Protecting the public ranges from terrorism and organised crime to the approaches we take to managing everyday calls. We have made good steps forward but more work is needed.
Chief Constable Dave Thompson on high visible patrols for Operation Temperer after the Prime Minister raised the national security state to Critical.
PCs Adam Davenport and Lee Roden
The events of summer 2017 showed how we can step up at times of crisis and a new reality of the terrorism threat. The events following Manchester really tested us and we effectively protected the public. The firearms build the force has gone through has seen us create a bigger and more skilled resource. The work of the CTU has also made us proud in intercepting many serious threats. However the terrorism threat has seen a sustained uplift.
The next few years will see us needing to strengthen our efforts. Starting with Prevent we must all ensure we use our eyes and ears to be on the lookout for those who may pose a threat or are vulnerable to radicalisation. The fact the attackers of the summer were not principle subjects of operations means our ability to spot and intervene with partners is more important than ever. It’s everyone’s job. This attention to intelligence in our neighbourhoods is the fuel of the pursue work CTU carry out with skill. We will see more work on protection and this specifically applies to policing with a raised threat level. We will continue building firearms capability in 2018 as well as extending Taser and reviewing building security. It’s vital you stay vigilant. Our preparation plans will see us extending emergency planning work and exercises during 2018.
These capabilities will be critical for the preparation for Coventry 2021 but particularly Birmingham 2022. These events are a fantastic opportunity for our region. Our capability to operate and run a secure games in that year now becomes a critical part of the force’s role. Becoming games ready is now a focus of our change programme and we will need to focus on this critical milestone not now of 2020 but 2022. We will be ensuring skills, capabilities, technology and facilities match the scale of this event and the regions ambition. We will rival the preparation of any athlete. In the next few weeks staff will visit the 2018 games in Australia to begin the planning. The starting pistol for our race to be ready has been fired.
Our work on organised crime has been strengthened in the last two years with the colocation of West Midlands Police organised crime capabilities within the Regional Organised Crime Unit with neighbouring forces. Our challenge now is to ensure we are effective in multi-agency interventions to disrupt and divert people from organised crime and gangs. The Police and Crime Commissioner’s work to set out a new approach with the community on Gangs and Violence and Drugs are approaches I support.
Our values of service and friendship were always about protecting those in need and especially the vulnerable. We have made good steps in the last few years on how we manage missing people with the new Locate Teams offering a better approach. We have stayed focused upon hate crime and taken on a new priorities on human trafficking and modern slavery. I am very proud of the great work you all do on child and adult protection, domestic abuse, sexual offences, female genital mutilation, honour based violence, modern slavery and trafficking and online child abuse but we are still challenged to keep our head above demand, particularly in Public Protection (PPU). The review of PPU is keeping the real strengths of the teams we have but now looking hard at how we assess and triage interventions so we offer the right protection to the right people. We simply cannot solve the demands by putting more people into these roles as we just do not have the resources. There is however space to make better judgements. Too often we are trying to protect everyone with in reality limited activity. That has to change and we need to move to better risk management.
We have to use our technology and professional judgement to get better at devoting effort to the cases where protection is most needed not a blanket approach that we simply cannot manage.
How do you feel we can get the right balance of protecting the most vulnerable? How can we reduce unnecessary demands that offer little actual protection to those in need?
Again I want to hear your voice in this. How can you and your team reduce demand in your corner of WMP? At January’s leadership conference, our senior leaders shared their plans for reducing offending, managing our calls for service and offering a better service.
To ensure you have your say, all leaders across the organisation will be sent a special edition Team Talk. The idea is that all teams have seven days to discuss this topic as a team. Your manager is responsible for submitting your thoughts onto a dedicated site where they will be reviewed and the best suggestions implemented.