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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: November 2016
It's been a busy month with some significant milestones reached along the way, not least the conclusion of the public consultation on the draft Police and Crime Plan for Warwickshire.  Thank you to everyone who gave their feedback. We had responses from individual members of the public, the third and voluntary sector, elected members and partner organisations, all with helpful suggestions and useful feedback.  

We're now working to prepare a delivery plan, which will sit underneath the main document and will mark the progress towards achieving the objectives, as well preparing the finalised main document, taking account of the feedback we've received.  This will be presented to the Police and Crime Panel at the beginning of December.

I've been really pleased with the very positive way the draft plan has been received and am confident that it sets out an achievable vision of how the police and partners can deliver a safer, more secure Warwickshire. Of course, the hard work in delivering on these ambitions will begin in earnest with publication of the final plan in December, but that's something I am very much looking forward to.
Philip Seccombe
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner
HMIC report highlights police efficiency
HMIC logoThis week saw the publication by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary latest report on police efficiency - part of its annual Police Effectiveness, Efficiency and Legitimacy (PEEL) programme.  I am please to say that the findings on Warwickshire Police were very positive.

Inspectors found that the force has a “comprehensive understanding of it’s current and likely future demand”. The report also highlights how the force:

- Is focused on improving and adapting to provide a quality service for victims
- Has its resources aligned to the greatest areas of need
- Has made simple, effective short term adjustments to improve efficiency
- Is making long term investments in technology and partnership working.

It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of all of our officers and police staff that Warwickshire Police is good in how efficient it is at keeping people safe and reducing crime.

I am confident that the investment I have committed over the term of my office to modernise technology will play a significant part in delivering the force's Vision 2020 programme and ensure future demand is equally well managed.

To see the full report, visit the HMIC website.
Protect 2016 showcases policing

Operation Protect logoThe turn of the month has seen Warwickshire Police running Protect 2016, a campaign designed to 'open the window on policing' across the county.  Showcasing the wide breadth of work that goes into keeping the county safe, officers, police staff and volunteers have been highlighting their day-to-day activities, from carrying out arrest warrants to conducting licensing checks, crime prevention initiatives and tackling anti-social behaviour.

During the 10-days of Protect, I joined officers in Alcester as they worked with local shops and businesses to combat anti-social behaviour; visited a cycle safety event in Warwick and also took part in a live 24-hour Tweetathon last week, in which the force tweeted anonymised details of every call to 999 and 101.  It certainly provided a very vivid illustration of the varied incidents that police deal with - many of them relating to protecting people from harm rather than more traditional crime.

Protect is continuing across the weekend and tonight I will be joining officers on patrol in Leamington town centre, which will give me the opportunity to see for myself some of the initiatives which have led to the town's Purple Flag status for having a safe and vibrant night-time economy.  I'll have an update on my experiences in next month's newsletter.
Regional cybercrime survey launches
West Mercia PCC John Campion, Warwickshire PCC Philip Seccombe and West Midlands PCC David Jamieson launch the 2016 Regional Cybercrime Survey.
This month saw  the launch of a new cyber crime survey, which aims to explore people's experience of internet-related crime and gauge what level of understanding they have of cyber security.  First run last year by my office in partnership with Warwickshire County Council, I'm delighted to say that this year we have the additional support of the Police and Crime Commissioners for West Mercia and Warwickshire, making it a regional survey for the first time.

The survey asks people to share their experiences of online crime through answering 36 simple questions. The information will help Police and Crime Commissioners get a better picture of online crime in their areas and shape services accordingly.

The results from the previous survey suggested that as many as 82,200 people fell victim to online crime last year in Warwickshire alone, while nearly a quarter of a million people in the county felt at risk online. Worryingly, around 2.4 percent of the respondents to the first survey had no idea to protect themselves online.

This latest survey will seek to examine how the picture has changed across the region over the past 12 months and whether residents are more aware of the dangers that can be posed online and the things they are able to do to minimise these risks.

Fraud and other offences committed via the internet are now among the most common types of crime that people fall victim to, as criminals have increasingly shifted their focus to an online, digital world. Tackling this growing area of crime is something that Warwickshire Police and partner agencies are fully committed to and there is continuous work to shape the current and future policing response to cyber-enabled crime.

Warwickshire Police has launched the #BeCyberSmart campaign with West Mercia Police to raise awareness of the practical steps people can take stay safe online, while tackling cybercrime is also major part of my Police and Crime Plan. Among a range of other initiatives, I have funded two cybercrime advisors off the back of last year’s survey results. Employed by Warwickshire County Council, the advisors are going out delivering key messages to vulnerable communities to help increase awareness of online safety.

This second annual survey is another excellent opportunity to help promote the simple ways in which people can increase their cyber security.  I’m delighted that we are able to work together as a region to look at this issue and I hope to see a good response from all areas.
Take the 2016-17 Cybercrime Survey
Call to reduce drink drive limits

I've added my voice to a campaign calling for the lowering of the drink-drive limit in England and Wales.

The Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS) is asking MPs to change legislation to bring the limits here in line with other parts of the UK and Europe –  a move that could reduce road deaths by as much as 10%.

