As we look forward to festivities with friends and loved ones this week, our thoughts are with the families of colleagues both here in the UK and abroad whose lives were lost in the last seven days.
The killings of PC Neil Doyle in Merseyside and Officers Liu Wenjin and Raphael Ramos in New York and an attack in central France on Saturday which injured three officers are a stark illustration of the dangers our officers face both on and off duty.
Sir Jon Murphy, the Chief Constable of Merseyside, has asked me to pass on his sincere gratitude for all of the messages of condolence you have sent and for the support that we as the “police family” have provided to our colleagues in Merseyside.
I reassure you that while the threat to police from terrorism remains “Substantial”, there is no specific threat to Leicestershire Police. It is important that we go about our business as usual, using our professional judgement and making sure that the people we serve enjoy Christmas and New Year safely and peacefully. Last week Sir Clive Loader and I recorded a joint Christmas message to colleagues and the public which you can see here.
The Home Secretary’s announcement of the police funding settlement for next year brings into sharp focus the work that the force has been doing under the Project Edison banner to ensure we can continue to deliver a first class professional service. A 5.1% reduction in central government funding coupled with the “top-slicing” of the budget to fund HMIC inspections, the IPCC and national policing programmes underlines the importance of the future-proofing work we have already done.
This presents a significant challenge to all forces, particularly in light of the additional demands on our services outside of our core crime-fighting role. The breadth of the demands of modern policing in Leicestershire is captured perfectly, via the magic of YouTube, in A Day Policing Our Communities .
Santa Claus is coming to town and the last full week before Christmas was the usual frenzy of engagements, meetings and, of course, carol singing! I was delighted to see so many of you and your families at the Cathedral for my annual service and to have a chat over a mince pie or two.
Well done to the skills trainers and occupational health team on some of the work they have been doing to support officers through the new fitness tests. The overall pass rate has now risen to 98%, which is a fantastic achievement and a testament to the professionalism of our officers as well as the support provided through personal action plans developed by the trainers and OHU.
During the week I met with four officers who are retiring after notching up 120 years’ service and all of whom have made huge contributions to the force over the last three decades.
To you all, whatever you are doing and wherever you will be, I wish you a happy, safe and peaceful Christmas.