Last week was my turn for ‘on call’ chief officer duties. That meant starting my day with a call from the Control Room outlining the overnight incidents, and looking back at the previous 24 hours, and forward to the day ahead. In the course of the week it never fails to astonish me how broad the demand on us is. We dealt with some real tragedies, including a very difficult and upsetting incident where a young girl was killed, faced very real threats, and supported various public events. My week reflected the College of Policing’s demand analysis that just short of 80% of what we do isn’t directly crime related. Thanks to all who contributed to the week; I felt privileged to be part of a team with broad skills working together for the good of others.
The links between our work and that of health were writ large last week with a very successful national Street Triage Expo. The expo saw practitioners from all over the country joined by the Home Office and health practitioners to look at how the triage system works, and how it fits into the Liaison and Diversion services available from our cells. I also joined colleagues in CMC and firearms, and Supt Adam Streets, in hosting Healthwatch leaders from Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
We showed them our demand video, and arranged visits to the control room and the firearms range. It was good to see their interest in what we do, and how health can help us to deliver better for local people.
The links with health were further cemented as I was interviewed by Hospital Radio, chatting and choosing five records, and also helped to judge the Leicester Hospitals’ ‘Caring at its’ Best’ Awards. Some of the citations were fantastic, showing a dedication to service that we would all recognise. It was as hard to judge as our awards.
Recruiting was going strong in 1985. How do I know? Because a number of police colleagues are retiring after 30 years’ service. Those thirty years are, of course, defined by the pension scheme of the day. Last week I saw DC Steve Gamble, who has worked tirelessly on Special Branch, DC Sean Lynch, detective, Family Liaison Officer and golfer, CI Sally Chivers, who served in three forces and at HMIC in her career, and Inspector Amrik Basra, who has retired from policing just as his campaign to find blood donors hits a new peak with #PassItOnLeicester. Between them they have helped to keep people safe for 120 years. It was great to be able to thank them for their efforts.
#PassItOnLeicester started this week and we had the flag first. Those at headquarters had the chance to see the fearsome Cole, Kay, Streets, Haward ‘It’s a Knockout’ team in action on Tuesday. What could possibly go wrong? It is fantastic to support Anthony Nolan, Rik Basra and so many people in need of donors. Please get involved if you can.
The Force was buzzing over my on call week, with some serious incidents requiring our involvement, whilst the Skyride saw thousands cycling around traffic free streets. Victoria Park saw the Flavours of Rugby Festival which I was involved in with the team that I coach. With the World Cup heading to Leicester I couldn’t help but notice that the Italian team seem to be very persuaded of our change programme!
Despite the splendid summer bank holiday weather it was good to see so many of you joining Matt Spradbury at his Fun Day. It was also great to see the family of Stew Sparling there, and the Treble One Trust made a very touching donation to Matt and his family. Motor Neurone Disease is a tough illness. The support for Matt is very important, and those who worked tirelessly to make the event a success should be proud of what was achieved. Thank you.
With the intranet allowing comments on articles, including this one, we might remember that Rate Your Local Police still allows us public feedback. Typical of the positive comments received is this about PC Joe Lloyd, from Oakham.
As I sit to write this blog my holiday feels like it was some time ago, although I have only been back a week.
My week ended with a meeting with our PCC, and the Chiefs and PCCs of Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire, and our wider senior teams too. We spent time looking at how we currently work together and how we can work together into the future. That future includes the expectation that our budget will be further reduced, with our Government Grant (which accounts for over 60% of our income) likely to fall by between 25-40%. That is being considered in the spending review, and we will find out the exact detail in November.
Building on the discussions that our own Executive Group and our Strategic Chief Officer Group meetings have already begun, we agreed to develop our existing work together as we seek to maximise how we spend every penny that we get to best effect on behalf of the public. That means working with Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire in a Strategic Alliance looking at how best we can collaboratively approach the challenge of reducing budgets whilst enhancing service delivery to protect the public.
That said, we are at a very early stage in our considerations. There is an enormous amount of detailed work that now needs to be undertaken before any final decision is taken.
