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 Yearâ€™s Eve. This festive period sees me turn the big 50. They say itâ€™s the new forty and that caffeine products can help thicken the hair. I am drinking plenty of it so letâ€™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. Effective prevention, good investigations and critically tight offender management. Good progress but more to do. I expect the DCC will provide a more detailed update in early January.
Secondly, the Kingsley Burrell case. The misconduct tribunal concluded just before Christmas resulting in two officers being exonerated and one dismissed. I have views on this case. It is my intention to read the misconduct hearing finding and then offer my observations on a case that has been with us almost the entire time I have been with West Midlands Police. I will do this in the next few weeks as it deserves a considered response.
Thirdly, there were a series of important murder convictions in the weeks before Christmas. None more so than that of Tafarwa Beckford for the murder of Derek Junior Myers in 2015. Beckford is a threat to the safety of the public and this conviction remains one of the most important in our recent history. A very impressive investigation.
Now for 2019…
As your maths will tell you this will be the concluding fiscal year of WMP 2020! A number of things are very important to us in this period.
Performance: I shall be pushing us very hard in 2019 to deliver for the public. The 80-point plan is only the start. Put simply I want to see burglary, robbery and vehicle thefts fall and for us to catch more offenders to achieve this. We then need to stay on top of this. I want a much harder punch delivered on organised crime, particularly groups behind our violence and gun and knife crimes. I want to keep going on violence prevention, including domestic abuse so we are a less violent region. I want to improve the satisfaction the public have with our service this year. I want us to stay on top of the job queues. We are improving and we can do even better despite the challenges.
Change: In 2019 there will be some big changes. In February we move to a new PPU operating model. Demand is growing and we need to look how we can work more effectively to cope as people are working flat out. When I was in the PPU at Perry Barr the other week I got a fair challenge on not giving enough credit to their work. Can I assure you, just because not all the jobs are high profile does not mean you do not get credit. Indeed the absence of high profile cases is normally a good sign.
We quickly follow this up with a new Duty Management System to replace GRS. I am aware there are lots of worries over this and we must get it right but it is a much better system. You will also see the new Data Driven Insights Enterprise Search rolling out with other analytical tools. It is very good! Mobile ID (fingerprint scanners are also on their way) and then a replacement for Oasis with the new Control Works system. Later in the year Connect will replace Case, Custody, Crime and Intelligence. This is a big tech year.
A US police chief once said to me: â€œThe Police hate change and the status quoâ€. Much as you may be cheesed off with the crimes or ICIS system we will all have to cope with the niggles of new technology next year. It will be challenging and it is why we need to fix our gaze on performance improvement now as I guarantee some bumps in the road on these changes! They are huge.
It is one of the big reasons why we held the Lead2Achieve event for operational leaders. There are 2,000 leaders across WMP and why we got everyone together. I wanted people to think hard about the purpose of their teams: â€œWhat is my team here to achieve? Do they know this? Does the boss agree? How do I remind people of this and get them to play a part?â€ If you donâ€™t set purpose and direction as a leader you are just managing people who do stuff.
These days weâ€™re encouraging leaders to get ready for the changes (despite huge training for you all your leaders will need to be prepared) and involve you in improvement. One of the areas we started off was a programme called 100 Little Things. Hopefully your boss has started talking to you about it? We will be doing some surveys soon to see how this is going.
One thing I enjoyed about the day was the Rumour Board we put up. People could ask about any rumour they have heard in the force. The DCC and I could answer about 99%! Happy to answer any you may want to ask on this blog.
Finally, 2019 is going to be busy and exciting. Letâ€™s do it!