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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
January 2017
Within the blink of an eye, it seems, the festive period is behind us and 2017 has arrived.  I hope that you all managed to enjoy some time with family and friends and get a break before returning to the 'every day' routine.  Of course, policing doesn't get the luxury of a break from the norm and I must commend all of the officers and staff at Warwickshire Police who spent Christmas and New Year keeping Warwickshire safe and protecting people from harm.

Ensuring that they have the right resources to do their jobs efficiently and effectively year-round is one of my most important roles and the current time of year is an important period in the budgeting process. Just before Christmas the Government announced its settlement for Warwickshire Police - in essence, how much money I will receive from central government towards the force budget.  The formula by which this is calculated has remained the same as in previous years, as has the Government's commitment to maintain police funding in real terms during the lifetime of this Parliament - both of which have provided helpful stability. 

The amount received centrally from the Government has been protected in real terms, though this does in effect require me to increase the police precept - the amount local residents contribute through their Council Tax - by the maximum amount of 1.99% to ensure that Warwickshire Police continues to receive all of the funding it requires. 

With the Government settlement now known, I am able to put together my budget for the forthcoming year.  Clearly, one option would be for me to increase the policing portion of Council Tax to ensure that Warwickshire Police continues to see the right level of funding now and in the future.  However, I know that these are very difficult economic times for many people and there are also increasingly large pressures on the budgets of local authorities and other public-sector bodies.  While this is likely to mean that other portions of the council tax may have to rise, I am keen to ensure that wherever possible this is not the case for the Police Precept. 

I also do not think it would be fair to ask the taxpayers of Warwickshire to fund this locally while the force has financial reserves from previous savings and underspends at its disposal.  I am therefore proposing to keep the Police Precept at the same level as 2016/17 and fund the subsequent shortfall for 2017/18 from those reserves, which will still allow me to make a small increase to the total budget.

While this is something I am able to do this year, like any form of savings, once the reserves are spent they are not available again in future years. It will be important therefore that Warwickshire Police continues to find new and more efficient ways of working in order to deliver identified further savings and protect the overall budget in the longer term.  My Police and Crime Plan sets out the framework for how this will be achieved and I am confident that, for the next 12 months at least, there is no need to ask the public to pay more to ensure frontline policing is both protected and enhanced.

My proposed budget will also continue to provide grant funding to organisations across Warwickshire who are working to put victims first, ensure effective and efficient policing, protect people from harm and prevent and reduce crime.

I am keen however to hear people’s views on this, so I would urge all Warwickshire residents to take part in the consultation to tell me whether you back my proposal.  You can find out how to take part in the panel below.
Philip Seccombe
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner
Have your say on police funding in Warwickshire:
Police Precept Consultation 2017/18
I am proposing a freeze on the amount people pay for policing out of their Council Tax – otherwise known as the Police Precept – for 2017/18.

The move would see the Police Precept pegged at the same levels as in 2016/17 for all Council Tax bands.

I want your feedback on the proposal and have launched a simple online poll where you can indicate whether they support the proposed freeze.

If you want to read more detailed information about the proposed Police Precept before taking the survey, please read our
The survey is very short and should take much less than five minutes for you to complete.  To launch the survey, please click the button below:
 
Take the survey

The survey will run until Tuesday, January 31, 2017.  

You can give also your feedback by:

  • Emailing opcc@warwickshire.gov.uk and stating whether you support a freeze (0% increase), or alternatively think I should look to increase the Police Precept (up to a maximum of 1.99%).
  • Or writing to Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner, 3 Northgate Street, Warwick CV34 4SP, again indicating whether you support a freeze (0% increase), or alternatively think I should look to increase the Police Precept (up to a maximum of 1.99%).

If you require any assistance in completing the survey, please contact the office on the details above or call 01926 412322.

Body worn video

Body worn video cameraJust after my December newsletter was circulated I was pleased to announce that I had approved the funding for all frontline officers in Warwickshire to be equipped with body worn video cameras. Firearms and Taser-trained officers will be among the first to receive the equipment, followed by patrol officers, with all front-line operational officers – including those in Safer Neighbourhood Teams – gaining body-worn cameras during the remainder of 2017.

Officers in the West Mercia Police area will be similarly equipped, with the initial purchase cost for the rollout across the two forces around £1 million.

