It was with a heavy heart that I was told of the untimely passing of PS 111 Stew Sparling. His courage in the face of Motor Neurone Disease has been inspirational. He has had great support from his family, but also from colleagues such as Ian McGrath and Ian Coulton. To turn his own ill health into the positives for others through The Treble One Trust tells you all that you need to know about Stew. May he rest in peace. Our thoughts are with his family. I have asked that we retire the collar number 111: it seems to me to be an appropriate gesture.
Caught on Camera
Channel 5’s Caught on Camera isn’t a programme that I normally watch. It is a bit too much like a busman’s holiday! However I made an exception this week as it featured our investigation into the murders that took place in the City in the autumn of 2013. DI Simon Shuttleworth and DC Dave Greenhalgh were both interviewed. They came across as they are; passionate, knowledgeable and committed to getting justice for grieving families. Given the debate about facial ID systems I couldn’t help but speculate in my mind whether that would have speeded up bringing offenders to justice. The use of Body Worn Video was highlighted too; we continue to roll out sets for you all to access in conjunction with other East Midlands Forces.
You may not be aware that I am doing some work nationally on behalf of police Chiefs on interpreters. This involves working with the Home Office, and supported by our own Ian Fraser, to ensure appropriately trained interpreters are available. There is a large piece of work ongoing about best value procurement too. That meant that I was able to dial into the PACE strategy board. This is held to ensure that PACE, a seminal piece of legislation is there ever was one, is up to date. I am suggesting some changes that would allow interpreting presence virtually, rather than by attendance.
Beat Bobby of the Year
In the course of the rest of the week I was able to be involved in selecting the Beat Bobby of the Year award. The standard of entries was ridiculously high. To help me choose I was joined by Tiff Lynch, Kerry McLernon, Sir Clive Loader and Mercury editor Kevin Booth. After much debate we have selected the outstanding work of PC Chris Perry from Melton. His work with local people had a breadth and depth that proved unbeatable. Well done Chris!
Association of Special Constabulary Chief Officers
I also enjoyed seeing the national leaders of the Association of Special Constabulary Chief Officers, welcoming health partners to carry out a flu pandemic exercise, and opening the Loughborough University Police Research Group Conference: issues covered included custody, mental health, high risk sex offenders and burglary. A fascinating evidence base is building up on our doorstep.
Challenge from Krefeld
In an unusual development I received a challenge to the Force to produce a soap box derby car! The challengers are from Leicester’s twin town of Krefeld, and the challenge was made by some students from their visiting HQ. A team from CMC have accepted the challenge and will seek to uphold our honour in Krefeld in August!
Leicestershire Regiment Association annual service and march past
On Sunday I was proud to represent the Force at Royal Tigers Sunday in the Cathedral. The Leicestershire Regiment Association hold their annual service and march past. The obvious pride of the veterans in their Regiment was reflected in the prayer to ‘have mercy on the servants of the Royal Leicestershire Regiment, who out on the boldness of the Tiger in the day of battle.’ thanks to the colleagues who provided visible presence for the event. It was much appreciated by the veterans, and enabled us to explain our body worn video to the Lord Lieutenant, High Sheriff of Leicester, Lord Mayor of Leicester and Chairman of the County Council afterwards.
Congratulations Roger Bannister
Lastly, but by no means least, our new Deputy Chief Constable will be Assistant Chief Constable Roger Bannister. It was tough to decide after a very competitive process that only featured very strong candidates. I am sure that you will wish him well when he takes up the role during the summer.