Copy
Monthly update from Warwickshire's Police and Crime Commissioner
View this email in your browser
Monthly Update from Philip Seccombe
The latest news from the Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner
December 2020

Let's do the right thing - rules for the Christmas bubble. Applies Christmas day only. Max 3 Households. No overnight stays. Only local travel.This has been one of the most difficult years all of us will have ever experienced, so with the New Year approaching, it is pleasing that the roll out of the coronavirus vaccine does at least herald the prospect of better things to come. 

As the events of the past few days serve to highlight, we remain a long way off being able to resume our normal way of life but  the vaccine does at least show that there is a route back to normality, as long as we continue to be cautious and follow all of the guidance which is designed to keep us safe in the meantime.

We've had the disappointing news that Warwickshire is to remain in Tier three but cases now rising again in the county, this is not surprising.  This weekend we also had the announcement from the Prime Minister of tightened restrictions on family gatherings during Christmas in light of rising concern over a new and more transmissible strain of coronavirus. A planned five day relaxation of the rules over Christmas to allow household bubbles to meet has now been trimmed back to just Christmas Day itself.

This is obviously very disappointing news and means that many families will have to change their plans.  This is not a decision that the Government has taken lightly and reflects the significant concern among health officials about rising rates of cases and a new strain of COVID-19.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, people in Warwickshire have largely heeded the advice that has come from public health officials and if we are to see the end of restrictions on our daily lives, this co-operation must continue.  We are starting to see the roll-out of vaccines against the virus and there is light at the end of the tunnel after a very difficult year. While I know it is natural for people to want to come together at this time of year, now is not the time to relax our attitude to combating the disease.

I would urge everyone to consider carefully their plans for Christmas and the coming days in the light of the new government guidance and take personal responsibility to do no nothing which would make the situation worse. A smaller Christmas will be a safer Christmas.

This is a public health crisis first and foremost and the police want to work with the public in order to keep the whole community safe. This is always a busy period for our emergency services and others on the front line of keeping us safe over the winter months. We need to do all we can now to show our support and help them out as they work hard to keep us all safe

We can and will get through this difficult period if we all work together to reduce the rates of transmission, with the prospect of a better year to come in 2021.

More information about forming a Christmas bubble with friends and family is available on the Gov.uk website.

In the meantime, I do hope that, whatever your plans, you and your families have a safe and enjoyable festive break.

Philip Seccombe signature
Philip Seccombe TD
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner
Seasons Greetings.  Best wishes from Philip Seccombe and all at the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner

Holding the force to account on its change programme

Evolve logoYou may have heard recently about Warwickshire Police’s plans to make changes to its operational model, which has resulted in consultations taking place with a range of police staff with a view to replacing these roles with warranted police officers.
 
These proposals have been put forward with a view to having a more effective and resilient police force. Nevertheless, any changes which could result in staff being made redundant are obviously ones that will cause concern in the community, particularly when there is a perception of police officers being redeployed to doing ‘desk jobs’.
 
I wanted to take the opportunity to let residents know more about the factors that have led to these proposed changes, the reasons why this characterisation is not accurate, as well as the role that I, as Police and Crime Commissioner, have played in holding to account the Chief Constable over these operational policing decisions.
 
Firstly, I should say that since coming into office, I have endeavoured to deliver against my manifesto commitment to increase police officer numbers in Warwickshire. At the time of my election in 2016, the number of police officers in Warwickshire was 829 and the force’s operating capacity was under some considerable strain. 
 
Since that time, both as a consequence of precept rises I have made locally and the national ‘uplift’ funding from the government, the number of police officers has dramatically increased - now standing at 1,042.  This represents the highest number of officers for over a decade or more and my aspiration remains to reach 1,100 police officers, if at all possible. 
 
Of course, frontline policing needs support in order to function effectively, so as well as putting these additional boots on the ground, I have also continued to invest in technology, equipment and facilities to support front line officers and police staff.
 
Following the break-up of the Alliance with West Mercia Police, Warwickshire Police’s change programme (known as Evolve) focused on re-establishing Warwickshire as a standalone force. In doing so it stood up in excess of 40 business areas to enable the force to function effectively. 
 
Some of these 41 functions such as ICT, Transactional Services and Forensics are still being established as we complete the separation process with West Mercia – due to be completed by September 2021. This has been an extremely challenging time for the force and the cost of separation has not been insignificant as you would expect. Clearly, the settlement deal subsequently reached with West Mercia Police has offset a significant proportion of these costs.  

There was always an intention to conduct an ‘Evolve Two’ programme once the first phase of rebuilding was completed.  This started some months ago, the aim being to maximise operational capabilities and resilience to ensure that the force has the ability to deliver on its strategic priorities and protect people from harm. 

A refined operational model has been designed which has now incorporated into the force’s specialist teams, such as a dedicated child abuse, trafficking and exploitation team to enhance the focus on vulnerability and safeguarding. The force has also established teams dedicated to tackling particular crime types that adversely affect the county, such as vehicle crime and rural crime. All of these improvements will provide greater protection to the public of Warwickshire.

As part of this review Warwickshire Police is taking steps to ensure that, as a small force, it remains resilient. To achieve this it has been necessary to rebalance the workforce to ensure that it has the appropriate skills, capabilities and powers across the organisation which will be required in the future. Regrettably this will lead to the proposed reduction of police staff posts in a small number of affected areas.

Just over 80 posts are involved in the planned implementation of the new operational model. I don’t underestimate the impact of this on the individuals concerned and I also know that this has been an extremely difficult decision for the Chief Constable and his team. 

