Monthly update from Warwickshire's Police and Crime Commissioner
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Monthly Update from Philip Seccombe
The latest news from the Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner
October 2020

Every day police officers put themselves in harm’s way in order to protect the public, deal with criminals and keep vulnerable people safe. Tragically, there are occasions when they make the ultimate sacrifice and lose their lives through the criminal actions of others. While thankfully this is extremely rare, it is a possibility that every officer has to carry with them when on duty and something that I know is a source of worry for their families.

That's why I am supporting the Harper's Law campaign, which seeks mandatory life sentences for people who kill emergency services workers.

Murder already carries an automatic life sentence and, where the victim is a police officer doing his or her duty, the statutory 'starting point' is already life without parole.
Harper's Law will mean that those guilty of the lesser offence of manslaughter will also receive a life sentence, where the victim is a police officer, paramedic, firefighter or any other emergency services worker. 
Lissie Harper began the campaign to introduce the law following the death of her husband, PC Andrew Harper, who was dragged to his death by a getaway car along country lanes in Berkshire in August 2019. He had become entangled in a strap attached to the vehicle as he tried to deal with three quad bike thieves. When his killers were spared life sentences at their subsequent trial, PC Harper’s widow launched her campaign for tougher punishments.

Image of PC Andrew Harper with #Harperslaw hashtag

It can only be right that the criminal justice system applies its full force against those who are found to be criminally responsible for the death of police and other emergency services workers. Stronger sentences than are available now are not only the very least that the families of these personnel deserve, they are also what I think the public overwhelmingly expects. There can also be no better deterrent than knowing that causing a death in this way will result in a life sentence.

I fully support Lissie Harper in her bid to get the law changed and will do whatever I can as Police and Crime Commissioner to help achieve this, including raising it with our local Members of Parliament and Government Ministers. I have also shared my position with the Warwickshire Police Federation, as it is important that locally we do all we can to assist this change in the law.

I know the Home Secretary and the Policing Minister have met with Lissie Harper and they have expressed their determination to bring about change, so I am hopeful that with cross-party support this can be effected soon.

Nevertheless, we have continue to see attacks on police officers and PCSOs while carrying out their duties here in Warwickshire, including in recent days in Rugby and Witnash. Any assault on an officer or member of staff is unacceptable and I am reassured that those responsible are being fully investigated with a view to put them before the courts. 

We have already seen some changes to the law to provide better protection for those working on our frontline in recent years. The Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill makes it an aggravating factor to attack police officers, paramedics, prison officers and firefighters, punishable by up to 12 months in prison.  

However, we do need a concerted effort across the criminal justice system to ensure that, when such offences occur, the powers that are available are used appropriately, otherwise their impact is lessoned and the deterrent effect is undermined.  This is something I will continue to pursue with criminal justice agencies locally.
Philip Seccombe signature
Philip Seccombe TD
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner

Continuing virus battle means we must all act to stay safe

Keep everybody safe - remember: 'Hands, Face, Space'
Coronavirus continues to dominate our daily lives and, sadly, with transmission rates across the county continuing to rise and areas around us such as Birmingham and Coventry being placed into the Tier 2 – High Alert Level, now is not the time to grow complacent. We must all continue to minimise our social contact, follow the advice of our Public Health officials and do all we can to ensure that the spread of COVID-19 does not continue to accelerate.

I can only repeat the words of Warwickshire’s County Council’s Director of Public Health, Dr Shade Agboola, who earlier this week said: "We know that the pandemic has pretty much taken over 2020 and many people have had enough and are now questioning the value of wearing face coverings, maintaining social distance and washing their hands regularly, but we’re now at a tipping point similar to March, which is something we simply can’t ignore if we don’t want Warwickshire to move into Tier 2."  

She added: "Our main priority now is to stop the rise in cases, hospital admissions and ultimately deaths from COVID-19.  With the flu season upon us, this is going to be a real challenge as it adds increased pressure on local health services and the NHS. So I am urging all residents regardless of your age, to follow the guidance and to take the rise in cases more seriously to protect all those we care about within our own families, our local communities and our NHS colleagues, who have been working relentlessly throughout the pandemic to keep us safe. Only by acting now and working together can we make a difference and stop Warwickshire moving into Tier 2."

To help protect communities and keep numbers from rising, please continue to:  
  •     Wash your hands regularly and when that’s not possible use hand sanitiser.  
  •     Keep at least 2 meters from people you don’t live with . 
  •     Wear a face covering in enclosed places, on public transport and in shops, unless you are exempt . 
  •     Book a test as soon as symptoms appear - a new persistent cough, a high temperature and loss or change to your sense of smell or sense.
  •     Follow the rules and self-isolate if you have symptoms; if you have a positive COVID test or if you are asked to by the NHS Test and Trace service. 
  •     Do not leave the house unless you are going to get a test if you have symptoms of COVID-19.  
For more information on COVID-19 guidance, staying safe and booking a test visit:

New detectives will boost crime investigation

Philip Seccombe observes the new Detective Constables Attestation Ceremony at Leek Wootton.
Watching the detectives: Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe observes the new Detective Constables Attestation Ceremony at Leek Wootton.

Warwickshire Police has welcomed 18 students on to its first ever Detective Constable Degree Holder Entry Programme.

These new student officers started earlier this month at the force’s Leek Wootton Headquarters and will be studying a two-year, intensive, trainee detective development programme, which will provide them with specialist training in investigations. Warwickshire Police is one of the country’s first forces to launch this course and the pioneer for the West Midlands region.

