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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
August 2019

This month has seen the publication of my annual report, which is my yearly look back at the progress made in delivering the objectives of my Police and Crime Plan. It's also a detailed assessment of how I have carried out my legal duties and highlights the key achievements during the year.

I believe it's a really important document which allows me to demonstrate the work undertaken by myself and my office staff on the public's behalf; it often comes as a surprise to many people the sheer breadth of work that we are involved in, across a wide range of agencies, not just the police. All of this is achieved on an office budget that, when inflation is taken into account, is still smaller than that of the former police authority, which had a much narrower remit to focus purely on police governance.

It's important to have outside scrutiny of our collective work, so I was pleased to present the draft report to the Warwickshire Police and Crime Panel in June.  Their feedback has been incorporated into the final version, which you can read on the link below.

There's plenty to report on.  Across the year, we have undertaken the commissioning of new services to support victims of crime and deliver improved outcomes for some of the most vulnerable in society; worked with colleagues across the region to tackle serious issues such as organised crime and modern slavery; organised a number of county-wide events for police and our partners to encourage better co-ordination and problems-solving in communities; provided more than £2.3 million in grant funding for projects to deliver improved community safety and support victims of crime - and much, much more.

I'd encourage everyone to take a look - while it may be a fairly lengthy document, we've worked hard to make it presentable and easy to follow, despite the complexities of policing and the wider criminal justice system.  Please take a look on the link below.

Read the Annual Report

Policing has sadly had another stark reminder of the risks officers face while protecting the public with the dreadful news of the death of a serving officer from Thames Valley Police. PC Andrew Harper was killed in what appear to be horrific circumstances while responding to reports of a burglary, with a number of arrests made and investigations continuing. It is a huge tragedy for his family, friends and colleagues and I can only echo the many voices from across the country who have expressed their condolences and solidarity with our neighbouring force.

All police officers accept that, at times, they will have to run towards danger and deal with violent offenders. That  has always been 'part of the job' and they take the responsibility to protect the public as their first priority very seriously. But as a society we must never reach a point where it is acceptable for officers to be violently abused, attacked, injured, or worse.  

There is much debate around the country about what the right response should be to such attacks and it is encouraging to see that the language of 'protecting the protectors' is something that the new Home Secretary has been keen to endorse. I know that our Chief Constable keeps the safety of our officers under regular review and that, nationally, there are discussions in the coming weeks to look at what lessons may be learned for this and other similar recent events where police officers have been injured in the line of duty. 

I will be keen to see what comes of these discussions and, of course, will continue to revisit this topic with the Chief Constable, who I know places the health and well-being of our officers and police staff as one of his key priorities.

Philip Seccombe TD
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner
Warwickshire Police achieves the gold standard
Flying the flag on Armed Forces Day with Assistant Chief Constable Alex Franklin-Smith and a selection of the force's veteran and reservist officers.

I am extremely proud to report that Warwickshire Police has been recognised for its commitment to the Armed Forces community.  

The force has been awarded Gold in the Ministry of Defence's (MOD) Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS).

The gold award represents the highest badge of honour available to organisations that employ and support those who serve, veterans and their families.

Warwickshire Police originally signed the Community Covenant in 2012. In 2014 this was superseded by the Armed Forces Covenant (AFC) and so in 2018 the force re-signed. In signing the AFC it is demonstrating its commitment to treating service personnel and their families with fairness and respect, and recognising their dedication and sacrifice in serving our country.

The force employs several veterans - anyone who has served in Her Majesty's Armed Forces at any time including National Servicemen, Regulars and Reserves - as police officers and staff. It also has a Reservist Policy in place to support its employees.

As a former reservist myself and currently also the Chair of the West Midland Reserve Forces and Cadets Association, I know from personal experience how many of the skills that people acquire while serving with our Armed Forces are very valuable for policing, such as leadership, problem-solving and the ability to work under pressure in an environment where each day is different.

The force has a long tradition of supporting our Armed Forces and can count many ex-service personnel and Reservists among its officers staff, something which continues strongly today and will help to shape Warwickshire Police for many years to come.

If you are a current or former member of the Armed Forces who enjoys facing challenges and solving problems, policing could be for you. Click here to find out more.
Search is on for community safety and policing heros

During the course of my work I see many examples within policing, in our partner agencies, charitable organisations and among the public, of individuals and teams of people who go above and beyond what is expected of them to make a real difference to their communities.

I am really keen that these efforts should not go unsung and my Award for Excellence in Policing and Community Safety is a way of raising the profile of the most outstanding example of this each year.

I’m keen to receive nominations from across the county, both from within policing and more widely from the public, so if you know someone who would be a worthy recipient, please do get in touch.

Nominees can be either individuals or those working as part of a team within Warwickshire who have demonstrated sustained outstanding achievement over and above what is expected of them in their normal day-to-day role. Their actions must have contributed to a reduction in crime or disorder or helped bring about improvements in community safety in support of the priorities of my Police and Crime Plan for Warwickshire, making a real difference under challenging circumstances.

