Everyone in the force should be very proud of their achievements over the last 12 months, which were highlighted by the publication of the very first PEEL inspection by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) last week.
The hard work that you have put into protecting communities, reducing and investigating crime and tackling anti-social behaviour achieved a “Good” rating across the board. HMIC commended the force for its commitment to neighbourhood policing and singled us out as leading the Service on cutting crime.
This has been achieved during a period of significant change and financial constraint. Deputy Chief Constable Simon Edens was the first to acknowledge the “dedication of every officer and staff member” and the “strength of our partnerships and our collective efforts to keep communities safe”. He is much too humble to mention his part in that, so I would like to publicly thank him for his strong leadership and personal commitment in driving this work and steering us through transformation.
If you haven’t read HMIC’s findings yet, click here.
If you’ve ever wondered what being a Chief Constable involves, last week just about had it all, from launching a counter-terrorism campaign to presenting the Girl Guides’ awards and a great deal in between.
On Monday I addressed 200 staff at City Hall at the launch of a national campaign to highlight Counter Terrorism Awareness Week. The current national threat assessment indicates a terrorist attack is likely and it is therefore vital everyone is alert to suspicious behaviour. In the evening I joined the Police and Crime Commissioner and Rutland LPU Commander Inspector Lou Cordiner in Oakham to explain the force transformation to councillors and local people and to reassure them that they can continue to expect a good service post ‘Project Edison’. That will include a front enquiry service shared with Rutland County Council, and a newly built police office. I also urged the farming community to keep fertiliser safe as part of CT awareness week.
I was privileged to be invited to join a spirited discussion in the “City of Dreaming Spires” on Wednesday, when All Souls College hosted the Oxford Policing Policy Forum. This looked at the future of Neighbourhood Policing.
The College of Policing is developing an evidence base on Local Policing and what works. This is work that I commissioned on behalf of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and was approved in January 2014 at the College’s Professional Committee. It is a three year programme developing an evidence base for:-
- Effective demand profiling and response
- Processes for proactive and response policing
- Increasing public participation and engagement
- Embedding crime reduction
The overall aim of the programme is to deliver the right people, at the right places and in the right numbers, in order to create neighbourhoods that are safe and feel safe. Those people may not just be Police Officers or Police Community Support Officers (PCSO) and those places may be virtual!
The next day I hosted a national “webinar” on POLKA (Police On Line Knowledge Application) to talk about the Police Digitisation Programme and how forces, including Leicestershire, are using technology to become more “user-friendly”, improving the public’s experience. In an age in which you can track a parcel from one side of the globe to your doorstep, book a holiday and do your shopping without ever leaving your armchair, there are real opportunities to rethink and reshape some of the interactions we have with the people who call upon our services. In Leicestershire we’re heading in the right direction with innovations like “Rate Your Police” and instant victim updates by text. This doesn’t mean we will lose the human touch, which is as important now as when Peel first set out his Principles of Law Enforcement in 1829.
Those principles are all about being part of communities, meeting people and listening to and responding to their concerns. The Police and Crime Commissioner, Sir Clive Loader, and I took the opportunity to do just that with shoppers at the Highcross in the city centre last Thursday. What we heard confirmed what HMIC had already told us – that you are doing a really good job. The most common issue raised was the absence of lit street lighting; I was able to reassure that there is no evidence of any consequent crime uplifts.
A great example of Peel’s principles in action came to my attention last week when a serving firefighter wrote to the force to praise the efforts of PC Emma Jayne and her colleagues in working with students on her Clarendon Park beat over the last three years to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour. Emma has been working closely with the Fire Service, combining fire safety checks with crime and ASB advice.
He wrote: “She and the PCSOs have been a great help this year and it was noticeable that lots of locals see her and come and pass on their concerns. They open up in a way maybe they wouldn’t with other agencies as they know she is genuinely interested in their concerns. She is a real asset to yourselves and Clarendon Park”.
Fantastic work Emma, your hard work is clearly very much appreciated and making a real difference to your community.
On Friday I visited the LGBT Centre in Wellington Street to find out about the array of services it provides. We work closely with the Centre on hate crime in particular. I was please to agree to the Force being part of the Centre’s Twelve Partners Programme
I opened Leicester’s Got Talent on Saturday, which was staged by our great friends at Crimestoppers to showcase the positive contribution many talented young people make to life in the city and to highlight the work the charity does to help communities fight crime. The audience were disappointed; they were expecting Simon Cowell not Simon Cole!
Thank you to all who have once again shown great generosity and comradeship in supporting Operation Red Cap this year. A total 127 boxes of festive gifts will be winging their way from Leicestershire Police to Military Police colleagues stationed abroad over Christmas. I have been asked to pass on their gratitude and I remind you that the last free posting date is this Friday (December 5th). The Cole family box is now being hastily prepared for sending!
On Saturday the Police Charity Mess raised over £4000 for Rainbows Children’s Hospice. The Hospice, based at Loughborough, does great work for local children.
On Sunday I did some TV interviews about the issue of children being detained in cells in the absence of suitable Places of Safety. Then the Police Rugby Team took on England Deaf Rugby in a tough game of rugby. Supported by the PLOD (Police Link Officers for the Deaf) scheme the game attracted a lot of attention in local media. The sight of the Red Rose on a shirt brought the best out of the Police team, captained by Ed Prowse. A last minute try saw England home 13-7, having been clinging on at 7-8 up deep in their own half. A great game of rugby, the opportunity for the PLOD scheme team to sign, and money raised for charity made for a great day. The beneficiaries this time being the Leicester Deaf Action Group (via the Diocese of Leicester), and the England Deaf Rugby team themselves.