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...
I hope, like me, you are excited to watch the Olympic games. I’m less keen on all the pomp and ceremony but I’m gripped by the personal stories of success against all the odds, the huge personal endeavour and the success shared by proud families, communities and countries. When years of hard work evaporates in a fall or is just not quite good enough for the podium this time, I really feel that disappointment. Thankfully policing is not quite so ‘all-or-nothing’ but it does require perseverance, belief and optimism. The rewards when we make a difference to someone’s life can be a bit like winning ‘gold’. Having seen recent recommendations for Chief Constable’s Commendations and Good Citizen Awards I know there is no shortage of ‘medals’ material here but I do know our staff are struggling to find the time for a cuppa.
Deputy Chief Constable Louisa Rolfe
Right now it is tough. We are in the midst of our busiest time of the year, we are accelerating towards a lot of...
In the last few weeks the force has dealt with some real challenges and tragedies: The high profile deaths in Nechells, an awful incident involving a very young child as well as some terrible child protection cases. I am pleased each case has had a good level of contact with senior leaders as work of this type can never be taken for granted.
These cases once again highlight the friendship and service you all offer to the most vulnerable or needy in society. However, it is tough work and it takes its toll physically and mentally and you need to understand this is valued. As part of this approach a new ten point plan for injured officers has been introduced. The duty ACC will contact and speak to every officer or staff member who is hurt requiring hospital treatment, because it is our job to ensure that staff facing these challenges are cared for. We also need to ensure that this is reflected in our policies.
A few weeks ago the Federation raised the fact that officers attending the Police Convalescent Home in Goring are required to take...
I am clearly fully entering the digital world after increasing my Twitter use and now here’s a second force blog. As the national lead for Open Source and someone who is genuinely interested in all things digital I still find the whole social media piece a little unnatural although I am trying to get there.
Assistant Chief Constable Carl Foulkes
We have always said that the People Deal and values apply to everyone in the force – it does not matter what role we do or rank we are.
When the Chief set department and LPU heads the task of working out how they embed the people deal and values, we as a chief officer team did the same. For me leadership, standards and values start from the top and to support the values we have created our own “team brand”.
Here is a flavor of the team objectives we have committed to and which will be published soon, as the Chief said on his recent webchat:
Enhancing our visibility – both within the organisation and externally in...
This week’s events represent the most seismic moment in the country’s history in our lifetime. The political consensus on Britain and Europe has changed. There are considerable uncertainties over what lies ahead that cannot be answered. People have very divided views on what has just taken place and the future. Britain is in a period of unprecedented change.
There is an important role for the police service at this time. We provide security and stability to our communities. There are a number of things we now need to do.
It is no surprise people are feeling insecure. This insecurity is, I think, amplified for some through race or religion or for others who have moved to the region from elsewhere in Europe. In some sense this is not as a result of direct actions by people in their communities. It is set in the context of the referendum that has had a forceful debate on immigration, our relationship with Europe and national identity.
This has and will have the potential to become directed at people through acts of hate. At this stage, we have not seen a...
Having recently changed jobs and moved house I feel like life is generally one step ahead of me at the moment. I do feel so much happier being closer to work and feel much more a part of West Mids now. However, seeing my children in new school uniforms makes me realise how much they’ve grown right under my nose. I guess I’ve been just a little pre-occupied…
I had a great time at Birmingham Pride a couple of weekends ago, such fun was had by all! I was hugely impressed by the policing operation. Events in Orlando this week have horrified us all and my thoughts are with those mourning loved ones across in the US.
At home in West Midlands Police we have been very busy making plans, initially to help us deliver the policing services our communities deserve and rightly expect, while saving nearly a quarter of our budget and, more recently, to reassess those plans since learning that such severe...
Last year I walked through Lozells on the march by Black officers at the National Black Police Association Conference. It was a striking moment of reflection. Quite literally people came out to watch and clap. I even saw a group of lads pull up in a car and ask one of our Black Female officers if she really was a cop. That statement made me realise how far we must travel in some community’s minds to be recognised as a diverse institution. This matters and it starts inside the force.
A core part of the People Deal is the experience of diverse staff in West Midlands Police. We want WMP to be a fair place for everyone. I believe it to be an unquestionable fact to say that those in the minority experience a generally poorer chance of being treated fairly in most organisations and society. West Midlands Police reflects our society in this regard. We are not yet a universally fair place and I believe we are further away from this with minority staff.
This matters for four reasons. Firstly the law says that we should not...