As Commissioner I will ensure our police are properly equipped, trained and motivated with the latest tools and technology to make our policing more effective. This will help to reduce the time officers spend in police stations and more time out in the communities. Equally we need to invest in the health and well-being of officers and staff so they feel valued and respected, and are motivated and able to protect local communities.
Getting the greatest impact for every pound spent is crucial and Warwickshire taxpayers deserve to know their money is being well spent. The pressure to deliver policing as efficiently and effectively as possible remains, alongside the need to adapt and evolve to meet the needs of our communities and the changing nature of crime. I will ensure that Warwickshire Police is ahead of the game in responding to these changes, while also recognising the public’s desire to see locally-focused officers on the beat in communities across Warwickshire, enabling people to feel safer and more secure.
Having a police service where officers and staff are properly equipped, trained and motivated with the latest tools and technology will not only make policing more efficient but will also improve the service they can give to the public. While investment in technology in the past has not kept pace with developments, I have been determined to reverse this trend. Over the last twelve months I have made a number of significant decisions on investment, which in the long term will result in Warwickshire Police being transformed into a modernised force.
— Warwickshire PCC Philip Seccombe
My approach will be to:-
- Work with my counterpart in West Mercia, John Campion, to provide governance and oversight of all the modernisation and transformation programmes taking place across the Alliance.
- Fund over my term of office a significant programme of technology modernisation. This will include a roll out of mobile devices for frontline officers, enabling them to easily and quickly access and process the information they require without having to return to a police station, increasing the time they can be visible within communities.
- Scrutinise the police budget to ensure it is managed effectively and efficiently to enable officer, specials and PCSO numbers to be increased.
- In partnership with the Chief Constable, invest to save, so the force can be more adaptable and make best use of its resources.
- Support the Chief Constable to ensure our police are properly equipped, trained and motivated with the latest tools and technology to make policing more
- Support the Chief Constable to increase data quality in particular around compliance with national incident and crime recording standards.
- Ensure the force is focused on solving crimes and providing positive outcomes for victims.
- Support the internal Alliance Health and Wellbeing agenda for officers and staff, recognising the direct link between a fit and healthy workforce and achieving high levels of service for the public.
- Ensure the public can contact Warwickshire Police easily when they need to and, when they do, that they can be confident that they will receive a good
service in a reasonable time.
- Scrutinise the estate strategy to ensure that we spend less on buildings overall, while ensuring that those we do hold or make use of are cost-effective
- Give credence to the Home Office Best Use of Stop and Search scheme assessment of the force.
- Support the Chief Constable in ensuring the force is more reflective of the communities it serves and understands and responds to the different needs of
- Promote the benefits of the Special Constabulary ensuring people with a broad mix of skills and backgrounds are encouraged to offer their time, with a view to increasing the impact and effectiveness these roles have in supporting regular officers.
- Support the Warwickshire Police Cadet, Citizens’ Academy and Police Support Volunteers schemes.
- Support the Chief Constable to review the current processes and performance of firearms and explosives licensing and identify improved ways of
- Review Operation Devonport and work with the Chief Constable to look at how in the long term funding can be mainstreamed into regular police budgets.
- Oversee the Independent Custody Visitor scheme, whose role it is to visit police cells to check on the welfare of people held in custody.
- Give credence to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) inspection findings.
- Scrutinise the performance of the force to ensure that complaints to the police are recorded and responded to within nationally-determined timescales.
As a result of this plan I aim to:-
- See increased levels of public confidence in Warwickshire Police, as measured by the Office of National Statistics Crime Survey for England and Wales, my own annual survey and the force quarterly performance reports.
- Equip and train officers with appropriate modern technology to enable mobile working, resulting in them spending more time in the community and in turn increasing police visibility and efficiency.
- Increase police officer, special constable and PCSO numbers.
- Record incidents and crimes accurately and appropriately according to national standards.
- Improve outcome rates for reported crimes.
- Have strong and healthy workforce with reduced officer and staff sickness levels.
- Have an efficient and effective Special Constabulary which can evidence its added value and benefits to Warwickshire residents.
- Reduce the numbers of abandoned calls to the 101 service and shorten waiting times for calls to be answered, with the primary focus being delivering the right service at the right time.
- Have improved and viable alternatives to 101.
- Have strong estate management which maximises opportunities for co-location with partners and reduces the number of vacant and inefficient buildings.
- Provide the community with an opportunity to engage and support the force to add value.
- Have a workforce whose composition is reflective of the demographic makeup of Warwickshire.
- Use Stop and Search in accordance with national best practice and maintain compliance with the Home Office ‘Best Use’ scheme.
- Reduce the number of temporary firearms licences being issued and for applications and renewals of licences and certificates to be processed in the timescales recommended within the national guidelines.
- Align the additional resources provided by Operation Devonport with the new county policing model and agree a long-term decision on funding with the Chief Constable.
- Maintain an effective Independent Custody Visitor scheme which provides reassurance that those detained in custody are treated fairly.
