A week is a long time in politics but it can be a lifetime in policing. There is a lot going on at the moment so I wanted to recap on a few things.
HMICFRS PEEL inspection of the force 2018
This was released at the start of the month and rated the force as good overall. The only two areas that have detracted from this were a backlog in vetting and our management of vulnerability in calls. While there are areas to improve here and some very good work going on, our challenge is pretty clear. Staff are having to manage extremely high levels of demand that we do not have the resources to send to. We are being marked on our ability to juggle very high risk and demand.
As an example the report showed WMP call levels. WMP is about 4.9% of policing spend but we are 7.2% of 999 calls and 6% of 101 and that’s often how most aspects of demand reflect.
We generally account for more of our national share of policing than we receive in funding. I think it is to the credit of everyone that our call handling performance is so very good at the moment. 999s are answered on average in 7 seconds and 101 in 3 minutes. Online is starting to decrease the number of 101 calls which is really helping – so please carry on encouraging this. Our open incident queue is well controlled at present. Nevertheless our challenge is huge.
For this reason I was very glad to see HMICFRS were explicit this time about the serious stretch in policing. I am more confident than ever that this stretch is understood, but not always the impact other parts of government are having on the police.
I have been doing a series of walkouts with Birmingham’s chief executive to look at challenges on the ground in both NPUs and how we can work better together. Last week we went to Stockland Green to see the impact of the private rented sector and the supported accommodation phenomena that means many properties are converted, outside the regulation framework of local government, to create supported living for vulnerable people. Frankly in many cases the support is non-existent and there is no one to inspect or regulate this…Well, that’s not quite true because as I am sure you are aware, police and local authorities are drawn into this chaos! Better policy and planning could relieve some of this pressure. We are talking to partners to jointly address this challenge.
There have been some very serious violent incidents in the last few weeks. I want to pay credit to your response and the great investigation and disruption work that is underway. We are managing a series of tensions and conflicts across the force that are driving this. The conflict between gangs in the drugs market is a huge part and the overt and covert work to disrupt this menace is vital. Thank you to everyone working on this problem.
Superintendent Phil Dolby is working with the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office to develop the Operation Guardian response and use the extra money we have been given as a force (just over £7.6m). We will offer more information on how this will be spent in the next few weeks. This money will pay for additional operational activity and prevention, in collaboration with partners and the community.
My plan is to show you where the extra police officers and staff we are recruiting using this money are going to be deployed – that’s on top of the officers coming as a result of the increase in funding we secured this year through our efficiencies and the precept rise. I will also give information on other activity this additional funding will support.
As far as Op Guardian is concerned, WMP will be very focused on serious violence involving under 25 year old victims and offenders, robberies and overall knife crime.
I am very pleased to recruit two new ACCs. Jayne Meir is well known in the force and Vanessa Jardine will bring a fresh perspective from another force.
The recruitment at that rank is a little odd! Once a year we have the strategic command course that those leaders graduate from so recruitment is very much a pre summer event across the service. You may have spotted two recruits but one gap in the top team. I am phasing the recruitment across demands I am aware of this year which I shall update you on as they emerge but we are not funding an extra ACC.
Finally Ramadan is upon us and my best wishes go to our Muslim staff who are fasting at this special time of the year. The warmer weather makes this very demanding. I am looking forward to fasting on the 31st May as part of the charity fast being organised by the Association of Muslim Police and the Black and Asian Police Association.
Thank you all so much for your hard work at this very busy time.