The last few weeks have seen you manage some tragic and heart-breaking incidents. The murder and tragic deaths at Merry Hill in Wolverhampton and last week the terrible murders and stabbing in Stourbridge.
While I cannot comment directly on the facts of the incident at Merry Hill I can say I am hugely proud of our response. It graphically highlights a number of issues. Firstly, the critical role of our call takers and dispatchers. Secondly a wide range of capability from Tasers, dogs and firearms.
In Stourbridge, again the force stepped up. Again a horrific scene and the actions of quick thinking and brave officers who ensured the man who ran from the scene was in custody within minutes. Another inspiring response from call takers, response officers, force support and neighbourhood. Let us not forget those whose painstaking and difficult work continues when everyone else stands down: forensics; intelligence; homicide investigation; family liaison officers – these officers and...
It is now just over a year since I became the Chief. It is natural at this point to reflect on where I have got to on the commitments I set out to you and what the next year holds.
Where are we now?
November saw a big shift in how the force is organised. I am pleased with how things are settling and the potential in place. We do have gaps that we are filling in key areas which will make the position better. I am particularly pleased that we rolled out the new technology we promised in 2016 – more than 3000 mobile devices, 1000 laptops and over 1600 body worn cameras. That’s a lot of kit! The future roll out on these areas is in planning. I was also pleased we rolled out new PAVA and batons and made some warmer coats available.
We are now organised in a way that matches the future and helps us prevent crime, protect the public and help those in need. A big focus now is delivering on this promise.
If 2016 was a big change year then 2017 is a year of making sure the public feel the impact of us delivering better outcomes....
For those of you celebrating Christmas, and also Hanukkah, and those of you not, I hope you had some time with family over the last few weeks.
The drumbeat of policing never stops and we had a busy seasonal period. I would like to pay particular tribute to some excellent police work in response to the shootings we had across the Christmas period and the response. There was some brave and exceptional work. I think the planning of the Christmas Market in Birmingham was shown to be sensible, particularly after the terrible events in Berlin. The Boxing Day appeal we made on the twenty year anniversary of the disappearance of David Spencer and Patrick Warren from Chelmsley Wood as well of that of Surjit Takhar shows we never give up if we have a chance of finding the answers. Most of all I want to thank those of you who worked hard over the period.
Before I pack 2016 away I also ought to mention the collective response of the force to the disorder at HMP Birmingham. One of the things that fills me with great pride is the ability of UK...
Just over two weeks after implementing some of the biggest changes to affect WMP in a long while it’s right that we take stock and ask how are things going. Be assured, we have been checking daily with the support of our change network, senior officers and the Federation but it is a good time to step back and check again. What’s going well and what issues do we need to address here and now?
Whilst I will specifically focus on the challenges and what we are doing about them, overall I am pleased with progress and proud of the work you have done to deliver such substantial change so smoothly. Our WMP2020 operating model is already enabling us to better deliver our vision of preventing crime, protecting the public and helping those in need. Our Contact teams have led the way in using THRIVE+ and the new grading framework to great effect.
Earlier this year we worked with you to shape our organisational values and we deliberately emphasised the values...
Monday the 28th November is a big change for us as we move to the new operating model. Before we start anything: Thank you.
I am not a great lover of re-organising structures. I much prefer improving how we work but on this occasion it is needed before we can go to the next stage. I am always aware that changing structures does mean some disruption for all of you. We have worked very hard to minimise this but it does mean, for some of you, new locations, different shifts and new colleagues. Thank you for making these moves.
I want to thank you in advance. With such a big change there will be some challenges as we adapt. The Deputy Chief and staff from the 2020 programme are running a Transition Centre to monitor the implementation of the new operating model but I also accept and hope that there will be things that you and local leaders will need to adjust and use your initiative on. Please let the transition centre know about adaptions you need to do or think may be needed. There will be some changes as we get going but we need to be...
I have spent a great deal of time talking in the blog about change. I will again on the 28th but this is very much ordinary business.
In the last few weeks I have been thinking about the risks you face and balancing your needs with public expectations and the way we are regulated. A few local and national incidents have put this in focus.
A couple of weeks ago we saw two officers injured from an assault, they were hugely courageous and suffered nasty injuries. Other officers also showed incredible bravery dealing with an armed man at an incident in Walsall. Their lives were firmly on the line and they put themselves in harm’s way. I have watched the body cam footage of the second incident. It reinforced again that policing is messy, confusing, highly charged and dangerous. Both incidents showed exactly why Taser is used in policing. More on that later.
At Halloween the force dealt with a mass gang of bikers who came together to engage in criminality. This was lawless behaviour of the worst sort. I commend the work of all...
It’s been a few weeks since I updated you all. A great deal is going on!
First, you will have seen we have begun promotion processes for chief inspectors and superintendents. We have opened both processes to officers in other forces. This is not because we lack talent or don’t value the people here! I do intend us to continue to progress as the best force in the country and I intend to attract the best talent for senior roles. We are also not diverse enough in senior ranks and a good mix of new people in these roles bring in new ideas. It is also exactly what happens with police staff. This is not the plan with Inspectors and Sergeants where there is a wide choice and a high number of staff qualified although we will explore both fast track and direct entry Inspector schemes this year. The new senior leaders will be posted for the start of the first set of WMP2020 changes in November as will the next phase of sergeant promotions.
Last week the force’s senior leaders and I reviewed the plans for...
The next week marks the gradual end of the school holidays and a return to work for colleagues who have been off on a well-earned break. Can I offer my thanks to all who have worked very hard over a busy summer that has been testing at times.
Coming back starts the final leg towards the changes we are making to the force at the end of November. I can feel a real focusing of the mind in people now! There is an expression work expands to fill the time you have. Well deadlines are getting closer!
You probably saw the Federation wrote to me raising concerns over the timing of the changes. For completeness here is my reply. I have no issues with the Federation raising these concerns because I am aware some of you are looking for some certainty on leave over the Christmas period. I get this and we are working hard on this now. Things are also busy and in some quarters staffing is tight.
There is no easy time to make changes but we have been working to November for some time. In the next few weeks we will be reminding you why we are making changes...
I thought I would take this opportunity to stage a quick takeover and write what will be my last blog in West Midlands before I leave for Merseyside Police.
When I sat down to consider what I wanted to cover there were so many things that are currently on-going I really did not know where to start!
It is all too easy to become very reflective when one is leaving an organisation, particularly one which has been such an important part of your life.
Assistant Chief Constable Carl Foulkes
I have certainly found myself thinking back to my arrival in the force 13 years ago to a sunny (well it was raining but rose tinted glasses and all) Bloxwich nick as a fresh faced DCI and being greeted by a cheery “hello bab” by the front office staff.
The force certainly does not look, or feel like the organisation I transferred to from BTP. This is no bad thing, when I look at how we have changed moving from a very red and green performance and accountability focus to a force very much...