The latest news from the Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner – May 2019
Eleven new police officers will soon be hitting the streets of Warwickshire after passing out of their initial training phase.
The new officers are the latest tranche to complete their training as part of my commitment to boost policing numbers across the county. Across the summer months, further student officers will be completing their Initial Police Learning and Development programme, while transferees from other forces will also be joining, meaning that by the end of the year there will be 150 extra officers in Warwickshire.
This will see the force’s officer strength go from 800 at the start of the recruitment cycle to 950, which will represent one of the largest percentage increases anywhere in the country. I am confident that the public will start to see the real difference this will make and I will continue to do all I can to ensure our police force has the resources needed to keep our communities safe.
Each of the new constables have successfully completed a rigorous training including everything from meticulous classroom-based law and legislation learning to practical exercises which put their knowledge and skills to the test. They also have to undergo fitness tests and academic exams, first aid courses and challenging officer personal safety training to ensure they meet the high standards needed to police our county.
Along with the support of tutor constables, the student officers will now progress their skills by starting their shifts as part of patrol policing across the county and will soon be out on the streets as operational Warwickshire Police officers.
After a 10 week tutor patrol period they will progress to patrolling independently, with regular reviews to complete a total of two year probationary period.
I was delighted to be able to join Assistant Chief Constable Alex Franklin-Smith at Warwick School to see the newly-qualified officers pass out last week. The event is a very happy affair and also gives me the chance to meet the officers’ friends and family. I was pleased to be able to thank them for all they do to support their loved ones in what is a sometimes dangerous and always demanding job.
The new officers have been funded through the increases to the portion of Council Tax which pays for policing in 2017/18 and 2018/19. In addition to recruiting 150 police officers over the two year period, the additional funding will pay for extra Police Community Support Officers, Special Constables and police staff investigators to bolster operational policing requirements.
Further passing out ceremonies are scheduled for July, August and September and I look forward to bringing you news of these as more and more additional officers hit the county’s streets.
New PCC-commissioned services launched
In my March newsletter, I announced that our new general support services contract had been awarded to Victim Support, who are working as part the Integrated Victim Management Unit at Warwickshire Police to deliver tailored support to victims of crime. This is already receiving really positive feedback and, importantly, helping to boost the support given to our most vulnerable victims in Warwickshire.
This month, I can reveal the successful bidders for the remaining three commissioned services. Firstly, a joint bid by Barnardo’s and RoSA is now providing a new county-wide service to help victims of sexual abuse and violence (SAV) and child sexual exploitation (CSE).
Barnardo’s has been working in Warwickshire as part of the multi-agency Warwickshire CSE Team for a number of years and will be continuing to develop the successful ‘Something’s Not Right’ campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of CSE and promote access to help and advice.
RoSA, meanwhile, has been providing free and confidential support for anyone who has experienced the trauma of rape, sexual abuse or sexual violence in Warwickshire for the past 26 years. They work throughout the county supporting women, men, young people and children from age 5 onwards and support is also offered to family members, partners and carers.
Together, they will deliver a range of evidence-based, victim-led personalised support services and interventions, including face-to-face, telephone and online support, ensuring the service meets the current and emerging needs of victims.
The commissioned service also includes expanded provision of Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs) and Children and Young People’s Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ChISVAs) across the whole of Warwickshire. These are trained professionals who work with victims and survivors to provide impartial information about all of their options, including reporting to the police or accessing other services that they may require, such as counselling or advice on housing, social care or benefits.
New support services for victims of CSE, sexual abuse and violence in Warwickshire
Drugs and alcohol, meanwhile, remain a contributory factor in many types of crime and anti-social behaviour, so it is important that those who are struggling with substance misuse are given help and support through early intervention to enable them to have a sustained recovery. This in turn helps to reduce re-offending and enables those who may otherwise have embarked on a life of crime to have a more fulfilling and positive life.
National charity Change, Grow Live (CGL) has been contracted to deliver enhanced drug and alcohol support to those over the age of 18 who are in contact with the criminal justice system in Warwickshire. Co-located with the police Integrated Offender Management teams in Leamington and Nuneaton, CGL will also work with probation services and the courts to support people into drug treatment. Services will include assessment, care planning, outreach and assertive engagement to keep people committed to the treatment process. Find out more in the video below.