- Ensure Warwickshire Police is rated at a minimum as a ‘good’ force in Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary PEEL Legitimacy inspections, and can sustain or improve this rating in future.
- See complaints recorded appropriately and responded to within nationally determined timescales.
Key recent achievements:-
Investment in Mobile Technology
Officers and police staff must have the right technology and training in place to do their jobs efficiently and effectively and over the past year an investment of £4.030m capital in mobile technology has begun being rolled out across the alliance policing area.
This investment has seen frontline police across Warwickshire equipped with personal-issue smartphones and laptop computers, giving them access to force IT systems while on the move, allowing fast access to intelligence, the ability to record crime and enabling a quicker response to incidents. In turn, this enables them to deliver a better service to the public and be more visible in local communities.
A successful pilot in Rugby of this equipment demonstrated that, as a minimum, officers spent an additional hour out on patrol during an eight-hour shift because the new equipment avoided the need for them to return to the police station to access force systems. The use of wi-fi hotspots and mobile data has also meant that officers can work more widely in their local communities.
Modernising the workspace
Police IT technology has not kept pace with the developments most of us now take for granted in our personal lives. To rectify this I agreed the rollout of three key new IT programmes for the Alliance – Athena, SAAB Safe and ICT Workspace Modernisation.
The Athena database was one of main focuses across the past year and went live towards the end of 2017. It strengthens the force’s use of intelligence and information across multiple business processes, helping to reduce inefficiency and giving staff ready access to the right information at the right time.
The SAAB Safe system, meanwhile, provides a new command and control system with a strong customer relationship management function. This will go live as part of the creation of a brand new control centre at Stuart Ross House in Warwick.
ICT Workspace Modernisation is a key enabler to future transformation and work is underway to upgrade force systems and introduce new technologies where they are needed now, including an upgraded telephony network.
All three programmes will have the potential to transform the way the force will work going forward allowing for a stronger focus on meeting the public’s needs.
Introduction of Body Worn Video
I have jointly approved with my West Mercia counterpart the introduction of body worn video equipment for frontline police officers, at an initial purchase cost of £1 million across the alliance.
Body worn cameras will help officers to achieve better outcomes and capture important evidence to bring cases to court. Speaking to officers, this is something that they welcome, particularly as it has been evidenced to help reduce assaults against the police. Experience has shown that people modify their behaviour when on camera, often becoming less aggressive as they know video evidence can be used in court.
The greater openness and transparency afforded by the cameras will be very beneficial. For example, it will help to reduce the numbers of malicious complaint allegations being made against the police, while at the same time allowing the thorough investigation of legitimate complaints to be carried out in a much more efficient and timely way.
The investment in body worn video has come at the same time as a decision by the Chief Constable, following a strategic assessment of the risks and threats to our communities, to increase the number of Taser trained officers in the county. Taser-equipped police, along with specialist firearms officers, were among the first to receive the new body worn video equipment, with the remainder of front-line operational officers receiving their equipment by the end of 2017.
Developing a new Warwickshire Operational Communications Centre (OCC)
Over the last year work to refurbish and refit a facility in Warwick to create a new Warwickshire OCC has begun and is progressing well.
When completed, Stuart Ross House will replace the current OCC at the force’s former Leek Wootton headquarters, complete with state-of-the-art technology to assist call handlers as they take emergency and non-emergency calls from the public. This will help ensure that when people contact Warwickshire Police, they are dealt with efficiently and effectively, with the most appropriate resources being deployed to meet their call for assistance.
When it opens, the new OCC will mark another significant step forward in meeting the pledge I made in my Police and Crime Plan to deliver a modernised and efficient police force. The officers and staff based at Stuart Ross House will enjoy the very best of facilities and equipment to be able to ensure that when people contact Warwickshire Police, they are dealt with efficiently and effectively, with the most appropriate resources used to meet their call for assistance.
Improving Firearms Licensing processes
From correspondence received by his office and in talking to people in the community, I was made aware of delays around the issuing of firearms licences across the county and also nationally.
To understand the issues further I visited the Firearms Licencing Unit, based in Malvern, and also held a constructive meeting with a Senior Firearms Officer from the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) and the Assistant Chief Constable (Local Policing). It was agreed with the force that a review would be undertaken and a recovery plan be developed to reduce the backlog of outstanding applications and improve the time taken to process licences.
Over the year performance of the unit has steadily improved and I have received positive feedback from licence holders, but I am continuing to monitor progress on a monthly basis.
Recognising the importance of the Health and Well-being of the workforce
Along with the Chief Constable, I recognise that it is the officers and staff of Warwickshire Police and the wider alliance who deliver the vision of
protecting people from harm. When officers and staff are well and satisfied with their work, it will have a positive benefit for the communities they serve.
I am reassured that the force continues to undertake significant activity to improve the well-being of the workforce and a Talent Management Strategy has now been implemented. The second Health and Well-being survey findings showed that in some areas this is having a positive impact. However, concerns remain about force sickness levels and the I am continuing to monitor closely workforce attendance rates.