This significant investment in new technology is great news, both for frontline police officers, coming as being a major part of my commitment to substantially modernise technology across Warwickshire Police, ensuring officers have the right equipment and training to do their jobs effectively and efficiently. 

The introduction of body-worn cameras will also play an important role in helping to boost public confidence in policing – another of the key ambitions of my Police and Crime Plan.

Body worn cameras will help officers to achieve better outcomes and capture important evidence to bring cases to court.  Having a clear and irrefutable picture of what has happened in any incident is valuable, not only from an evidential perspective, but also because it provides the public with a record of how the police have acted. This greater openness and transparency will be very beneficial, for example when dealing with complaints against officers, where I believe it will help to reduce the numbers of illegitimate allegations being made, while at the same time allowing the thorough investigation of legitimate complaints to be carried out in a much more efficient and timely way.

Introducing the technology will require a phased roll-out but I am pleased that by the end of 2017 we will be in a position to see front-line officers in all parts of the force fully equipped.
Workshop hears a victim's story
Last month my office organised a special workshop for practitioners from across the criminal justice system and victim and witness support agencies to come together to look at how they can work better at supporting victims and witnesses.

Led by my policy officer Chris Lewis, the well-attended event at Wolston Leisure & Community Centre heard from a range of partners, including representatives of the police, Crown Prosecution Service, the courts and victim and witness support groups. The audience also heard from a victim of crime, who was able to relay her sometimes harrowing story of how her experience of the criminal justice system as a victim of domestic abuse was not everything we would all want it to be.

The aim of the event was to ensure that all agencies understood the current picture on the ground as experienced by victims of crime and witnesses and could discuss what works well and what needs improvement.

Outcomes from the event will be key in shaping my Victims' Charter, which will outline the levels of service that all victims should expect on every occasion - something which is a key commitment within my Police and Crime Plan and which I will be publishing later this year.
Picture roundup
Philip addressing the cadets
In December, I met with the Warwickshire Police Cadets during one of their regular evening meetings in North Warwickshire.  As well as hearing from me, they also heard presentations from firearms officers and the Street Aware educational programme for schools and young adults, which focuses on drugs awareness, harm reduction, resilience and prevention.
Philip with the North Warwickshire Police Cadets
Cyber Crime Survey
A hooded figure in front of a keyboard illustrating cyber crimeIn the past month we've seen all manner of headlines about 2016 being 'the year of the hack', with everything from Yahoo announcing that it had suffered the biggest data breach in history to the ongoing investigations into the hacking of Democratic Party emails during the US Presidential Election. Scam emails are also in the news - only this week Action Fraud put out a warning about fake Amazon emails which had led to recipients being defrauded.

With cyber crime being identified as a national policing priority and tackling it being an integral part of my Police and Crime Plan, I'm still keen to hear your experiences of cyber crime.  Have you ever received scam emails or been taken in by a fake website.  Perhaps you have suffered from cyber bullying or had your social media or email accounts hacked or infected by viruses?  

All four Police and Crime Commissioners across the West Midlands want to know your experiences of cyber crime so we can understand the scale of the problem in the region and work to better target policing and other resources to where they will have the most effect.

That's why we've extended our Regional Cyber Crime Survey to the end of January - so if you haven't yet done so, please do take a few minutes to fill out our survey.  Click the button below to get started.
 
Take the 2016-17 Cybercrime Survey
The month ahead

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

8 Jan: Attending Exercise Titus - an emergency services exercise in Stratford
9 Jan: Visiting the Regional Organised Crime Unit
10 Jan: Visiting staff at Leek Wootton
11 Jan: Trust, Integrity and Ethics Meeting
12 Jan: Police station visit, Stratford
13 Jan: Unauthorised Traveller Encampments County-Wide Meeting, Nuneaton
18 Jan: Visit to Nuneaton Justice Centre
19 Jan: Visit to the Warwickshire School for Life education programme 
24 Jan: Alliance Governance Group meeting
27 Jan: Regional PCCs meeting
31 Jan: Place Partnership meeting
Feb 3: Police and Crime Panel Meeting, Warwick

In addition, I have a weekly meeting with the Chief Constable to hold the force to account and discuss arising issues.  

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, 3 February.
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