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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
November 2018
Welcome to my newsletter, which this time catches up on events across a longer period than usual, owing to the newsletter taking an autumnal break last month.

It has certainly been a busy period, not least due to the announcement in early October by West Mercia Police's Chief Constable and Police and Crime Commissioner that they were serving notice to quit the alliance with Warwickshire Police. This was not news we were expecting here in Warwickshire and is a development that I and Chief Constable Martin Jelley do not agree with.  However, the the notice has been served, so we now must look to a future beyond the current collaboration.   

Work has begun to plan a new and sustainable future for Warwickshire Police, one which will continue to deliver high-quality services to the public. What does this mean in practice?  In truth, we don't yet fully know, as we are still in the very early stages of scoping the implications of the ending of the alliance.  The full picture will start to develop in the coming weeks.

A number of scenarios are being explored. This will mean considering options for Warwickshire Police to stand alone; or to collaborate with others within policing and across the wider public sector; or to continue some form of new collaboration with West Mercia. Equally, it could encompass a combination of several different ways of working.  A project team is working through the implications for each and this will inform our deliberations on what a post-alliance Warwickshire Police will look like.

In the meantime, the Chief Constable, his deputy Richard Moore and I met with our counterparts at West Mercia for initial talks about the future. These were cordial but the discussions will need to be ongoing, as there is still considerable work to do before the future can be settled upon.  We don't underestimate the challenges this poses, particularly as we are also now moving into the budget-setting period for next year.

Notwithstanding these challenges, the Chief Constable and I remain confident that, whichever future model is adopted, Warwickshire Police will emerge as a strong, innovative and vibrant organisation. We will ensure that it continues to protect people from harm and deliver efficient and effective policing for its communities, with the continued support of our partners locally, regionally and nationally.

I will keep you updated in the coming weeks and months as more progress is made.
Philip Seccombe TD
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner
PCC Award winner announced

Robin Bunyard with PCC Philip Seccombe and the awardIt was my pleasure last week to announce the winner of my Award for Excellence in Policing and Community Safety for 2018 as Robin Bunyard. The award recognises Robin’s outstanding work assisting the police from his business premises in Rugby.

For more than 25 years Robin has worked with a wide range of functions in the force providing facilities, support and guidance in all matters vehicle-related, being principally responsible for the recovery of vehicles which are involved in police investigations and following road traffic collisions on behalf of the force.

Over and above this he supplies Warwickshire Police with vehicle examination facilities at no cost, as well as giving disposal vehicles for free, which the force uses for officer training exercises.  .

Robin has a welcoming demeanour and a great sense of humour which puts people at ease and this is recognised by officers and police staff who visit his premises to fulfil policing tasks, some of which can be unpleasant, such as the examination of vehicles after fatal road collisions.  Robin is also a font of knowledge and advice for the public who visit his premises, guiding them in the ‘what next’ steps to take following a road traffic collision and on document production at police front counters.

This public-spiritedness has come at personal cost to Robin and his family, who have seen some very trying times over the years, including receiving threats and intimidation while conducting police vehicle removals.  Ten years ago his business suffered a very traumatic arson attack as a reprisal for its involvement with the police, which required a complete relocation while the premises were rebuilt at substantial personal cost.

Despite all of this, whatever has been asked of Robin and his business, he has worked tirelessly to provide. As he now starts partial retirement, it seems a fitting time to recognise Robin’s many achievements.

I was delighted to hand over the award during the Chief Constable's commendations evening in Leamington Spa, where many examples of outstanding police work were recognised.  You can read more about them on the force website here.  I am sure you will join me in offering congratulations to all of those receiving commendations.

This Sunday is White Ribbon Day

White Ribbon Day bannerThis Sunday (25 November) marks White Ribbon Day - the internationally recognised day when people are asked to wear a white ribbon to signal their opposition to any form of domestic abuse.

Warwickshire Police is using White Ribbon Day to raise awareness of The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS), or 'Clare's Law' as it is known. The scheme is named after Clare Wood, who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 2009. He had a history of domestic abuse, however Clare was unaware of it.

The scheme gives people a formal way to apply for a police check into the past of a person where there is a concern that a relationship may be, or may become abusive.

This is available to anyone in a relationship or people who have concerns for another individual who is in a relationship.

Launched in Warwickshire back in 2015, 190 people in Warwickshire have used their 'Right to Ask' the police whether a new or existing partner (either their own or a friend or relative's) may have a violent past, with 69 disclosures being made.

For further information about the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, or to make a request for information under it, please contact Warwickshire Police by either visiting your nearest police station or calling 101. You can also find more information on the force website at: www.warwickshire.police.uk/17313.
Leek Wootton and Southam put up for sale
'For sale' boards have gone up at two parts of the Warwickshire Police estate recently, as the process to find buyers for the former police station building at Southam and the Leek Wootton old headquarters site begin.  In the case of Southam it has been unoccupied for much of the year after the forensic examinations team moved to modern facilities elsewhere; frontline policing relocated to offices at the library next door a number of years ago and so the sale of the building does not affect policing levels in the town.