Officers, police staff, volunteers, members of the Special Constabulary or people from the wider community in Warwickshire are eligible for the award, the winner of which will be revealed at the Chief Constable's Commendations Evening in November.

To find out more about the award and how to nominate, visit: www.warwickshire-pcc.gov.uk/your-pcc/pcc-award/

Third cyber crime survey launches in Warwickshire

 
In partnership with Warwickshire County Council and Warwickshire Police, I have launched a new survey to assess the impact that online crime is having around the county. The cyber crime survey is being run by the Warwickshire InSight Team and asks people to share their experiences of online crime through a series of questions.

It’s the third time that residents and businesses across Warwickshire have been surveyed in this way, covering issues relating to both cyber security (including viruses, frauds and hacking); and social media issues (such as hate speech, stalking and revenge porn).

The new survey will seek to examine how the picture has changed across Warwickshire over the past two years and whether residents are more aware of the dangers that can be posed online and the things that they are able to do to minimise these risks. 

The evidence from the previous surveys shows that we are all now more likely to fall victim to cyber crime and online fraud than almost any other type of offence, with criminals becoming ever more sophisticated in their approach. It’s really important that the police and other agencies continue to have an up-to-date picture of the volume and nature of cyber crime in the county, so they can continue to evolve their approach to targeting those responsible.

I urge everyone to take part in the survey, which can be found at: ask.warwickshire.gov.uk/insights-service/cyber-crime-survey-2019/

For the latest advice on staying safe online, visit Cyber Safe Warwickshire.
Pride not prejudice on display in Leamington
Giving an opening speech at Warwickshire Pride

Last weekend I was at Warwickshire Pride festival at Leamington Spa's Pump Room Gardens, which is an annual event designed to bring together the LGBT+ community from across the county in a celebration of diversity.  

This year is the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York that gave birth to the Pride movement. It’s also 30 years since the foundation of Stonewall here in the UK, which has gone on to become the biggest LGBT+ rights charity in Europe. This illustrates the tremendous progress which has been achieved, thanks to tireless efforts of many campaigners and the numerous Pride events which now take place across the country.

Overall, we are now a more accepting, more respectful and a more loving society when it comes to questions of sexual orientation and gender identity. But there is still much to do and you only have to look at some of the appalling comments that the Warwickshire Pride organisers have faced on social media recently to know that the work of challenging prejudice and intolerance is as important as ever. These issues are rightly being looked into by the police and it is extremely important to speak out and challenge such behaviour whenever it occurs.

As your elected Police and Crime Commissioner, I work hard to ensure that everyone living, working or visiting Warwickshire feels safe, supported and is accepted for who they are, with access to equal opportunities.

I want to make it clear that there is no place in Warwickshire for discrimination based on gender identification, sexual orientation or indeed any other grounds. As PCC I take a strong stance against hate crime and I work hard to promote respectful behaviour and celebrate difference and diversity.  That’s why I was delighted to provide funding to Warwickshire Pride to help them continue their important work, as well as other initiatives in the county which are designed to create a safer society for all, such as the Report Hate Now campaign.

The Pride event was a colourful and enjoyable event and I was  pleased to visit the many partner agencies who were present and helping to fly the Pride flag and reinforce the messages of inclusivity. 

Diary dates
I will be speaking at the Business & Cyber Crime Update organised by the Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday 10 September, 9am-11.30am.  The free event is aimed at businesses who want to gain a greater understanding of the threats posed by cyber security and it promises to be an informative morning.  I will be giving an insight on the latest business crime figures, updates on the types of crime businesses are experiencing in the region and the work of the Business Crime Team in Warwickshire.  There are also talks by cyber security experts and specialists who can help if things go wrong.

The event takes place at the Manufacturing Technology Centre at Ansty Park, Coventry. To book a place, visit: www.cw-chamber.co.uk/events/business-cyber-crime-update/


Date being marked on a calendarHere are some of the other key events in my diary for the next few weeks:

Aug 27: Meeting new police staff call handlers, Leek Wootton
Aug 29: Student officer passing out ceremony, Warwick
Aug 30: Meeting with Marcus Jones MP, Nuneaton
Sept 5: Arley Parish Council
Sept 10: Police Superintendents' Association Conference, Stratford-upon-Avon
Sept 11: Alliance Governance Group meeting, Leek Wootton
Sept 12: Stoneleigh Parish Council
Sept 16: Visit to PCC-funded project, Rugby
Sept 16: Nuneaton North East Neighbourhood Watch meeting
Sept 17: Safer Warwickshire Partnership Board, Warwick
Sept 18: Kingsbury Parish Council
Sept 19: Warwickshire Police and Crime Panel, Shire Hall, Warwick
Sept 25: Water Orton Parish Council

I also continue to 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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