Monthly update from Warwickshire's Police and Crime Commissioner
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The latest news from the Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner
December 2019

It's that time of year again when many of us relax into the festive season and also look back on the year that has passed. It's certainly been a busy 12 months, with some very positive developments throughout which will set the foundations for policing in Warwickshire over the next decade. We've also seen quite a few developments in the political world, not least of which saw us all go to the polls earlier this month.  It's the reason why there's been a little bit of a gap in you receiving these monthly updates, due to the restrictions on publicity by public authorities in the pre-election period.  Happily, we're back and will be resuming on a monthly basis as normal.

I am now entering into the last six months of this term of office and I am pleased to report really good progress across the board in meeting the objectives of my Police and Crime Plan. I entered office aiming to make Warwickshire a safer and more secure place and, looking back on this year in particular, there have been a number of significant developments which have really helped to move that ambition towards a reality.

First and foremost, Warwickshire Police is now seeing the benefit of the additional officers you helped to fund through your Council Tax in both 2018 and 2019. Since 2018, 227 Warwickshire Police officers as well as 26 Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) have gone through their training with the force. It means that the number of police officers in the force has reached the 1,000 mark, its highest level for a decade.  

With Chief Constable Martin Jelley and the 98 student officers at Stuart Ross House in Warwick.

Last month I visited Stuart Ross House in Warwick with Chief Constable Martin Jelley to see the latest group of student officers on parade. There are currently 98 new constables undergoing their rigorous training programme, split across five intake groups. This is the single largest number of new trainees to ever be simultaneously put through their paces in the force’s 162-year history – beating the summer’s previous high of 70. It's a tribute to the dedicated officers and staff in our recruitment teams and the training school that we have so many high-calibre new recruits to help keep Warwickshire safe in the future

What do all these extra boots on the ground mean in reality? As they complete their training, our new officers join our patrol policing teams right across the county, helping to respond to 999 emergencies and 101 calls from, Atherstone in the north, right the way down to Shipston at the southern edge of the county and everywhere in between. It means more resources are available to deploy to incidents when they come into the force's call centre and I know from talking to existing patrol officers what a difference these extra colleagues are now having. With added numbers there is extra flexibility too and the Chief Constable has been able to base some of the extra patrols out of Alcester and, as of last week, from Coleshill, and I know the improved response times and greater police visibility this has enabled will be very warmly received by local communities.

We've also been able to improve the way in which the force tackles rural crime. All Warwickshire patrol and Safer Neighbourhoods officers now have access to an innovative app that I have funded. It provides them easy access to advice and guidance on a wide range of information relating to livestock, wildlife crime, fishing, agricultural vehicles and plant, firearms, dangerous dogs, poisons and heritage crime. It can also send reports straight through to our Rural Crime Team - another exciting introduction this year, which sees a team led by Inspector Allison Wiggin dedicated to reducing rural crime across the county. This is something I have championed and I am delighted to see it making a difference across our rural communities already.

Joining the Rural Crime Team and Safer Neighbourhoods officers recently at an engagement evening for farms and rural businesses in Atherstone.

Across the wider work of my office, this year has seen the commissioning of important services for victims and programmes aimed to help those with drug and alcohol dependencies to avoid a life of crime. Victim Support is now working alongside Warwickshire Police in our Integrated Victim Management Hub to help provide tailored support to victims, with around 1,000 people a month now benefiting from enhanced provision. The charities Barnardo's and RoSA are now working together to provide a joined up support service for victims of rape and sexual abuse, from childhood right the way through to adulthood. I've also funded county-wide services to deter substance misuse among those involved in crime or at risk of being in the criminal justice system. National charity Change, Grow Live is providing support to those over 18, while I have commissioned health and wellbeing charity Compass to deliver drug and alcohol interventions to young people across Warwickshire. 

It has taken a significant amount of work by my office to devise, procure and introduce these new services, based upon what victims have told us they need and evidence of what works best in helping deter people away from the criminal justice system. We will now get to enjoy the benefits of these services over the next few years as they have all been commissioned on multi-year contracts to guarantee continuity.