At Leek Wootton, much of the site is similarly under-utilised, a decision to move functions to other parts of the police estate having been taken a number of years ago. With the force control room set to move to Warwick Business Park next year, the time is now right to find a buyer.

There will obviously be an element of sadness in leaving both sites - Leek Wootton has been home to Warwickshire Police since 1949 - but the reality is that they no longer meets the needs of a modern police force and cannot easily or sensibly be modernised.  

The funds these sales will raise will help to strengthen our capital reserves, providing funding for future estates development and reducing maintenance costs.  This will therefore allow me to prioritise more funding for frontline policing, providing our officers 

You can read the announcement about Southam here and Leek Wootton here.
Commissioner's Cadets appointed for the year

As Commissioner, across the course of each year I attend many civic events, representing both the police and the public of Warwickshire.  At these events I join other uniformed services and local dignitaries, many of whom now also have representation from young people, such as the Lord Lieutenants' and  Mayor’s Cadets, and I am keen to ensure that my office does the same. 

Warwickshire already benefits from an excellent Police Cadets scheme and I see them on a regular basis at many of these civic and force events.  They do a fantastic job representing the force while at the same time gaining a practical understanding of policing and developing their spirit of adventure and good citizenship.

I have therefore decided to nominate two cadets each year to additionally become Commissioner’s Cadets, helping to represent my office at such functions, as well as assisting with youth engagement activities.  This year I am pleased to announce Chloe Lloyd as the Commissioner’s Cadet for the north of the county and Grace Kay for the south.

Grace and Chloe were presented with special medals to recognise their additional new responsibilities at the Chief Constable's awards evening Leamington Spa last week. I look forward to working with them and having them join me at civic events throughout the year.

Chloe Lloyd and Grace Kay with PCC Philip Seccombe
Police to open officer recruitment to armed forces and other emergency services workers

Warwickshire Police is among the first forces in the country to extend their eligibility criteria for new officers to members of the armed forces and emergency services, as well as people who have had significant contact with the public in their working lives.

Previously, applications for Warwickshire Police officers were only open to people with a level 3 qualification (two A levels grade A-C or equivalent), or those with a previous or current police role, such as Police Community Support Officer or Special Constable.

However, the force will now also consider military service personnel who have served a minimum of five years in the armed forces, or are six – nine months away from their last day of service, with an exemplary disciplinary record. Workers from relevant emergency services or public-facing organisations, such as paramedics and communications staff in the emergency services, are also eligible to apply. People with roles including other public contact will also be considered on a case by case basis.

Other eligibility criteria, such as not having adult or juvenile cautions and convictions and certain tattoos, and being physically fit with a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI), will still apply.

I want to ensure that Warwickshire Police can recruit from the widest pool of candidates possible to attract the very best recruits in support of my pledge to increase police officer numbers, so this extension of the eligibility criteria is good news.

This change will give a great new opportunity to those leaving the armed services. I know from my own military service that many of the skills that veterans have are complementary to policing and the additional life experiences they bring can be very valuable, giving a different perspective and helping the organisation grow.

It also makes sense that those working in other emergency services and public-facing roles have the opportunity to apply, as they too can often have the right mix of experience and skills to become a police officer. I would encourage anyone interested in becoming a police officer to go online and find out more.

To apply to become a police officer or any of the other vacancies with Warwickshire Police, search online for Warwickshire Police jobs.

New rural crime guides issued to officers

Officers launching the rural crime guidePolice officers in Warwickshire have been issued with Rural Crime Advice Books to help them respond to and investigate rural crime.
 
Rural crime is defined as any crime occurring in a rural area as defined by the 2011 Office of National Statistics Rural Urban Classification, this includes hamlets, isolated dwellings and village output areas.
 
In practice, the force's rural crime strategy focuses on tackling issues more prevalent in rural communities such as theft of agriculture equipment, poaching, illegal fishing, and wildlife crime.
 
The guide was produced by Carol Cotterill, Rural Crime Officer for North Warwickshire, whose work I fund. It was rolled out to officers in South Warwickshire last week following its successful introduction in the north of the county.

Our officers come from a mix of different backgrounds and there may be differences in the knowledge of the countryside and the sorts of offences that can be committed there.  These guidance booklets will help all officers when they deal with incidents in rural areas and so I am pleased to see them being rolled out county-wide.

It’s another example of the good work which is being carried out through the funding I provide for the Rural Crime Project.
Diary dates
Date being marked on a calendarHere are some of the key events in my diary for the next few weeks:

Nov 27: NFU North Warwickshire Farmers' Meeting, Kingsbury
Dec 4: Safer Warwickshire Partnership Board, Warwick
Dec 4: Speaking at Blue Light Innovation Conference, London
Dec 6: Warwickshire Neighourhood Watch AGM
Dec 12: Alliance Governance Group, Hindlip
Dec 13: Place Partnership AGM, Worcester

In addition, I have a weekly meeting with the Chief Constable to hold the force to account and discuss any arising issues.  You can find details of these meetings here.
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