbourhood Watch schemes across the Eastern Counties which provides vital feedback and communication with local communities. Officers across the area have recently completed their annual catch up with every Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator. Can I take a moment to thank all the co-ordinators across the area for all they have done over the last year.

That is it for now… and I shall speak to you all again in July 2015.

Insp Lou Cordiner

Inspector Lou Cordiner

NPA Commander for the Eastern Counties

Chief’s Week – w/c 4th May 2015

Treble one Charity Launch Summer BallTreble One

On Saturday evening Stewart and Angela Sparling hosted the Treble One Charity Launch Summer Ball at the Marriott Hotel. An amazing £10,000 was raised, much of it donated to get Stu Prior to sit down and stop talking!

The Treble One Trust (treble one being Stewart’s collar number) represents;

One life, One chance to live it, One day at a time. The charity was formed by Stewart as there is little or no funding for specialist equipment for sufferers in the latter stages of the disease. Whilst Stewart appreciates the help that the Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association have offered him, full funding for equipment is not always awarded.

One Chance

Stewart has experienced the positive effect this specialist equipment has had on his quality of life and his mission in life is to now help others with MND.

Motor Neurone Disease is a terminal neurodegenerative disease that causes muscle weakness, paralysis, and ultimately, respiratory failure.

MND attacks certain cells in the brain and spinal cord needed to keep your muscles moving. Early signs and symptoms of MND include muscle cramps, twitching, weakness in the extremities and difficulty speaking or swallowing. As the disease progresses it is characterised by the inability to move any part of the body, the inability to speak or communicate with anything but your eyes and complete reliance on a feeding tube for nutrition. The senses, including hearing, sight, smell, taste and touch are not affected by MND.

Most people with MND only live between 2 to 5 years after the first signs of the disease, and 50% of those die within the first 14 months. There are only 5,000 people with MND in the whole of the UK at any one time. I would urge you to support this charity where you can.

Mental Health Week 11th – 17th May 2015

Last week I talked about the Organisational Health check and highlighted that this week is Mental Health Awareness Week. PC Alex Crisp is due to spend three weeks in USA and Canada learning about emergency response to mental health crisis, after being awarded the prestigious Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship.

Read more about Alex’s forthcoming trip

Join us for a Mindfulness webchat on 13th May 2015.

Investiture

On Tuesday I thoroughly enjoyed the Lord Lieutenant’s Investiture Ceremony. Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire, Lady Gretton, along with her Deputy Lieutenant, Bob Collins presented the awards to nineteen officers and one Special who were commended with long service medals for contributing over 369 years of service.

Read more about the awards and ceremony

Sports

I had a really interesting chat with DS Sam Cullen around her kickboxing achievements. Some of you will know that Sam has been kickboxing a little over three years. In February 2014 Sam qualified for the British team after winning a silver medal at the British Championships. Sam then went on to win Bronze at the World Championships in Portugal in November 2014.

Sam has gone from strength to strength and in February 2015 competed at the National Championships again winning silver in the ladies section and also becoming British Champion in the ladies Veterans section. Sam has automatically qualified for the England team and will be competing in the World Championships which are being held in Rugby in October this year.Rugby

On Wednesday evening, after a hectic day of meetings in London I attended the Stu Ewing Memorial Match between Leicestershire Police and Coalville. Stu was a firearms officer with the Force when he died suddenly in 1993 of an undiagnosed heart condition. He was a keen rugby player and turned out for us and Coalville where he played at a high standard.

On this occasion, in windy conditions, the Police came out winners 27-17.

Chief’s Week – w/c 27th April 2015

EMOpSS

The East Midlands Operational Support Service (EMOpSS) officially went live with its new structure across the four participating East Midlands forces – Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire – from Tuesday 5th May. This means a new regional way of working, which has been developed over the past 18 months which will provide operational support functions on a collaborative basis.

You can follow our operational accounts on Twitter:

  • @leicsRAPT – Leicestershire Roads & Armed Policing Team
  • @leicsRPU – Leicestershire Roads Policing Unit
  • @leicsRCT – Leicestershire Road Crime Team
  • @EMOpSSCsupt – C/Supt Chris Haward – Head of East Midlands Operational Support Services.