Another highlight from 2019 has been the launching of the Warwickshire Road Safety Fund and the awarding (to date) of more than £300,000 to projects aimed at supporting the reduction of people being killed or seriously injured on our roads. There are many great projects now beginning their work, including a major awareness campaign aimed at young drivers.  You may have seen the billboards and bus shelter adverts across the county over the last month, giving 'The Honest Truth' about drink driving.  We'll have another major campaign running during January as we begin to really ramp up our efforts to make our roads safer for everyone.

Honest Truth billboard launch
Annette Lloyd, Head of The Honest Truth, with me at one of the billboards on show across Warwickshire.

So, these are just a few highlights from 2019, which has been a year to remember and sets us up well for 2020.  Looking forward, there is still much to achieve. Warwickshire Police is entering an exciting period as it exits its former alliance with West Mercia Police, forging new relationships with partners across the region and also re-establishing functions within the county.  It's been really pleasing to see Leek Wootton springing back to life as the force headquarters and there will be many more exciting developments in store across the year.

I'm also looking to award further new grants in the near future - applications are now open, so see below for more details.  I'll also shortly begin consulting the police precept - that's the portion of Council Tax which helps to pay for policing and community safety in the county, see keep an eye on my website for more details in the coming days.

That only leaves me to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  I hope you all enjoy a safe and enjoyable festive period.

Philip Seccombe TD
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner
Grants Scheme now open to applications for 2020/21

Frontline policing relies on the work of a range of different agencies and initiatives in order to provide a high level of support to the public in Warwickshire.  This includes projects which aim to support victims, deter re-offending and help to prevent crime from happening in the first place.

I’ve been proud to support a very diverse range of initiatives to help deliver my Police and Crime Plan for Warwickshire in previous years and I am keen to do so again in 2020 and beyond.

By channelling resources towards the right projects and initiatives, I can make a real difference to local communities, so I am keen to receive new applications for funding from my grants scheme.  I hope to be able to provide a great New Year ‘present’ for a range of initiatives which can create a safer and more secure Warwickshire for everyone.

For 2020/21, applications are being sought from now until the end of January from private, public and third sector organisations for non-profit projects covering a range of different categories:

  • Small Grants (including applications that specifically aim to address knife-crime)
  • Road Safety
  • Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Programmes
  • Domestic Abuse Victims’ Programmes
  • Reducing Reoffending

Organisations are able to submit multiple bids to any of the schemes. Each application will be evaluated separately.

If you think your scheme or project could be eligible, check out the full details on my website and make sure you put in your application before the end January.

Apply today at:

Another rural community joins anti-crime scheme

Villages and the PCC lining up at the Nether Whitacre sign at the village entrance with crime prevention signs
Nether Whitacre has become the latest village in Warwickshire to join the ‘Supported Villages Scheme’ I fund through the Rural Crime Project.

Working with Carol Cotterill, Rural Crime Officer from Warwickshire Police who developed the 'Supported Villages' initiative, and the local Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team based at Coleshill, the Parish Council and residents have proactively taken measures with officers to help deter crime and reduce speeding in their village.

Over the last two years a number of different crime prevention engagements and initiatives have been held, including every household being provided with a property marking pack with the local newsletter.

As well as providing advice and crime prevention measures, the local policing team have also worked with residents to set up the villages very successful Community Speed Watch Scheme, which I have also helped fund.

PC Ackroyd, PC Bird, PC Ramsall, PCSO Owen and PCSO Beale have all actively been part of setting up the scheme in the village with Carol, as well as working with other groups such as North Warwickshire Neighbourhood Watch.

Nether Whitacre becomes the fifteenth village in the county to be part of the scheme with other villages either working with officers or have expressed an interest in becoming involved.

I went along recently to present them with a special crime prevention box, full of materials to help villagers continue to ensure that property is security marked and kept safe in the weeks and months to come.  Pictured above at Nether Whitacre are: Richard Hemphill, Parish Councillor and Community Speedwatch; Bev Woollaston,  Parish Clerk and Speedwatch Coordinator; Carol Cotterill; Keith Woodward, Chair of Parish Council; myself; Arthur Harris, Community Speedwatch; and PCSO Jane Owen from the SNT in Coleshill.
2019 PCC Award winner revealed

Handing the award to PC Stephen CroshawIn November I was delighted to reveal the winner of my 2019 Award for Excellence in Policing and Community Safety as PC Stephen Croshaw, from Warwickshire Police’s Nuneaton Safer Neighbourhood Team.