Currently, the law permits drivers in England and Wales up to 80 milligrams of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of blood in your body – a limit which has been in place since 1965 but is now among the most tolerant in the world.  It is higher than in the rest of Europe (with the exception only of Malta, which recently announced plans to lower the drink drive limit), as well as Commonwealth countries such as Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

It is estimated that lowering our drink drive limit to 50 milligrams of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of blood would reduce drink driving deaths by at least 10%. Scotland lowered its limit to 50 milligrams in December 2014, and police figures showed a 12.5% decrease in drink-drive offences in the first nine months. Northern Ireland is set to lower its drink driving limit before the end of 2016.

There is also strong public support for lowering the limit, with the British Social Attitude Survey recently finding that three quarters of the public (77%) support lowering the drink driving limit.  

While it is still the case that the best advice is to never drink before getting behind the wheel, the drink-drive limit at present is among the highest in Europe and I think it is time that a law that was set in the 1960s - when public attitudes were very different - should be reviewed by the Government and brought in line with other countries and the rest of the UK.  This would help to reinforce the overall message that drinking and driving is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

A two-minute animation has been produced by the Institute of Alcohol Studies to support this campaign, outlining the key arguments.  It can be found at: https://vimeo.com/185464242.
Independent TIE Committee reconfirmed
TIE Committee Members
Trust, Integrity and Ethics Committee members, from left: Jane Spilsbury, Chris Cade, Colonel Tony Ward, Clive Parsons and Lady Susanna McFarlane
An independent committee will continue its work in examining the ethical governance and actions of Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police, following a decision I have made jointly with my counterpart John Campion. We have recently agreed to reappoint the Trust, Integrity and Ethics (TIE) Committee for a further two years, with an unchanged membership. 

It is hugely important that the public has trust in the police and that they can be confident that police powers are used appropriately and fairly.  The TIE Committee plays a vital role in helping me hold the Chief Constable to account to ensure this, so I am pleased to be able to benefit from their independent advice over the next two years. 

The committee meets four times a year and is comprised of the following independent members from across the Warwickshire and West Mercia force areas, bringing a diverse wealth of experience to their roles:
  • Chris Cade – Rugby Borough Councillor and Police Liaison Manager for the Neighbourhood and Home Watch Network
  • Clive Parsons – former member of Warwickshire Police Authority
  • Jane Spilsbury - Service Manager for Learning and Performance  at Warwickshire County Council
  • Lady Susanna McFarlane – former Deputy Lord-Lieutenant of Herefordshire and current chair of trustees for the YSS charity
  • Colonel Tony Ward OBE – former member of West Mercia Police Authority.
Among the work carried out in the past two years by the committee has been ‘dip sampling’ of complaint cases to ensure they are properly recorded and dealt with; regular monitoring of the impact of the implementation of the College of Policing Code of Ethics; and a review of the protocols around police use of aerial drones as well as examinations of other high-profile aspects of policing activity such as police integrity.

Chair of the TIE Committee Colonel Tony Ward says: “I am delighted that we will be able to continue the important work of the committee for another two years. We are all lay members who arrived on the committee with differing levels of knowledge of policing, so it has been important to get detailed briefings about each of the subject areas we have been examining.  I am pleased that we will be benefiting from continuity of membership so that the knowledge we have built up will be retained and we can continue our scrutiny of the two forces without delay.”

For more information about the work of the TIE Committee, visit: http://www.warwickshire-pcc.gov.uk/your-pcc/trust-integrity-and-ethics/
Child arrest figures down
 
There was encouraging news in October from the Howard League for Penal Reform, which showed that the numbers of children being arrested by police over the last five years has shown a significant decline.

In Warwickshire, the figures showed 619 arrests in 2015 compared to 1,419 in 2010 - a decrease of 56%.  This is in line with the national figures, despite a small increase between 2014 and 2015. Nevertheless, the number of children arrested during 2015 in Warwickshire remains the second lowest in the country – as has been the case since 2011.

Arrest should be a measure of last resort wherever possible where children are concerned, reserved for use in the most serious of offences and where no alternative option exists. It is very encouraging to see that Warwickshire consistently has among the fewest child arrests across England and Wales and that the numbers have reduced by more than half since 2010.

This demonstrates that the current approach taken by police and partners is working well, helping to find the best outcome for victims while also ensuring that children are not unnecessarily criminalised. I will continue to monitor the figures but I am confident that this progress can be maintained in future years.
The month ahead

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

November 7: Addressing a student officer course, Leek Wootton
November 7: Meeting with the Director of Public Prosecutions, Birmingham
November 8: Weekly meeting with the Chief Constable
November 8: Attending a force Awards Ceremony, Leamington
November 9: Speaking at the Warwickshire CAVA 'Building a Stronger Warwickshire Together Conference
November 10: Attending South Warwickshire Community Safety Partnership meeting
November 11: Attending Bedworth Armistice Day Parade
November 11: Visit to PCC-funded Safeline project, Warwick
November 13: Remembrance Sunday Service, Warwick
November 15: Weekly meeting with the Chief Constable
November 16: Association of Police and Crime Commissioners conference, London
November 21: Attending national Professional Standards conference, Stratford-upon-Avon.
November 22: Weekly meeting with the Chief Constable
November 29: Weekly meeting with the Chief Constable
December 1: Police and Crime Panel meeting, Rugby

A full schedule of my key meetings and events is kept up-to date online at www.warwickshire-pcc.gov.uk/event/

The next newsletter will be published on Friday, 2 December.
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