Organisational Healthcheck

At the recent Executive Group meeting I spent time with heads of department and directorates discussing our Organisational Healthcheck. This is an independent, consultant led review into the policies, practices and culture of mental health support in Leicestershire Police and Office of Police and Crime Commissioner.

There is clearly much to be done to help our staff feel supported which is why I signed the Time to Change Pledge in December 2014. We have also had a Time to Talk day where we held events at three different venues across the organisation and published the event on social media. The Blue Light Programme takes this forward as it is specifically designed around blue light services putting the priority in the workplace to support our staff.

We will also be supporting Mental Health Awareness Week next week, so look out for more information online.

Sports                                                                                                                       

Congratulations to our football team who gained automatic promotion this season finishing second in the Alliance League. Next season they will be playing in Division 3 of the Alliance Sunday Football League.

Charity event

John Dalby from Euston Street is part of a band called Mr Chop, they will be playing a charity gig at The Shed on Yeoman Street, Leicester on Thursday 14th May to raise funds for Leicester Search and Rescue. Mr Chop will be headlining and on stage about 10pm. They are a 5-piece band, 4 of the members are Police officers and they play rock covers!

Chief’s Week – w/c 20th April 2015

National Police Chiefs’ Council NPCC logo

Last week the Force hosted the first ever meeting of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC).  The Council has been established and replaces what was ACPO.  Chief Constable Sara Thornton is the first ever Chair of the NPCC whose role is to co-ordinate operational policing and collaboration amongst Forces at the national level.  Much of our first meeting was spent discussing the threat posed by Cybercrime and Child Sexual Exploitation.  I was also able to bring in Disability Hate Crime issues.  The meeting considered approaches to funding, and the programme that is seeking to replace the Airwaves terminals that you are all so familiar with.

There was a very full agenda, including a discussion on the potential implications of the results of the general election, whatever that is!  I was also pleased to take the delegates on a brief tour of Leicester Cathedral, kindly hosted by the Dean of the Cathedral, the Revd Canon David Monteith, and a number of delegates took the opportunity to go to the Richard III Visitor Centre as well.  It is important that colleagues see the changes to the City and are in a position to act as its advocates.  I know that they were rather blown away by the tomb and the associated display.

A visit from Hungary

As well as hosting the Chief Constables’ Council I was pleased to welcome Major Elvira Vedres-Zsinkai of the Hungarian Police to the Force.  Major Vedres-Zsinkai investigates road and rail deaths.  She spent some time with the Local Policing Team at Rutland, British Transport Police and colleagues Roads Policing here in Force.  Whilst she went away with a Leicestershire Police plaque I was left with some rather terrifying-looking drink that tells me it’s a 41% proof!  I shall not be drinking it at any point when I might be driving!

Faith Leaders’ Forum

I joined Bishop Tim and the Faith Leaders’ Forum at the Bishop’s Lodge.  I was able to brief the Forum on Child Sexual Exploitation, some local community issues, and the arrival of the pro-democracy camp in the heart of the city.  The Forum was then consulted, in Bishop Tim’s absence, on the qualities that we felt a new bishop should have.  It is really important that we engage with faith communities and a number of their leaders were very complimentary about the efforts that they see day in, day out.

PC Gary Fagg

I was pleased to see PC Gary Fagg as he retired from the Force to take up a new role with Hinckley Council.  Gary has served his country for many years, having joined the British Army in 1978.  A brief interlude in “Civvy Street” was ended when Gary joined the Met in 1994, before moving to Leicestershire in 1997.  As ever with retiring colleagues, he himself didn’t mention the many commendations that he had received which included arresting a man armed with a gun for attempt murder, restraining a violent man who had seriously injured a colleague, a judge’s commendation for some work carried out with EMSOU, the disarming of a knife man in Earl Shilton and an award for dealing with drugs supply in Barwell.  A member of the public writing about Gary said, “A pure professional at work and worth paying my taxes for”. I wish Gary all the best on his retirement.

