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.