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 the community. This is very much the case with the Sikh Police Association.
This month saw the PPU change to the new operating arrangements. A very big thank you to everyone who has worked on this change and of course those who are now in new roles. It is still early days but the changes give us a much better opportunity to prioritise and give the right response to a workload that has grown spectacularly over recent years. There has been a promising start.
This week I went to see the training for the new TASER in practice at Digbeth. I was very impressed by the quality of the training and the really professional approach by officers. The public can be confident the new system will be used professionally.
You will be well aware that the Federation would like me to agree to an extension of the TASER training. I think it is worth setting out my position:
TASER is not PPE. Not here in the West Midlands or any other force. It is deployed to mitigate threat to the public and police. As a result, just like firearms, we make an informed assessment on the numbers we need around threat and risk.
Real pride comes from delivering for the public and there has been some good news. I am particularly pleased to see big reductions in residential burglary since Christmas.
We are also seeing good call handling times and response times. This is good news but we need to push on. Robbery and particularly carjacking are deeply concerning.
The tragic deaths of two 16 year olds in separate knife attacks in a week are a great concern and my thoughts are with their families. Knives devastate families and the force has a significant plan to find the perpetrators. As DCC Louisa Rolfe said we will leave no stone unturned to find those responsible and bring them to justice.