New services to deter substance misuse in Warwickshire: Change, Grow, Live
Meanwhile, Compass will base dedicated workers at the Justice Centres in Nuneaton and Leamington to provide services to young people already in the criminal justice system, as well as educational and outreach workers to raise young people’s awareness more generally of the consequences of substance misuse.
Boost for Warwickshire Youth Justice Service
There has been a real push in recent years to ensure that children and young people are diverted away from crime, so it’s really encouraging to see these latest performance figures in which Warwickshire is leading the way both regionally and nationally. It’s a credit to the hard work that has been put in by Youth Offending Teams across the county and all of the partners involved with the Warwickshire Youth Justice Service (YJS).
The YJS is a statutory partnership between Warwickshire County Council, Warwickshire Police, the National Probation Service and Health. The service works with children who have offended, or are at risk of offending, their parents and families, and the victims of the crimes committed, in order to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour and to reduce reoffending.
End of year performance figures for 2018/19 show that on three key performance indicators, Warwickshire is outperforming national and regional rates, as well as those of its most similar ‘family group’ of comparator areas across the country.
The number of first-time entrants into the Youth Justice system in Warwickshire has declined by 31.2 % in 2018/19 compared to the previous year, continuing a downward trend which had already seen figures reduced by 30.94% over the previous recording period.
In Warwickshire, a young person re-offends in just 27.3% of cases, compared with 36.1% across in the West Midlands region and the national rate of 39.9%. The frequency of re-offenses has also fallen by 44.3% which is a tremendous success compared with West Midlands reduction rate of 16.8%, the ‘family group’ reduction rate of 4.8% and the national rate which is 1.1%.
Overall, the number of young people from Warwickshire in custody remains extremely low, with just five custodial sentences imposed on four children during 2018/19. The Warwickshire custody rate per 1000 children aged under 17 years is 0.06%, compared with a West Midlands rate of 0.36%, ‘family group’ rate of 0.20% and a national rate of 0.31%.
The data comes off the back of a recent very positive inspection report, which gave an overall rating of ‘good’ for Warwickshire YJS and found several areas of outstanding practice.
Taken together, this shows that the approach being taken in Warwickshire is having real success. This is good news for all residents in Warwickshire, as the positive work of the YJS is helping to deliver a safer community for people of all ages.
Bike Safe launches in Warwickshire
Motorcycle riders in Warwickshire now have the opportunity to experience a professional police-observed ride, thanks to a new road safety scheme. BikeSafe is a national police-run motorcycle initiative which aims to improve riding and reduce the risk of motorcyclists being involved in a collision, as well as raising awareness of the importance of progressing on to accredited post-test training.
Workshops cost £50 and cover areas including: rider attitude, collision causation, cornering, positioning, overtaking, observation, braking, hazard perception and use of gears. Courses take place with Warwickshire Police motorcycle riders across the summer at Leek Wootton.
Sadly, statistics show that motorcycle riders are disproportionately likely to be killed or seriously injured in a collision on our roads, so I am pleased that BikeSafe is now available here in Warwickshire to help equip riders with the skills and experience they need to ride safely and reduce their vulnerability. It’s a great scheme and I would encourage all bikers to sign up for a course and then go on to take further training in the future.
Reducing the numbers of casualties on our roads is one of my main priorities for the year ahead. I hope that BikeSafe, together with other schemes I will be funding across a broad range of road users, will help to encourage people to modify their behaviour and reduce risk-taking, so that our roads can provide a safe and enjoyable experience for all.
To find out more and sign up for a course, visit www.bikesafe.co.uk and search for Warwickshire Police.
Picture Special: Force Standard unveiling
Warwickshire Police’s new force standard was unveiled in a special ceremony at Leek Wootton. The ceremonial flag will be used by the force on special civic occasions and is the first standard in the force’s 162 year history. It was presented at Leek Wootton in front of the myself, Chief Constable and some of the force’s new student police officers, who were proud to take part during their lunch break. Additional pictures by Sasha Taylor.
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