CharityRainbows Hospice

There are a number of bits of good news that reached me in the course of the week.  The Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People wrote to thank us for the amount raised at the last Leicestershire Police Charity Mess Ball.  In total, £4,500 was raised in and around the event.  It was great to see that so many colleagues had used having a good evening out to the benefit of others.

I know that the next Charity Mess event will be to support the One One One Trust.  This is the trust established by Sergeant Stew Sparling to support local sufferers of Motor Neurone Disease.  You will know that Stew suffers from the disease himself.  111 is his collar number.  I will be pleased to support Stew at the event on the 9th May.

Best of luck to our Leicestershire Police colleague Phil Briggs, who along with a couple of colleagues from Nottinghamshire Police will be part of a group spending the first two days of May climbing Ben Nevis, Scafell and Snowden in a twenty-four hour period.  You can support their charity fundraising for Headlines Charity by visiting the Just Giving donation page.

England Police Rugby Team

I was also delighted to see six colleagues have been invited to trial for the England Police Rugby Team.  They will all have the opportunity to trial and earn a place in the full squad.  This is great news for the team who had struggled for a few years and yet have persevered and are now playing a good standard of game.

And finally…

I wanted to mention an absolutely outstanding set of arrests.  Following an incident in Hinckley last week a number of arrests were made after an alleged burglary.  The teamwork demonstrated was of the highest order with local, regional and other Force resources co-ordinating a complex and protracted search, whilst supported by EMPASS.  This involved closing down the motorway as offenders fled on foot and some real determination.  Thank you to everybody involved.

Chief’s Week – w/c 13th April 2015

Code of a Killer

When Isaac Newton was asked to explain his ability to progress his science he wrote to his friend Robert Hooke, “If I have seen further it is by standing on ye shoulders of giants”.  It is a quote that I regularly use when I speak (although attribute it to Oasis for younger audiences!). Any of us who watched ITVs ‘Code of a Killer’ will have seen something of the positive legacy that the police have inherited from those who went before us.

If you have not watched the programme then I would suggest that you dig it out on ITV Player. Of course the fact that one of the main characters, Retired Detective Chief Superintendent David Baker, is someone that I see regularly in his role as Vice-Chairman of the National Association Of Retired Police Officers (NARPO), made the programme all the more gripping. In fact David Chaired the NARPO AGM this week; ‘NARPO-as seen on TV!’ Thus I have seen David since the programme was broadcast and have pointed out to him that in the years since he retired, in 1995, he seems to have lost a Birmingham accent and about six inches of height!

David received a Queen’s Police Medal for his distinguished career; he served over 40 years with the Force. The work of David and his team revolutionised how investigation has taken place ever since. Everything we do today around DNA testing in terms of criminal investigation goes back to David’s decision to contact Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys on a hunch that something he had read about DNA and paternity in the Leicester Mercury could offer him the opportunity to catch the killer of Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth. The investigation described in ‘Code of a Killer’ was the first time that DNA was used in a criminal investigation and criminal prosecution in the United Kingdom.

During my time at Leicestershire I have also had the privilege of sitting with, speaking to and speaking at the ceremony at Leicester University that acknowledged the work of Sir Alec Jeffreys. I think that the story still has massive resonance for us today.  It tells us that policing is a complex business. It tells us that the world changes and that we have to move with the times and respond to those changes.  It also tells us that by working as a team we can solve many problems, and that sometimes doing things differently is as important as doing what we have always done and doing it well.

What struck me watching the programme was that, for all of the brilliance of the science, the committed team effort of police officers, staff, scientists and communications professionals brought to justice a man who may otherwise have evaded that justice. I also found it very powerful that the first thing that the DNA achieved was ruling out somebody who had actually made an admission to something that he had not done. It is interesting to think how we would deal with such a crime these days.  The most obvious thought is that the DNA of the offender would already have been on the National DNA database because of his offending history.

