Monthly update from Warwickshire's Police and Crime Commissioner
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The latest news from the Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner
May 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect how we all live our daily lives, though thankfully our collective hard work and effort does at least mean that we have passed the peak and can begin to look to the future with more optimism.  As we begin to see restrictions eased, it is important to plan for the future and ensure that policing and all of the services helping victims, rehabilitating offenders and those supporting the criminal justice system continue to function effectively.

Cover of the Covid-19 SupplementTo aid with this, I have published a new plan which outlines the work I and my office have carried out to date to meet the challenges of the pandemic, as well as the key risks going forward and how we plan to meet them.  The document, available on my website, supplements the existing Police and Crime Plan, which continues for the remainder of my term of office and into 2021, seeking to create a safer, more secure Warwickshire.

As well as ensuring that there is the right level of planning and co-ordination going on across community safety organisations in Warwickshire, another important part of my role as Commissioner is to support Warwickshire Police while at the same time holding them to account.  I wanted to make sure that the force's approach to tackling the Covid-19 pandemic was both the right one and also widely understood, with a chance for the public to pose their own questions about the response and policing more generally to the Chief Constable.

Earlier this month, I held a special Covid-19 'Performance Accountability Meeting' with the Chief Constable and Assistant Chief Constable Debbie Tedds, putting a range of questions to them over the course of an hour or so.  They were open and candid in their responses and the overriding impression I was left with was of a police force that is coping well with the current circumstances.  

I was pleased to hear further evidence that the public has been supportive of both the restrictions, with the vast majority of people abiding by the rules, and also the way in which the county has been policed throughout. You can read the full question and answer session on my website and you can also read about the positive results of a public survey on the subject later in this newsletter.

Enforcement, of course, remains an option for officers but in the overwhelming majority of cases, people are taking notice when challenged and then doing the right thing. It remains vitally important that we all continue to follow the advice on social distancing, particularly as the lockdown restrictions ease and people become more active outside of their homes. While we do need to get our daily lives back on track, we must do so with the right level of caution to ensure we do not risk a second peak of the virus taking hold.

As you may have read elsewhere, Warwickshire is to be part of the early roll out of the Government’s new £300 million test and trace work .The county will be leading the pilot to develop tailored plans aimed at identifying and containing outbreaks in places such as schools, care homes and work places. Taking this more localised approach should help limit the spread of the virus, so I view it as good news that Warwickshire will be leading the way forward for the rest of the country.

I do know that the past few months have been incredibly difficult and there are still considerable challenges for us all in the weeks ahead.  That's why it's vitally important to emphasise that support services around the county are still functioning well and available to help.  You can find a wealth of information and advice on where to go for help on the OPCC website (see link in the Covid-19 information section below), which I will ensure remains updated as we move through the pandemic.

In the meantime, stay alert, stay safe and look out for one another.

Philip Seccombe TD
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner

Community projects given a £2.25 million boost 

Projects to keep communities safe and protect some of the most vulnerable in society are among the schemes in Warwickshire being given a £2.25 million pound boost by my grants and commissioned services funding.

This year, a total of £1,055,814 is being distributed through my Grants Scheme to projects across Warwickshire, with funding confirmed more than a month earlier than usual in order to ensure financial support is readily in place for organisations supporting the most vulnerable through the current Covid-19 coronavirus crisis. I wanted to make sure that there would be no uncertainty for those organisations, particularly for those who have found that other funding streams have been affected by the current crisis. It is especially important that those organisations working with the most vulnerable in society can continue their work at this time as it is needed more than ever.

You can find a full list of the grants for 2020/21 on my website.

Applications were made before the outbreak of the Covid-19 epidemic, so we have spoken to all of the recipients to understand how their plans might have changed and whether further support may be needed. We have also brought forward the payment of these grants and donations to ensure that there will be no interruption to this vital work.

The grants come in addition to the more than £1.2 million of funding which I invest each year in directly commissioned services, supporting victims of crime, including domestic abuse, sexual abuse and child exploitation, as well as substance misuse services for adults and children.

We have also received confirmation that the Ministry of Justice is making an additional £192,000 available for organisations large and small providing domestic abuse or sexual violence support services across Warwickshire during the Covid-19 emergency.  The emergency funding will be administered through my office to cover the period from 24 March to 31 October 2020.  It is to help meet the additional costs registered charities or social enterprise have incurred or will incur whilst adapting their services during the pandemic, and to cope with demand increases resulting from it.
Precept rise gives extra resources to tackle priorities
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe with members of the new Vehicle Crime Team at Greys Mallory
Meeting members of the new Vehicle Crime Team at Greys Mallory

When asking local residents for increased contributions for policing through the Council Tax over the past two years, I promised to make sure that Warwickshire Police had the resources it needed to give extra focus to the issues that matter most to communities.  I thank you all for your support in giving that extra funding and want to make sure you know how it is being used effectively.

I'm pleased therefore to be able to report that three areas of policing are set to see increased focus across the county as a direct result of these extra resources.

