From time to time one of you says: “Do Force Executive know about this?”
We make a conscious effort not to live in the ‘ivory tower’ and get out and talk to you. We could always get better but please be assured that when it comes to the current challenge around demand on the force we are definitely all talking about it and working to tackle it.
In the last few weeks demand on the force has been huge. Our 999 calls have risen by 15 per cent from January to June in comparison to 2016.
We always knew summer would be a busy time that would put us under pressure but it has been significant with an increased level of security followed by a high volume of serious incidents. This is a national trend with a similar strain across most forces. The weekend of the 7- 9 July is the busiest I have seen in the seven years I have been here.
That has required us for a period, as some of you may have heard me say, to put “everyone on the tills”. NPUs committed to taking over P3 logs. We have also carried out some concerted days of action on arrests and outstanding calls to get on top of the demand picture. I want to say thank you for the effort we have seen day in and day out in the force and on the all-out days. There will be more days of action, with specific objectives against our priorities.
The big question is of course how we return to normality. You can’t stay on the tills forever.
It is our intention to plan to remove P3s from the NPU in mid-September (date to be confirmed). This will be carefully planned and make sure that:
ACC Beale and ACC Boycott will be working this through across the summer and will share our plans.
I know some of you are frustrated that the roles we set out for you in November are not meeting your expectations.
I do get the frustration.
As a force we are feeling the vacancies we have and People and Organisation Development are very busy recruiting. There are parts of our operating model we are looking at as part of our review work. The relationship between RADs, response and force support is one area we need to manage the incoming demand in a more sustainable way.
You may have recently seen the work we are doing on scene guarding and prisoner watches (constant and hospital) as areas we want to make changes on.
Our aim is to free NPUs to be more preventative and that’s critical.
Two big projects have delivered in the last few weeks:
Most visible is the new website which has moved from being a news site to a service portal which allows online enquiries and most excitingly the ability to report and track crime online. The website is in beta (test!) mode over the summer and we will be seeking public feedback on it to make it as effective as possible. Have a look!
Internally the biggest change has been the Next Generation Enabling Service Programme that has implemented an entirely new IT system to manage recruitment, budgets, ordering of goods and services. You may have already seen some changes on the ‘My Service’ portal but the changes behind the scenes are massive and will work more quickly for you and with reduced costs for the force.
Both are huge projects and a huge well done is deserved for all involved.
The big focus now is mobility. We are back on track with a series of new apps being developed for launch in the Sept – November period.
You can catch up on all these changes, some very exciting news about Taser and spit guards, the roll out of body worn cameras and much more in the WMP2020 Newsletter that comes out next week.
Thank you again for your great work to ensure that we are back in a better shape to meet our challenges as the summer ends. I hope you can all enjoy some time off during this period.