Working a late shift
I spent some very useful time working a late shift last week with PC Rob Cross. We started our duties at Market Bosworth, which is where I spent my childhood. Rob, rather fabulously, has the same collar number as his great grandfather had when he served in the Force. His great grandfather also distinguished himself in receiving the King’s Police Medal for his bravery in 1912: outside London Road Railway Station he managed to prevent a fully laden cart causing death and destruction by grabbing hold of its horse and in effect wrestling it to the floor. King George V himself presented PC Gray with his medal!
Rob and I covered many a mile on the rural section. That included considerable time and effort spent dealing with anti-social behaviour (ASB) in our way markers at Markfield. We attempted to resolve the issues by speaking at some length with both those believed to be perpetrating the ASB, and those who call us about its’ impact on them. It was good to see us using the way markers in the way that they are intended, and also working with partners, including the Impact team to seek a resolution. This kind of work by Neighbourhood Teams is part of our commitment to demand management. When we entered the house of one of the callers she read my name off my body armour and asked me, “Are you the chap that answers the phone when I phone 101?”
Rob and I also focussed our patrol on some of our more remote rural areas where there have been issues of lead and diesel theft. We were able to utilise the recently sponsored Land Rover so we were very visible, but not visible for the sake of being visible, visible with a purpose based on a patrol plan and a desire to engage a rural community that sometimes feel that we do not give its concerns as much priority as they would wish. I was grateful to Rob and his colleagues for making me so welcome. As ever I came away with some organisational issues which I was able to feed back to senior colleagues. I was also able to have tea from the brilliantly named ‘The Batter of Bosworth’ chip shop!
On foot in Loughborough
I spent Thursday afternoon on foot in Loughborough Market where we had a crime prevention stall. The market was very well attended and I was able to chat with members of the public and local Councillors about their concerns. We also dispensed a lot of crime prevention advice particularly around burglary and anti-social behaviour. It strikes me that we will need to be giving out more advice about online matters as we go forward and some of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection products really help in relation to that. I also found myself dealing with the most challenging of members of the public, a 3½ year old boy named Daniel. Having established his age I asked Daniel when he was four. He replied, “On my next birthday of course!” Out of the mouths of babes…
I also visited the emerging team at Braunstone. Here we have Fire and Police colleagues working hard together on prevention and demand management based at Ellesmere College. This kind of demand management builds on the kind of way marker work that I had seen earlier in the week with Rob and colleagues at Market Bosworth.
I did a number of ceremonial duties this week. The International Police Association very kindly donated one of the poppies from the Tower of London which is now proudly displayed by the book of remembrance at Headquarters.
The International Police Association (IPA) is a worldwide membership organisation for serving and retired police personnel. In Section UK, membership is open to serving and retired Police Officers, Special Constables and members of Police Staff employed by a Chief Constable or other appropriately designated Chief Officer of the Police Service. The IPA provides social activities at an individual or family level – trips, holidays, sporting events, competitions and exchange visits.
The IPA also organises seminars on police related topics. The benefits of individual police participation are many – make new friends, learn about policing in other countries, cultures and professional practice, and receive help with travel and accommodation. For the retired police family, IPA offers another opportunity to stay in touch with former work colleagues. To mark the year in which IPA was founded, that is 1950, the Association is giving away FREE* enrolment to the first 1,950 people who apply after 1 December 2014.
Farewell Bishop Tim Stevens
I was then hugely honoured to represent the Force as Leicester said farewell to Bishop Tim Stevens. I am not sure that I have ever been to a more moving civic event. To mark his departure into retirement The Bishop physically removed his mitre and cope before leaving the Cathedral in plain robes to the applause of a packed congregation, and the many people who were stood outside watching the service relayed in big screens. Through the ‘magic’ of twitter a member of the public is asking me why on earth we were involved with such things.
During my time here The Bishop has been out on foot in the city during public order issues, has convened faith leaders to bring them together to support our work and our investigation of child sexual exploitation, and he has drawn communities together at a time when counter terrorism work is crucially important.
I am not sure that every Bishop would work in such a way but we have been blessed to have a Bishop who has been prepared to go out of foot in the city when we are out there in public order kit. Hopefully this explains why we support such events. It also gave PCSO Jane Elton the opportunity to get the ultimate selfie; throughout the King Richard III services she was trying to be seen with Benedict Cumberbatch, instead all she managed was me!
National Arboretum for the Care Of Police Survivors service
Next week a dozen of us will set off from HQ to cycle to the National Arboretum for the Care Of Police Survivors service. We will, however, be going via Worcester and the Severn Valley, which is a rather ‘lumpy’ 180 miles. We will be joined by two of the late PC Bryan Moore’s children, who want to support the charity that has supported them since he was killed on duty with PC Andy Munn. We will also all be wearing a wrist band with the name of a fallen colleague; I will be wearing DC Tim Burton’s name, and his widow Sandra will be receiving it from me at the Arboretum. The link will allow you to support the charity if you feel so minded. Thanks for any support that you feel able to give. https://www.justgiving.com/SRC4