The ties that bind the officers and staff of Leicestershire Police as a family are strong and achieve some remarkable results.
This was clear for all to see last week as Bharat Soma began a 23-year prison sentence for a brutal knife attack on a young couple as they walked along a city street in broad daylight.
Mr Justice Saunders praised the swift actions of the first officers at the scene as Darshana Narotam and Prashant Govinde lay with grievous injuries in East Park Road last January. Their tremendous efforts to save life – the first principle of policing – were captured on body-worn video played to the jury. The officers had the presence of mind to use that technology to record what they believed may be the dying statements of the victims and secure vital evidence against their attacker.
This was followed by a painstaking investigation led by the Force Serious Crime Team, supported by our forensics and Criminal Justice teams. Incidents like this demonstrate the dedication and professionalism of our workforce and everyone who played a part should be very proud of their contribution.
Cases such as this also demonstrate the care that we and our partners provide for victims of crime. A great deal of work is currently being undertaken to improve victim care still further, commissioned by the Police and Crime Commissioner. Victims are the most important people in any investigation and the reason why we do what we do. The Police Service and our Criminal Justice colleagues have a duty to support people who have suffered harm from the moment they report a crime through to giving evidence in court and beyond.
It was good to see we had a really positive response to the recent visit of the Health Bus, provided by Police Mutual, with 167 employees taking the opportunity to have a free medical check-up. Meanwhile many of you also took the opportunity to have a financial check-up with PMAS advisors.
Last Tuesday I welcomed the High Sheriffs of Leicestershire and Rutland to Force Headquarters for a tour of our many departments. They were very impressed by what they saw, from the “calm and efficient” work in the control room to new developments in our forensics teams. They have asked me to thank all of those who made them feel so welcome and for giving them an insight into the huge amount of work that goes on “behind the scenes”.
Tuesday marked the United Nations International Day for the Abolition of Slavery and I attended a special event at De Montfort University to speak about the work we do as a force to combat modern slavery. It is hard to believe that nearly than 200 years after William Wilberforce led the campaign to abolish slavery, human beings continue to be trafficked and forced into slavery and servitude in the UK. Nine years ago Leicestershire was one of the first forces in the UK to successfully prosecute a case of international trafficking for sexual exploitation and for the last seven years we have trained all new recruits in spotting the signs of trafficking and slavery. We have investigated a number of cases, the majority of which have led to prosecution, and secured the freedom of some very vulnerable individuals.
Next year the Government will introduce the Modern Slavery Act which will streamline and strengthen our powers to tackle those who trade in human misery. You can find out more about the new measures here. This is an issue which we shall overcome only with the help of communities and I took the opportunity to encourage more people to report any suspicions either directly to us or to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111. They can now translate calls in 150 languages!
Building trust in communities is a key factor in encouraging more widespread reporting of serious crimes. I have been greatly impressed by the work that Acting Special Sergeant Izzy Kos has been doing using social media to engage with the Polish community in Leicestershire and beyond. Izzy and our Social Media Team have developed a Polish language Facebook account which now has nearly 3,000 followers in Leicester and many more all over the world. The number of followers has doubled in the last two months alone. This is a groundbreaking project which is transforming the way the people we serve communicate with us, as well as highlighting our work and local issues to a global audience.
We police 365 days a year and, like many other caring professions, Christmas is one of our busiest times of the year. Our officers and staff have been out and about across the force area targeting would-be “Grinches” and helping those who need our help and support as the number of Christmas shopping days edges towards single figures. Thank you to all who dealt with some very challenging incidents over the weekend.
Congratulations to all of those who found out last week that they were successful at the recent boards for promotion to Inspector. They are:
On Sunday retired colleagues regaled DCC Edens, ACC Kay, ACC Bannister and I with stories of Christmas past at the National Association of Police Officers’ festive lunch. This year we were joined by a very special guest – former Chief Constable Matt Baggott. Matt has very fond memories of his time here in Leicestershire and has asked me to pass on his best wishes to all of our staff and their families over the festive season.