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Police: From stop and search to stop and talk and stop and think

Written by RSS Poster CC Dave Thompson

Last week I called the murder of three teenage boys in Birmingham a local emergency. This week murders in London and Manchester made this a national crisis. On Wednesday I joined other Chiefs at a meeting with the Home Secretary to discuss our response which was a very positive, energised meeting.

Meanwhile you have been working incredibly hard. From the staff investigating these crimes to officers carrying out searches in often difficult circumstances. I commend you all for stepping up to the challenge of protecting young people.

The citywide section 60 needed to send out a message: carrying weapons has become too frequent and people will be searched to protect our children. I think the message has been sent out loudly and clearly and has created some disruption. From today (Friday 8 March) our strategy will evolve.

Stop and search

The citywide section 60 will end but in parts of Birmingham it will continue as we have areas where we still need to keep at this. We will not be waiting for new intelligence or an incident to...

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Police: A week of violence and tragedy

Written by RSS Poster CC Dave Thompson

This last week has been one of the most violent and tragic weeks I have seen in my police service. The violence and the loss of young lives has scarred families and communities across the region and specifically in parts of Birmingham. My thoughts are foremost to the families suffering this huge loss.

Chief Constable David Thompson

Chief Constable David Thompson

We have seen six murders over the last two weeks. It is important to say these are very varied and the offending, while having tragic results, did not in most of these cases bring danger to the streets or a broader public threat. The number has simply been chance and has some very specific circumstances.

The murders of Sidali Mohammed, Abdullah Muhammad and Hazat Umar are very different. They are part of a broader picture of violent knife crimes involving young people we have seen in Birmingham, our region and indeed in many of our cities across the country. I am sure parents and young people have been very scared by these events.

While these matters are pending proceedings or under investigation they...

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Police: Sadness tempered with pride

Written by RSS Poster CC Dave Thompson

The last few weeks have seen many reasons to feel pride in the force. Some incredibly sad, some exciting.

PCSO Holly Burke’s tragic death has touched a great many of us because of its sudden nature and the fact it happened during a police operation. It has been hugely tough for colleagues and those involved in the case. I was pleased to see a significant turn out at her funeral from colleagues.

No less loved was PC Rakesh Sond who also sadly died. Again colleagues attending to show their love and support. Sad times often unify us.

Chief Constable David Thompson

Last week we saw the launch of the National Sikh Police Association here in the West Midlands. The new national association has been born out of our own Sikh Police Association who have used the great work they have done here to stimulate work across the country and now a new staff network. It was an inspiring day. Staff networks are vital for our force. They not only advocate for under-represented groups but they also invest huge time in bridging the links between the police and...

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Police: The death of Kingsley Burrell

Written by RSS Poster CC Dave Thompson

I think it appropriate to share my view on this case.

Mr Burrell’s death takes place in a context. This shapes how we view any story and it is different for all of us, as are the emotions that this case generates.

Chief Constable David Thompson

Chief Constable David Thompson

I make no challenge on the validity of anyone’s views of the context of this story as this is based on their values, views and life experience.

It is for this reason my reflections begin with some facts.

Mr Burrell should not have died.

Both the NHS and West Midlands Police owed him a duty of care. He was very unwell.

Mr Burrell was not detained by the police on the day of his death for policing matters. Officers went to Mary Seacole House on the 30th March 2011, the NHS premises where he was held under the Mental Health Act, at the request of NHS staff because they could not control him, as well as concerns about threats to NHS staff and self-harm. The officers placed him under restraint and then took him with NHS staff to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for treatment and he was then taken to...

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Police: Back to work… 2019 here we go!

Written by RSS Poster CC Dave Thompson

I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and a Happy New Year. I enjoyed getting out to see some of you before Christmas and last night, New Year’s Eve. This festive period sees me turn the big 50. They say it’s the new forty and that caffeine products can help thicken the hair. I am drinking plenty of it so let’s see!


A few things before I talk about 2019…

First, thank you for the work on the performance plan. I am pleased to see reductions in outstanding logs and improved response times. This really matters and a real team effort is going into this. I am very pleased to see a reduction in firearms discharges too. The levels of positive outcomes on burglary and robbery is rising and there are some outstanding jobs in this area.

Our big challenge remains dropping the number of burglary and robbery crimes. Vehicles remain a huge part of this problem. There is terrific work underway with Operation Cantil but we all need to work harder on every bit of the process. Getting initial attendance and investigation right....