New or expanded teams will now provide extra resilience in tackling vehicle crime and rural crime, while also giving enhanced policing visibility to communities, businesses and retailers in the larger town centres across Warwickshire.

In detail, the additional precept funding is enabling:

  • Two vehicle crime teams to be launched this month – one based at Bedworth and one at Greys Mallory near Warwick. The teams will focus on tackling vehicle crime, to supplement the force’s commitment to reducing these offences. Officers are already hard at work targeting offenders.
  • The Rural Crime Team, which was launched last year and currently consists of one sergeant and four PCs, will double in size with the addition of a further four PCs. Officers will be split between Stratford, Atherstone and Rugby, enabling the team to increase their presence in the whole county. The extended team will be up-and-running by the end of June.
  •  Five new Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) police officers to be recruited across the county, to supplement the work of existing SNT teams in Rugby, Leamington, Warwick, Stratford and Nuneaton. The additional officers will be focusing on foot patrol in town centres, providing additional visibility and working with local businesses to identify and address any concerns. All five new roles are intended to be in place by the end of June.

Vehicle crime, rural crime and neighbourhood policing in our town centres are among the topics I get most feedback from the public on, so its is really good news that they will all now be getting enhanced focus. I am sure this is something communities across the county will also welcome.

Overall, it has been a record-breaking year for recruitment, meaning Warwickshire Police is now in a strong position, with over 1,000 officers for the first time in a decade or more.  Alongside these newly expanded teams, there are also many more officers now in patrol policing helping to respond to the public’s calls to 999 and 101 and this is beginning to make a real difference and delivering on my ambition to create a safer, more secure Warwickshire.

Note: The Vehicle Crime Team has got off to a flying start, with 13 arrests in its first five days.  Read more on the Warwickshire Police website.

Public supports Warwickshire Police's approach to Covid-19

Graphic showing a smiling woman talking to a friendly police officer at a distanceOn a positive note, despite issues seen in some parts of the country, here in Warwickshire the reaction from the public to social distancing restrictions has been largely very supportive. Warwickshire Police has had to issue among the fewest number of fines in the country as people have been largely very compliant with the rules. There is of course a balance that must be struck; if the police are heavy-handed in their enforcement, public goodwill would be lost, while at the other end of the scale, an overly lenient approach risks undermining the purpose of the restrictions.  As we begin to see an easing of the lock down, it is vitally important that this balance continues to be right.

To provide reassurance that its approach was the right one, Warwickshire Police commissioned telephone surveys of a random sample of residents to gain their views on how it is carrying out its work in the pandemic. Each week for the past four weeks, 100 people in Warwickshire were contacted and asked for their views.

Gratifyingly, 83% of recipients said they believed officers were doing a ‘good job’ during the crisis, while 70% said they fully supported the force’s approach. The way the force communicates with people via social media channels was also praised by 68% of respondents.

People contacted for the survey also said they have been pleased to see extra patrols in their neighbourhoods, praised officers for helping some of society’s most vulnerable and said they believed the force was taking a ‘fair’ approach in keeping people safe during lock down.
Covid-19 Coronavirus information
Visit the OPCC website for the latest news and updates on the response to the Covid-19 outbreak, together with links and information about the support services helping victims of crime and helping protect the vulnerable.
Visit our Covid-19 Information and Advice page

To contact the OPCC:

We are continuing to operate as normal, though our offices in Northgate Street, Warwick remain closed and my staff are working remotely. You can continue to contact us as normal however by email at or by phone at 01926 412322.  Wherever possible, please try to contact us by email in the first instance, but please note that due to our revised working arrangements, it may take us longer than usual to provide you with a reply.

To contact Warwickshire Police:

Officers are working 24/7 to help keep everyone safe. If your call is not urgent, please use an alternative way to contact the emergency services. Non-urgent incidents and crimes can be reported on the force website:

The website also contains lots of advice and guidance which may relate to your issue, so please check there first. If you do need to speak to someone on the phone (but it is not an emergency), please call 101 or contact your local Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT).

Only dial 999 in an emergency.

We're still gathering your feedback and opinions

Another quick reminder of two opportunities which are still available to give some valuable feedback on policing and community safety through two surveys which are running at the moment.

The first is the Public Priorities Survey –  which is being organised jointly by my office and Warwickshire Police – which seeks to understand public opinion on policing and criminal justice matters, which will provide even more valuable feedback once the current crisis has abated and as future planning takes place to shape Warwickshire Police and community safety over the years to come.

The survey survey will remain open for the foreseeable future - click here to take it.

The second is the Your Say on Community Safety survey, which is being run by the Safer Warwickshire Partnership Board.  The survey will assist the Board to better understand how crimes and incidents impact on your feeling of safety, what influences how safe you feel and how you would like to be engaged with. This in turn will help the Board to develop services across the county with the aim of increasing how safe residents feel and promoting action that can be taken by residents and businesses. 

At the end of the survey you will have the option of answering some further business-related questions if you own or run a Warwickshire business. 

The survey is open until 28 June  - click here to take it.
Keep up to date with the latest news from the Warwickshire PCC
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