In carrying out my holding to account function I have submitted a set of detailed questions to the Chief Constable, seeking reassurance from him on a number of areas. Principally, I wanted to confirm that the proposed loss of police staff was fully justified and supported by a clear rationale. I sought assurance that the extra police officers provided to Warwickshire Police were not going to be deployed to non-operational roles and I also wanted to ensure that the staff affected by the proposals were being fully supported by the force at this most difficult time for them and their families.

I was reassured that the rationale for the proposals was sound, some of which I have already mentioned above. The changes will provide greater resilience and enforcement capabilities in the areas affected. The police staff roles will not simply be filled by police officers, the roles will in fact change to incorporate a more investigative element with greater use of police powers and safeguarding responsibilities, which will benefit the public. 

I am satisfied that the force has put in place robust support services to ensure that the police staff colleagues affected are supported and that their welfare is safeguarded, but nevertheless there is no escaping that this is an extremely difficult time for them all.

All of these changes do not come without risk; the loss of experienced police staff in these areas is a key concern for me and I will be monitoring very closely how the force manages the transition to the new operational model in the coming months.

Finally, the Chief Constable has reassured me that no matter how hard this decision has been to make, it has been necessary to safeguard the longer term future for Warwickshire Police. Difficult though this process undoubtedly is, the Chief Constable has my full support in what he is doing.

Grants scheme now open to applications

Projects and initiatives designed to help boost community safety and victim care across Warwickshire can now bid for a share of my annual grants scheme funding.

The Commissioner’s Grants Scheme is an annual award which seeks to support initiatives which will make a positive contribution to the objectives of the Police and Crime Plan. This will be the fifth year that I have made the funding available, with well over £5 million distributed to community initiatives in that time.

This is in addition to the £1.2 million of commissioned services that the Commissioner also funds each year to provide support services for victims of crime, domestic abuse, sexual abuse and child exploitation, as well as drug and alcohol interventions.

This year I am looking for bids from private, public and third sector organisations for non-profit projects covering a range of different categories:
  • Domestic abuse victims’ support;
  • Reducing reoffending schemes;
  • Sports, youth diversion and youth justice;
  • Small grants fund.
Find out more and apply at: www.warwickshire-pcc.gov.uk/grants-2021-22/

Your chance to influence the future of policing

I'm currently running a public consultation to give everyone the chance to give their views as I start the process of setting the budget for policing across the next financial year.  The 'Your Police, Your Views' survey aims to get your opinions on what you feel are the funding priorities for Warwickshire and how support services and community safety initiatives should be financed through grants and commissioning.

It comes as the Government set out its spending plans for 2021/22 in the Spending Review, announced last month by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak. This confirmed funding remained in place for forces to continue to deliver the recruitment of 20,000 new police officers nationally, while also providing additional new money to tackle violent crime, money laundering and increased counter-terrorism policing.

The Chancellor’s announcement also signalled additional detail of how local police forces will be funded over the next financial year, with core central government grants likely to remain the same as this year, providing a flat-cash settlement.  Police and Crime Commissioners will be given flexibility to raise the portion of Council Tax which pays for policing, known as the Police Precept, by up to £15 for a Band D property.

The continued economic uncertainty, the ongoing challenges of the pandemic and increasing costs and other pressures do however mean that changes will be needed in order to set a balanced budget for the years ahead.

That's why your views are more crucial than ever, so please do spend a few moments to fill in the survey.

Take the survey

Rural Crime Team welcomes two new additions

Pictured with the Rural Crime Team’s new Toyota Hilux are, from left, Sergeant Bob Shaw, Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe, PC Kate Taylor and PC Matt Simms.

Warwickshire Police’s Rural Crime Team has welcomed a new face the team and been further boosted by a new 4×4 vehicle for its fleet.

PC Matt Simms becomes the eighth constable in the expanded team, joining PC Kate Taylor with responsibility for South East Warwickshire.

In addition, the whole team is benefiting from new wheels to help it get out and about, with a brand new Toyota Hilux 4×4, being delivered to the team this month. It will be used throughout Warwickshire to help officers navigate difficult rural terrain and normally inaccessible areas of the county.

The Hilux complements the existing fleet of two 4×4 vehicles and has already been out in recent days in North Warwickshire assisting with a warrant for a stolen vehicle.

Read more about the new additions and the successes of the Rural Crime Team.

Meaningful change logoIt’s not too late to help those who are in need this Christmas. Meaningful Change is a multi-agency campaign I fund, aimed at helping to positively change the lives of those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in Stratford-upon-Avon and Leamington Spa.

Local charities and agencies supporting those who are homeless or at risk of being homeless in both towns have joined forces for the campaign, which aims to make more of a difference by providing a central focus for the public to pledge support.

The campaign aims to make people more aware of the support services available in their towns, and how they can best help by donating and volunteering in the run up to Christmas.

For more information, including a full list of charities and statutory support agencies involved in both Stratford-upon-Avon and Leamington Spa, visit the Meaningful Change website www.meaningfulchange.org.uk  and select the town of your choice.

Contacting the OPCC

We are continuing to operate as normal, though our offices in Northgate Street, Warwick remain closed to the public and my staff are working remotely. 

We will be continuing to work over the Christmas period, with the exceptions of the public Bank Holidays.

You can continue to contact us as normal however by email at opcc@warwickshire.pnn.police.uk 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.

Keep up to date with the latest news from the Warwickshire PCC
Facebook
Facebook
Twitter
Twitter
YouTube
YouTube
Website
Website
Email
Email
Copyright © 2020 Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Warwickshire, All rights reserved.

 

One last thing...

We take protecting your personal information seriously and will treat your information with respect. For more information about our privacy practices please read our Privacy Policy.

We hope you enjoy our newsletter but if you would prefer to stop receiving our emails, or you want to update the details we have for you, please click the links below:

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 


Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp