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Police: Growing Pains

Written by RSS Poster CC Dave Thompson

Last week I had a few days away from work and I hope some of you have been able to have some time off during half term. The pace of life is returning and the force is very busy. I know we are working very hard at a time when the chances of a holiday overseas are again receding. I cannot thank you enough for your work.

Having time away from work is important and I do recognise taking time off when you want it is vital, but is actually quite tough at the moment. As an Executive Team we discussed this two weeks ago. We think it’s very important people take leave and will track more carefully when people have leave refused a number of times. We will also be operating extended leave carry over for the next two years. More news to follow.

The last few weeks have seen some tragic events. None more so than the murder of Dea-John Reid. Many of us will have been shattered by the words and emotions of his mother, brother and the rest of his family. Their dignity and leadership in the community have stood out. We cannot put this right but the force has let...

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Police: Holidays, disorder and hate crimes

Written by RSS Poster CC Dave Thompson

Despite the temperatures and the rain this weekend summer is on the way!

First up: Commonwealth Games leave restrictions. I’m well aware restrictions are never popular after what could be two years without a proper summer holiday. I’m sorry we’ve had to do this and I understand the impact this may have on you and your families. It’s why we wanted to tell you about the restrictions more than a year in advance.

The games are a huge operation for the force. The event is going to be exciting and a fantastic time for policing in the region. I want to assure everyone that we will do all we can to be flexible on leave around these dates as the plans develop. We will keep you updated.

The progress on lifting restrictions and ending our responsibilities under COVID legislation will be welcomed by all of us as police and private citizens. However, I don’t think this is the end of the COVID related challenges.

Having watched the disorders in Europe and the extraordinary scenes in Manchester at the weekend, there is a...

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Police: 180,000,000

Written by RSS Poster CC Dave Thompson

The number at the top of this blog may strike you as a little odd.

This is the number of files the force has moved from its legacy computer systems into Connect. Pieces of data from various systems that we had to pick up and transfer into our new operating system in a way we can access and use them. Ever tried to transfer the address book from one phone to another? Not easy, and you can see why this has been such a huge project. Technology is a little bit like an iceberg; those of us using the system only see the tip and not the huge complexity below the waterline.

I make these points as this last week has been a seismic change for West Midlands Police. We have never before had a fully integrated operational policing system. Over the years, we have grafted pieces together with loose ends and compromises. With so many systems involved, some would age and become sick and replacement was not a choice. Some systems were at end of life. Today, the force has the UK’s most modern operational system.

I want to offer a big ‘thanks’ to everyone...

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Police: Our world has changed so much

Written by RSS Poster CC Dave Thompson

Looking back even fourteen months ago, it is hard to imagine we would ever see the events of 2020. Our world has changed so much.

For some this has been a dreadful year of tragedy. We mourn those we have lost within our own West Midlands Police family and today think of those who have died in our communities. We are looking forward to enjoying a brighter future that sees us meeting up with family and friends again.

A handmade thank you card to police officers reading Thank You for everything that you are doing in the service of others
One of the many thank you cards we received

This year has also been inspiring in so many ways. The miracle of science that has created the vaccination programme, the tireless work of NHS staff and those in care homes. Acts of kindness across communities.

Our own work has been outstanding. The preparation for mass fatalities saw us work with partners to create the largest temporary mortuary in the country from scratch. The work of our community deaths teams earlier in the year was remarkable. The quality of coordination with partners and, of course, the tireless work of all of you in enforcing the COVID...

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Police: Chief Constable’s blog: Policing and Sarah Everard

Written by RSS Poster CC Dave Thompson

The tragic murder of Sarah Everard this week has had a seismic impact on society and policing. The circumstances of her death and the occupation of the man charged with her murder has stunned all of us.

There are so many issues from this case but I want to discuss the two most pressing.

COVID restrictions

The events on Clapham Common have brought into sharp focus the difficulties of balancing freedom to assemble and protest with the substantial restrictions that have been passed by Parliament to manage the public health crisis.

The police cannot work with organisers to facilitate a gathering that is unlawful under the COVID legislation; it would be a serious breach of our role. I believe people who feel the police should have done this at the weekend are wrong. The rules have varied during the pandemic but are very clear and parliament has restricted gatherings to prevent infections of COVID.

You will see we advised local groups we could not do this which led to events being cancelled in...

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Police: Chief’s blog: why Connect is critical

Written by RSS Poster CC Dave Thompson

One of the areas we have talked about in the “This Work Matters” strategy is Precision Policing. We want to develop this concept to blend evidence based policing, our data capability with our need to be efficient in using resources and ensure communities are policed fairly. This requires us to be smart in understanding problems, setting objectives and ensuring resources are used well.

I mention this as I was thinking about this as I reached the final leg of my Connect Learning Journey this week and looked at the new Proactive Management Plans (PMP). Connect is critical to Precision Policing.

Yes – I have a Connect training journey of 19 lessons and around 8 hours! Connect is a huge change for WMP and everyone needs to understand it. This is critical for leaders. Some of you may have heard me say we need digital leaders not analogue managers. Leaders have core roles in Connect, but also need to understand how to exploit it to improve our policing and help all staff with new ways of working.

The systems...

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Police: Chief Constable Dave Thompson’s blog: “There is a serious societal issue with some young men’s violent behaviour. Too often simple answers are traded on how to address this”

Written by RSS Poster CC Dave Thompson

Last week I found myself at home self-isolating after testing positive for COVID. I am fortunate my symptoms were very mild at what remains a tragic and troubling time and am glad to be back at work.

On Monday night we were all touched by the bravery of Keon Lincoln’s mum and sister as they led our appeal for help as we continue the investigation into his murder. We are committed to helping them secure justice.

Serious youth violence is not new. Last week we saw four young men sent to prison for the ferociously violent murder of Keelan Wilson in Wolverhampton in 2018. We have seen some awful crimes in Coventry, Birmingham and across our region and the country involving children and adolescents.

Murders have been committed following the slightest dispute. The level of violence in many cases has been extreme. The lack of any consideration of the...

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Police: New Year, New hopes. 2021 the Year of Coventry

Written by RSS Poster CC Dave Thompson

I am writing this blog on the 7th January and it is already an extraordinary start to the year.

January is in some ways a little bit of a blue month after the excesses of Christmas and as the days are their darkest. We have lacked excess this year and the dramatic swing in infections from COVID is sobering. I think we can all agree we are entering a very difficult few weeks now with the new strain of the disease.

This comes at the very moment vaccinations emerged and so the hope of an end has been dampened by the sense of a punishing few months ahead.

A few thoughts from me:

On New Year’s Eve I joined OSU staff on Operation Reliance and saw first-hand what I would describe as the hard grind of COVID enforcement. It is tough relentlessly dealing with people who don’t see why they need to follow the rules. I was deeply concerned by some of the parties I saw and the health risk they create, specifically to us. I am supportive of the need for government to consider public facing roles in policing for early...

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Police: Chief Constable’s Dave Thompson’s blog: Surfacing for air

Written by RSS Poster CC Dave Thompson

Last week the Chancellor announced a one year spending review. Governments generally like to set out their spending plans over a four year period. We have not been in this position now for just over three years which makes planning quite challenging. The COVID health and economic emergency and the Brexit deal make longer term planning quite hard.

The main headline you may have noticed was the pay freeze which will affect all staff earning more than £24K. I know how incredibly hard you have been working this year as part of the COVID emergency. I do recognise this has been a health-led emergency and how health service staff are rewarded is important. Carving out groups is difficult and divisive. A pay freeze is a pay cut in real terms and I am disappointed at this outcome for you all. Incremental progression is unaffected.

The announcement continued the commitment to the Police Uplift Programme. The force will have more than 500 additional officers by March 2021. The amount recruited...

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Police: Chief’s blog: Policing is service and sacrifice

Written by RSS Poster CC Dave Thompson

Policing fights short battles not long wars. I said this in a message a few months ago when talking about COVID. The rush of the March emergency has lapsed into a weariness across society.

I am sure, like me, you are feeling quite tired of the restrictions we are all living with especially as we go in to autumn. A greyer period in the seasons, and probably in life, this year it is vital as a service we are there for the public. So:

  • Keep up the social distancing and safeguards in and out of work. Becoming exposed means two weeks without leaving home and a big impact at work.
  • We have set out sustainable arrangements for WMP to operate that are in line with government guidance.
  • Thank you for the great work in helping the public follow the rules.

COVID is not the only issue we are facing and I wanted to flag up some highlights for me over the last few weeks:

Your Voice Matters. Our staff survey is out. Its quick to do and it is so important. It really does help me to get your feedback and we got so much...

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Latest CC Dave Thompson Stories

Growing Pains
Holidays, disorder and hate crimes
180,000,000
Our world has changed so much
Chief Constable’s blog: Policing and Sarah Everard

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