The award recognises PC Croshaw’s outstanding work with young people and partner organisations creating educational videos to highlight a range of important issues.

Completely in his own time, PC Croshaw has produced numerous short videos of topics from serious and organised crime to health and wellbeing, hate crime, child sexual exploitation, domestic abuse and volunteering. His work has raised awareness in many ways for members of the public to better understand and recognise vulnerabilities in our communities, especially those linked to organised crime.

One example has seen PC Croshaw working with a local 16-year-old Anti-Hate rap artist, creating a You Tube video to highlight the issue of county lines drug dealing. This is a serious national problem involving drug gangs and Stephen’s video has received wide acclaim, including an endorsement from the National Crime Agency.

PC Croshaw has also previously worked closely with crime and disorder partners and created videos for the ‘Love Instead of Hate’ and ‘Hate Crime FREE-style’ projects. Several of his other videos have been adopted by Warwickshire Police for training purposes, for example his work on problem solving and how it can lead to reductions in crime and anti-social behaviour.

For the first time this year I also made two further ‘highly commended’ awards, due to the high quality of nominations received.

Ann Johnson, who until recently led the Stratford Link project for rough sleepers, the street community and the socially excluded in Stratford-upon-Avon, was recognised for her dedication in helping people who often lead complex and chaotic lives, with individual health needs and sometimes challenging behaviour. While the Link project itself is currently undergoing a strategic review, the contribution that Ann has made over the past few years continues to be felt.

Christopher Langman was also highly commended for his voluntary work at Henley Community Library, where he gives his time freely to give people advice and information about staying safe online. He was also nominated for a second time for his work developing a set of easy read guides for Warwickshire Police, Stratford-on-Avon District Council and other partners, to help people with learning difficulties understand how to access key services and also how to stay safe. Christopher is a key supporter of the multi-agency initiatives to tackle hate crime in the county and was also recently one of the ‘faces’ of a Warwickshire Police hate crime awareness initiative.

PCC Philip Seccombe with Ann Johnson, who received a ‘Highly Commended’ certificate
PCC Philip Seccombe with Christopher Langman, who received a ‘Highly Commended’ certificate.
Rugby’s retail radio expands thanks to funding boost

Rugby’s retail radio network has been expanded with a new repeat transmitter to extend the coverage and give greater capacity for the future, all thanks to funding through my grants scheme.

The award of £1,000 has allowed Rugby First to purchase the new network repeater which will allow the scheme the capacity to provide further radio handsets for distribution to businesses within the Business Improvement District (BID).  It means the network can cover the daytime and night-time economies more effectively, boosting its effectiveness.

Rugby First has been working closely with my Business Crime Advisor Bogdan Fironda to secure the funding for the scheme, which brings together police, Town Rangers and local shops, businesses, pubs and clubs together to share information and communicate more effectively.

View the video below to find out more.

Find out more about how my funding is helping retailers in Rugby
Diary dates
Date being marked on a calendar
Here are some of the key events in my diary for the next few weeks:

Jan 7: Alliance Transition Governance Group, Leek Wootton
Jan 9: Speaking at Coleshill & District Civil Society on Policing in North Warwickshire, Old Market Hall, Coleshill, 7.30pm
Jan 10: Annual Budget Consultation with Warwickshire MPs, Kenilworth
Jan 13: Budget Consultation Meeting with business communities / 3rd sector / partners, Shire Hall, Warwick
Jan 13: Visit to Mental Health Street Triage Team, Bedworth
Jan 23: Budget consultation meeting with local authorities, Shire Hall, Warwick
Jan: 24: Blue Light Collaboration Joint Advistory Board, Shire Hall, Warwick
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.
Keep up to date with the latest news from the Warwickshire PCC
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