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Monthly update from Warwickshire's Police and Crime Commissioner
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The latest news from the Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner
Monthly update: August 2016
This month marks a small milestone as I reach 100 days in office on August 20. It has been a busy period, with work to produce my first Police and Crime Plan under way and numerous visits for me as I meet with the key figures throughout the county to gain a full picture of policing and community safety in Warwickshire.

The position I have found overall is positive; we are fortunate to be starting from one of relative strength and part of my role is to ensure that momentum is maintained in transforming what is an already good service into a great service.  Each area - be it the police, courts, probation, victims services or community safety - brings its own challenges but also many good practices and opportunities, which we need to maximise.  All the while we must also not lose sight of the need to continue finding more efficient and more effective ways of delivering services.

My Police and Crime Plan will outline how I will go about doing just that, but it is vitally important that it takes into account the views from a wide range of sources to ensure that the police and other agencies are focusing fully on the issues that matter most to local people. That's why I am pleased to have had over 650 responses to my police and crime consultation so far - but I am keen to hear from as many people as possible, so if you haven't yet responded, details on how you can do so can be found below.

During these first months in office I have devoted considerable time and effort in getting out and about around the police estate, visiting each police base to gain an understanding of how Warwickshire Police operates and, just as importantly, to meet as many officers, police staff and volunteers as possible.  I've also had the opportunity to sit down with a number of key partners to discuss the 'and crime' part of my role.

I have been struck by the warm welcome I have received from all quarters and the enthusiasm and dedication everyone has shown towards keeping the communities of Warwickshire safe.  This is something that we can very much build on in the weeks and months ahead and I am looking forward to sharing my finalised plan in the Autumn.

In the meantime, a warm welcome to my new subscribers and I hope you find my summary of key events over the last month of interest. 
Philip Seccombe
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner
Celebrating the very best of policing

One of the highlights of the past month has undoubtedly been attending the national Police Bravery Awards, organised by the Police Federation of England and Wales.  The showcase awards celebrate the many exceptional individuals in policing who go the extra mile to keep the public safe despite encountering some of the most challenging situations imaginable.

PC Sara Skinner receiving the Midlands Police Bravery awardThere were a huge number of extremely humbling and impressive stories of courage and professionalism heard throughout the night, not least among them the story of Warwickshire officer PC Sara Skinner, who is based at Leamington Spa.

Sara had ‘acid’ thrown in her face when she tried to stop four burglary suspects in Lillington in April last year but, after receiving some brief initial treatment for her injuries, was immediately back at work to ensure that the criminals were apprehended as quickly as possible.  

All four suspects were later arrested and subsequently sentenced at court for offences ranging from conspiracy to commit burglary, assault and kidnap. A forensic scientist later identified the liquid poured into the Sara’s face as ammonium hydroxide, which causes burns.

I was both proud and delighted to be there in person to congratulate Sara when she was announced as the extremely worthy winner of the Midlands regional bravery award. Sara's story only serves to emphasise the dedication shown by police officers across the county day in, day out, and we are extremely fortunate to have such high-calibre people keeping our communities safe.

You can read more about Sara's story here.

The evening also marked the very first public engagement for the new Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, and I can think of no better introduction to the world of policing for which she now has oversight.


Warwickshire PCC Philip Seccombe with, from left, Midlands Bravery Award winner PC Sara Skinner, Home Secretary Amber Rudd MP and Warwickshire Police Chief Constable Martin Jelley at the Police Bravery Awards 2016.
New project launched to help veterans
Warwickshire PCC Philip Seccombe (second from left) at the launch of the Remember Veterans project.
Towards the end of last month I was delighted to speak at the official launch of the Remember Veterans project, which has won a grant totalling almost £300,000 to help keep local military veterans away from criminality.

West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion has been awarded funding from the Armed Forces Covenant to deliver the project in West Mercia and, in partnership with my office, across Warwickshire over the next two years.  The project will provide veterans with, amongst other things, a new referral and helpline service, peer support, and help to access training and employment support.

With approximately 3.5% of the UK’s prison population having a background in the Armed Forces (according to Ministry of Defence figures) it is vitally important that more is done to prevent our veterans from becoming trapped in the criminal justice system when they return to civilian life.

PCC Philip Seccombe speaking at the Remember Veterans launchAs someone who has spent more than 25 years with the Territorial Army and as the current chairman of the Warwickshire Army Benevolent Fund, I am all too aware of the difficulties servicemen and women can experience once their military career has ended. For some it can be a downwards spiral, leaving them both vulnerable to becoming victims of crime and also to becoming an offender. 

I am delighted therefore that the Remember Veterans initiative has been awarded this funding and that the scheme will be operating in Warwickshire as well as West Mercia. It has the potential to make a very real difference to the lives of our veterans, reducing re-offending and making our communities safer.

Find out more about the project at www.remember-veterans.com.
Engaging with Warwickshire's Young Parliamentarians
 
Engaging with all parts of Warwickshire society – young and old – is a fundamental part of my role as Commissioner, so I was delighted to meet with the Youth Parliament recently. After giving an outline of my own background prior to taking up the PCC role and an update on my vision for policing and community safety in Warwickshire, I was pleased to take questions from the Young Parliamentarians.

Ideas for youth engagement were among the topics discussed and the members were also particularly keen to talk about hate crime, particularly in the context of European Referendum vote. I wad pleased to learn that they have tackling racial and religious discrimination as one of the priorities they want to address.

The PCC meets the Warwickshire Youth Parliament I was able to reassure them that reports of all forms of hate crime will continue to be investigated thoroughly by Warwickshire Police and is a subject that the force takes very seriously, with a refreshed campaign to encourage more people to report hate crime due to start later this year.  And while we have not experienced a surge in reports of hate crime to police in Warwickshire following on from the EU referendum, we know that other parts of the country have, so it is something that remains under close review.

Overall I found the level of questioning and the interest the Young Parliamentarians have shown in making Warwickshire a safer place very heartening.  It’s important that young people also get their voices heard and are able to feedback on future priorities and directions and I will be making sure the Youth Parliament has that opportunity with my Police and Crime Plan.
Don't forget to have your say on policing!
Speaking of my Police and Crime Plan, there's still time to have your say if you have not yet taken part in my consultation.

The plan will set out my aims and ambitions for making communities safe and protecting people from harm and it is hugely important that it reflects not only my views, but also those of residents, businesses owners and people who work in and visit the county.

I want to get feedback from as many people across Warwickshire as possible so, if you haven't done so already, please spare a few minutes to complete the short survey – click the button below to get started.  Your views will help influence what goes into the final plan when it is published later this year. 

The consultation will also be available online on my website at 
www.warwickshire-pcc.gov.uk until Friday August 26.  

Paper copies of the survey can also be made available on request - please contact my office on 01926 412322 or email opcc@warwickshire.gov.uk with your details and we can arrange for copies to be posted to you.
 
Take the consultation
The month ahead

CalendarHere are some of the key events in my diary for the month ahead:

August 8: Warwickshire Strategic Justice Board
August 8: Addressing new student officers at Leek Wootton
August 8: Meeting to discuss road safety
August 9: Weekly meeting with Chief Constable
August 10: Visits to CID, Forensics, the Firearms School and Officer Safety Training facilities
August 12:  Interviewing candidates for the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner role.
August 13: Visiting PCC-funded Bike Skills Workshop at Gaydon
August 15: Visiting Firearms Licensing Unit
August 16: Weekly meeting with Chief Constable
August 16: Meeting with staff associations
 
The next newsletter will be issued on Friday, September 2.
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