Our team now would include Contact Management, Patrol and Resolution Teams, Dedicated Neighbourhood Teams, Major Crime Detectives, Forensic Teams, HOLMES trained staff, Family Liaison Officers, Exhibits and Disclosure Teams, Witness Care staff and a CJ Team who would be drawn from the Force and from the East Midlands Collaboration The team work would be pretty fundamental to any significant achievement in bringing someone to justice.

Identification Unit

In the course of an extraordinarily busy week I am sure there were many other things that I did that may get a mention in other rather steadier times!  I would, however, highlight to you the excellent work of the Identification Unit. We hosted a visit from the Home Office to look at facial identification technology in the context of the very important ongoing review of its use.

As well as highlighting the speed and efficiency of our technology and sharing some examples where we have brought people to justice more speedily than may otherwise have been possible, we were also able to discuss the ethics of the process that we are going through. For instance we currently retain and use un-convicted photographs as we believe that the legislation (PACE) allows us to do so. This will clearly be an important aspect of the review and I was pleased to be able to support the excellent work of the team by explaining my thoughts about how facial ID fits into policing in a digital age.

Op Tiger

The month of March came to a close with another Op Tiger success story. Thank you to all officers and staff for their efforts during the fortnight of sustained proactive policing activity which saw some great results.  During the two weeks a total of 54 arrests were made, 15 warrants executed, 303 intelligence log submitted and a significant amount of drugs and stolen property recovered – clearly making a real impact.

A substantial amount of work also took place within local communities to provide reassurance and crime prevention advice, demonstrating that we are tackling the issues that matter most to them. Officers and staff also made great use of social media to relay the positive messages of the operation.

The key principles of Operation Tiger is about being proactive and on the front foot tackling crime and these principles still stand even when weeks of planned intense activity aren’t happening.

Congratulations Rachel Swann

Finally I am thrilled to announce that Rachel Swann has been successful in her attempt to become an Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) in Northamptonshire. Rachel has spent her whole career in Leicestershire and has thoroughly earned her promotion to ACC in Northamptonshire.

Rachel led the change team, headed up many operational incidents including the security of the British Olympic Team for 2012 and the Torch Relay, as well as dealing with the disorder of 2011. I know that many colleagues see Rachel as a role model and her approachable and professional approach will be missed by us here.

Our loss is the public of Northamptonshire’s gain. I am delighted for her and pleased that she will remain working with us through the East Midlands collaboration projects.

Speaking on her appointment Rachel said: “I will be very sad to leave Leicestershire after 20 years. It’s a really good force and I have worked with many good people who have made it an enjoyable experience. However, I am sure I will be a regular visitor to the force as the East Midlands forces work so closely together.”

Chief’s Week – w/c 6th April 2015

Mental Health and Policing

Mental health and policing is an area of work I deem very important. The Mental Health Triage Car has achieved some fantastic results and as of last week has received international acclaim. A Canadian TV company have heard about the work that we do here in Leicestershire and are making a documentary to illustrate the differences between the UK and Canada. The crew were out filming with PC Jag Sangha in the Mental Health Triage Car on Wednesday night and I was then interviewed by them on Thursday. To date we are using section 136 of the Mental Health Act 66% less than we were in 2012.

PCSO Rnajit Sonigra receiving his PCSO of the Year awardMore international fame for Leicestershire Police…

PCSO Ranjit Sonigra was awarded runner up PCSO of the Year last month; he has already cooked a celebratory (and delicious) curry for everyone at Spinney Hill and has now achieved further acclaim after being featured in a newspaper in India. He is clearly very proud of his job and his family are immensely proud to see him recognised for it.

Project Tally Ho!

This week has seen Michelle Wilson and Hayley Small earn some well-deserved praise for the work that they do around the Prevent agenda. They organised a women’s event in the Highfields area which included inputs on safer giving to charities and a survivor’s account of Female Genital Multilation as well as expert advice from Sarah Simons, a Cardiff University academic on the pivotal role of women in countering violent extremism.

“The women in this community are truly blessed and lucky to have such a wonderful team within our police force who truly care for this community. If it wasn’t for this event, I don’t think people in the community would be aware of what help and support is out there especially within our local police.”

Excellent work!