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Police: Diversity and fairness in the force

Written by RSS Poster CC Dave Thompson

In the last few weeks there has been a great deal of internal and external discussion on diversity in the force. The Birmingham Mail/Live article on promotions, Ali Layne Smith’s blog and the Diversity and Inclusion discussions at the Lead2Achieve events. I suspect there will be further external coverage on a recent input at Force Leadership Conference on the concept of “whiteness” where senior leaders heard from a leading academic about how ingrained certain norms are in our society. It was a challenging input designed to encourage senior leaders to reflect how we work and what we can do to make a fairer and more inclusive force.

Dave ThompsonWe are strengthening our diversity and inclusion work because West Midlands Police does not treat everyone fairly. We are not representative of the communities we face and underrepresented groups often have a different experience working in the force and in receiving our services. A more representative force creates legitimacy, more diversity of thought and ultimately a better police service.


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Police: Straight talking

Written by RSS Poster CC Dave Thompson

I want to use this blog to ensure you get a clear view from me on where the force is.

The last few weeks has seen a great deal going on nationally, and in force, and I want to help put this in context.

The financial position of policing nationally is coming to a critical juncture.

The National Audit Office (NAO) Report on Police Financial Sustainability 2018 largely says policing is showing the strain of austerity which is falling unevenly. As the graph shows, West Midlands Police has suffered disproportionately.

Funding reductions

The real criticism in the report is that the Home Office does not really understand the impact of budget reductions. Police and Crime Commissioners, unlike bodies like health service trusts, always have to set a balanced budget.

We balance, but are cutting services to fit in the envelope.

On the 25th October the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee produced its Policing for the Future report. It echoes much of the NAO report but is more strident in its criticism of a “hands off” approach by government, a funding problem and the need...

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Police: Brilliant team work during a summer of high demand

Written by RSS Poster CC Dave Thompson

Last week I came back to work after a period of leave. I left in a red hot summer and stepped back into an autumnal August. The heatwave certainly made us very busy and I am grateful for the brilliant team work we have seen across the force to help us deal with a very high period of demand.

Last weekend was difficult and sad. The tragic double murder in Solihull touched most of us in some respect, whether it was trying to help the family come to terms with their tragic loss, reassuring the community, colleagues in contact, the painstaking forensic investigation, the detective work to find the person responsible or the wide manhunt that as I write is still ongoing. The sad loss of two lives has such impact on family, communities and all of us who serve. I thank all of you and recognise the impact such events have.

Before I went on leave I did an interview with the BBC describing what I think is our challenge. As the service has got smaller more of our work is being done over the phone. In lots of cases that is...

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Police: A hot few weeks and a long blog

Written by RSS Poster CC Dave Thompson

Have you been enjoying the weather? I confess I have a mixed reaction. As Chief I am never really off duty and the great weather at a personal level is lovely but it heralds increased demand on us.


We have stepped up some of our contingency planning to meet the demand that is hitting the force and indeed police forces across the country. We have a tendency to consider the demand on us as exceptional and indeed on some days it is. I am afraid, since really 2017 onwards, I have come to regard this as the upper end of normal. In a recent media interview, I described the impact on police forces in the summer is becoming a little like the NHS winter bed crisis. We back up on demand.

A few simultaneous issues have been focusing the Executive team.

There is a rise in homicide both in numbers but also the complexity of the cases. This has meant we have had to prioritise some secondments to support them. This impacts on other areas of FCID who are of course picking up the extra investigations.

Call handling is very busy with a rise in demand...

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Police: Conversations, reviews and operational issues

Written by RSS Poster CC Dave Thompson

Since I leased out the blog to the rest of the team in May there is a fair bit to cover. I promise to be brief!!

Dave ThompsonWMP Conversations

Remember the People Deal was about what you can expect from WMP and what WMP expects from you. The blogs from the other Executive Team members reflected the objective setting that is underway for senior staff under the WMP Conversations work.

The Executive Team objectives have been set and these are cascading down to senior leaders. We will be rolling out conversations across senior teams this year and then expanding the work to all staff next year.


Police Staff Terms and Conditions Review

I have covered quite a lot on this in the messages you received last week.

As we work through the People Deal, we have to ensure pay and conditions are consistent and our current arrangements in relation to police staff pay, allowances and shifts aren’t. There is never a good time to do a review. We are working very hard with the trade unions to ensure the review is prompt and transparent. It will not...

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Latest CC Dave Thompson Stories

From stop and search to stop and talk and stop and think
A week of violence and tragedy
Sadness tempered with pride
The death of Kingsley Burrell
Back to work… 2019 here we go!

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