During the rest of the week I did media and academic interviews on a very varied set of topics. That included facial identification technology, the role and future of police leadership, how I became a Chief, and the Tigers prospects for the new season. Hospital Radio also let me choose five records too; I shan’t spoil the surprise prior to broadcast across Bank holiday weekend.
Elsewhere I spent a morning in London at the Home Office, where I chaired a group looking at 101.That discussion included other options to phoning us; face to face, online offer and accessibility all featured. I also met with staff who deal with the contracts to allow us to purchase uniform on a consistent and national basis. I then hot footed, well slow trained it back from ‘the Smoke’ to join the St Matthews neighbourhood team with the Contact Project in some community cricket. We must make sure that we are focussing such diversionary work in the right places. Our presence needs to be evidence based and proportionate too.
International Association of Women in Policing
I concluded my week by seeing off PCs Laura Nutt and Steffi Barber to represent the Force in Cardiff at the International Association of Women in Policing event. Both were going from very interesting operational weeks into a conference environment. It was good to see two excellent representatives heading west on our behalf.
It is always good to get away from it all completely for a couple of weeks, I hope that, like me, you have managed to get some time with your family and friends over the summer period. I can recommend the Massif Central, the volcanic heart of France, and the West Coast, where I continued my struggle with the waves; they always seem to win! I also found myself climbing a fantastic extinct volcano by the Puy de Dome, and doing a 1.6 kilometre long zip wire that went off the top of the mountain at Super Besse, before heading across a lake at over 100 kmh! It made Exec Group seem a doddle!
I was very touched to visit Pegasus Bridge, scene of an audacious airborne assault the night before D Day on 5th June 1944, which was incredibly evocative and made me reflect on the sacrifice made by previous generations that allow us to police a democracy. It was also striking just how young the men that fought were, while their battle hardened ‘veteran’ Commander, who had previously fought across France in WWI, was the same age as me! He took a tin of marmalade with him on the raid; it had been presented to him by his team so that he could breakfast properly as D Day dawned!
While I was away I was delighted to get calls about the result of the Hinckley ‘Operation Milestone’ murder trial. This has been a long and challenging investigation that rightly drew the highest of praise from the trial Judge. I have visited the family during the long months where there was much that we knew that we couldn’t share with them.
While the result will not bring back Hayley, the brilliance, determination and resilience of the investigative will at least allow them to know what actually happened that night.
I attended one of the first briefings after the murder took place; to see the evidence brought together over the intervening months and years has shown a team doing their duty to local people.
I am very proud of everyone who has contributed to an investigation that has been tested to the full, but not been found wanting.
While I was away the court case involving Lord Janner began. The team have followed the evidence without fear or favour. It is now for a Court to decide what justice is in this case after the appearance in court of the defendant on Friday.
A busy week looms, with the challenge of catching up on operational incidents and correspondence of all sorts. I also have meetings on collaboration, developing 101 nationally, and a variety of radio interviews on all sorts of topics.
The worrying thing is that, while I was away, I missed all that sort of thing!
The week started off with work continuing to respond to and investigating the serious assaults of the previous weekend. There was an excellent response by all those people involved. Thank you.
On Tuesday afternoon I visited East Midlands Specialist Operations Unit (EMSOU) Major Crime staff at Beaumont Leys and was briefed on some of the key lines of enquiry including some important family liaison work.
Well done Leicester City for being top of the league after a win on Saturday and thank you to Superintendent Ball and all those involved; it looked to be excellent from a policing perspective.
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An incident with not only a happyish ending but one which reminds each and every one of us over what working for a Police Force or indeed the Emergency Services is all about. If you get time please have a read of the short blog regarding a missing 81-year-old man from the village of Manton over in Rutland, in fact not very far from Rutland Water itself.
The blog describes the experience of a son’s dealings with officers and staff from Leicestershire Police and a number of other agencies drawn together from across the Region.
The man describes putting out a frantic tweet and Facebook post and even getting replies from Alison Moyet and Caroline Flack! There is a real sense of pride in reading the blog. The missing man was found poorly but alive some miles away and the son expresses his thanks to force personnel. I know that every day sterling efforts are made by force personnel and please accept my thanks and those of the public.