The ground-breaking programme will see the graduates combine a mix of on-the-job practical policing experience with the force's detective teams, alongside additional, remote academic tutoring. The whole course has been specially designed by Learning and Development and Investigations teams within Warwickshire Police, in partnership with three other regional forces, Staffordshire, West Mercia and West Midlands, and our education partners at Staffordshire University.

Part of my pledge to increase officer numbers to pre-austerity levels and beyond was to ensure that Warwickshire Police is in a position to improve its capabilities across a range of functions. Up until now, our new student officers have gone into patrol policing roles, boosting visibility across the county and ensuring more resources are available to answer 101 and 999 calls from the public - but this is only part of the picture.

Victims of crime rightly expect that every effort is made to detect crime as it occurs, especially in more serious and complex cases. That requires officers with specialist skills and training, so increasing the numbers of detectives across the force has been something that I have been keen to fund and see happen quickly.

That’s why it is pleasing that Warwickshire Police is among the first in the country to be able to recruit new detectives in this way and I was delighted to join the Chief Constable in welcoming them all in person on their first day at Leek Wootton and later on to attend their Attestation Ceremony.

New Chief Executive to join OPCC in 2021

Polly ReedI'm pleased to be able to announce the appointment of a new Chief Executive to my office, who will join at the beginning of next year.

Polly Reed is a graduate in Modern Language Studies from Nottingham University. She is currently employed by the West Midlands Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner as the Head of Business Services, a role she has performed for the past three years. For a three month period earlier this year she also served as acting Deputy Chief Executive at the West Midlands OPCC.

Apart from a nine-month period during 2017 when she was the Assistant Director for Training and Education with the Stroke Association, the vast majority of her working life has been spent in local government in management roles in Children Services and Education, across three different local authorities.

Her appointment follows the decision of current Chief Executive Neil Hewison to retire at the end of January 2021.

I’m looking forward to welcoming Polly to my team next year.  With her prior experience with the West Midlands PCC’s office and her background in local government, I am confident she will be able to make the transition to heading my office seamlessly.

Neil Hewison is continuing in post until his retirement on January 31, providing effective leadership for my office and strategic advice to me in the interim, while providing Polly the smoothest possible handover process.  This will ensure that my office continues to function effectively throughout.

40,000 road safety magazines distributed

Philip Seccombe handing over copies of the Ultimate Guide to Cycling to staff at John Atkins Cycles in Leamington Spa

Forty thousand road safety magazines funded through my Road Safety Fund have been distributed to schools, colleges, GP surgeries, leisure centres, cycle shops, opticians and motorcycle retailers across Warwickshire.

The magazines are part of a Vulnerable Road User Education Campaign, following a bid from First Car to the Commissioner’s fund and are aimed at helping Warwickshire’s older drivers, new motorcyclists and cyclists to stay safe when using the roads.

Almost 20,000 Ultimate Guide to Cycling magazines have just been distributed to 32 schools, four colleges, 31 leisure centres and cycle shops around the county. Five hundred of these will also be used by Warwickshire Police engaging with cyclists during road safety operations.

The magazine provides students who cycle or would like to become cyclists with information and advice to help keep them safe on the roads and encourage healthy travel choices.  Advice includes buying a bike, how to improve your visibility and safety including road skills such as road positioning, effectively indicating intentions, obeying traffic signals and reading the road to help riders stay safe.

Also aimed at young people, over 6,000 copies of First Bike magazine have been distributed to 32 schools, 4 colleges and 13 motorcycle retailers across Warwickshire during September.

Meanwhile 14,000 Drive On magazines for older drivers have been distributed to a mix of 75 doctor surgeries and opticians across Warwickshire to provide just that. DriveOn magazine also provides suggestions for handling the transition away from driving and onto other means of mobility, at the appropriate time. Stopping driving doesn’t have to mean losing independence and it can turn out to be cheaper and easier than running your own car.

We know that cyclists, motorcyclists and older drivers are over-represented in collision statistics and we believe that better education targeted at each road user group can make a big difference. This campaign aims to empower vulnerable road users by giving them the knowledge required to maximise their safety on the roads.  We are also encouraging sustainable transport alternatives and supporting road users in making good travel choices.

Road Safety Survey results

A survey being filled inA quick thank you to everyone who took part in the Road Safety Survey organised by the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners.

The results from Warwickshire followed very closely the collated results from around the country, with more than 80% saying they saw road traffic offences on a daily or weekly basis.

Seven out of ten of respondents to the survey either agreed or strongly agreed that fixed penalty notices for road traffic offences like speeding and failure to wear a seatbelt (currently £100) should be increased in line with other serious offences like driving while using a handheld mobile phone (currently £200).

And 89% of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed that some of the money raised through fixed penalty notices should be reinvested into enforcement and road safety measures to deny criminals the use of the roads.

Presently money from speed camera fines goes to central government for general expenditure rather than directly to police.

We've led the way nationally in Warwickshire by using the surplus generated from our efficient delivery of the National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme to directly fund road safety schemes. It is therefore encouraging to see that there is public support for an even wider roll out of using monies generated from those who break the rules of the road to directly fund road safety work.

Clearly, there is  also strong support for continuing to enhance enforcement activity, as well as ensuring that we do more to educate road users to help themselves be more safe.

That's something I'm committed to continuing, through the Warwickshire Road Safety Fund and supporting operational policing activity, as well as working with other agencies as chair of the Warwickshire Road Safety Partnership.

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. 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.

Keep up to date with the latest news from the Warwickshire PCC
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