Christmas is a wonderful time of the year. An important time to celebrate the birth of Christ. A time to celebrate with family and friends.
It is also the time, of course, when officers and staff across the force give up time at home to protect the public. I never lose sight of the sacrifice you and your families make in this festive season and I thank you and your loved ones for this sacrifice.
The work of our diverse staff from other faiths who are willing to cover for those celebrating, is also never taken for granted.
Christmas can only be a peaceful time through the guardianship we provide.
The last few weeks, with the terrible terrorism attack in London, has reminded us all of the need to be vigilant at a time when so many people are out and about enjoying themselves in our towns and cities.
I know you have been doing this in our normal friendly style by engaging with the public we serve.
I’m also acutely aware that effort to keep the public safe is also a critical role for those who work in less visible roles. It takes all of us to prevent crime, protect the public and help those in need.
As we move towards 2020, I want to reflect on 2019.
This year we have seen a much improved position on our response to calls for service. A prompt response to calls, the new webchat facility and even the arrival of Bob-E our virtual assistant have all been achieved this year.
We have been prioritising key crimes of robbery and burglary and levels are falling, showing our good work is having an impact. We have also begun a substantial roll out of mobility devices and technology to make us work ever stronger.
We have also started the process to recruit substantial numbers of officers and operational police staff to build the force for the future. We’ve brought in more volunteers and cadets than ever before and I welcome them all to the #wmpfamily.
At the same time we have had some sobering moments, with vicious assaults on officers simply doing their duty, protecting the public. Your courage is never taken for granted.
I have seen numerous examples of compassion and support being shown for one another during difficult times, evidence that you are living our values and helping those in need.
Big technology changes are on the way in 2020 that will enhance the service we provide. We must embrace them.
However there are challenges – not least the scale of violence we face and meeting the public’s expectations.
I am optimistic that, with your hard work, we are turning the tide on crime and public satisfaction with our service will grow.
I’m also looking forward to the success of the Coventry City of Culture in 2021 and the challenge of policing the Commonwealth Games 2022 – both a showcase for the force and an opportunity to raise the profile of the region.
Every year as your Chief Constable I feel huge pride for the amazing work you do.
Have a wonderful Christmas and a happy 2020. It’s going to be an exciting year.