I hope everyone managed a break over the summer. I went on leave at the end of August in the sun and returned to a very autumnal September.
I am sure, like many of you, the break was needed. It was a busy summer and you only feel it when you stop. It was perhaps the last holiday with my children who have now offered a big vote of no confidence in future holidays with my wife and I. As you can imagine we still can’t take the smile off our faces.
You all deserve a big thank you for your hard work during the summer. Operationally, I have never seen a summer like it. A huge security effort, a big spike in demand and then a rush of serious crime. This really tested our force, as it did across policing, but you should all be proud of your great work.
We swapped out the finance and shared services centres and put in the most modern technology and launched our cutting edge website which is now taking online reports. We also dropped in the new stop search app. Well done.
Now the holidays are over we have a great deal to do.
The period of extraordinary demand has ended. It’s time to get back in shape with our mission of “Preventing Crime, Protecting the Public and Helping those in need”. It means acting according to our values, the People Deal and delivering the plans we set out.
We have learned a great deal from the summer and we now need to complete this year by strengthening the service we deliver.
Soon I begin my Roadshows (you can book a slot here) which gives me a great opportunity to set out my outlook for the next year and speak with you, but the steer for the autumn is:
Our mission preventing crime:
NPUs are here to lead the fight on crime reduction. Their mission is to drive down volume crime and demand by the intensive management of hotspots, offenders and crime prevention. Drawing in partners and the public through active citizen work so they play a part in making areas safe.
This is about innovation. It is about getting a real grip and taking the fight to the criminal’s door. Mission Support and Intelligence ensure we understand the problem and apply the resources to support the local mission. Investigations are here to catch the bad people. Operations provide support to meet the NPU mission.
Our mission protecting the public:
The more serious problems of gun and knife crime are an important focus. We keep a relentless grip on the problem but now we need some longer term thinking as the phenomena has changed. A more strategic approach needs to follow that keeps a long term focus on why people are violent as well as the supply of firearms.
We must keep active and vigilant against threats to our national security. Eyes and ears peeled with careful prevent, pursue, protect and prepare planning.
We need to improve our response to Domestic Abuse. It was the area of concern in the crime recording inspection and we need to enhance our assessment of risk and keep bringing offenders to justice.
We’ve implemented Use of Force recording, TASER and spit guards so we can protect and be accountable.
Our mission helping those in need:
Call handling is improving and we need to keep this going and build on the delivery of online services and voice recognition technology.
We need to continue the improvement we are seeing on response times and resolve the management of grading.
We’ll start looking at customer satisfaction with our changing service so we know those in need get the right help.
We’ll keep mobile tools and body cameras coming as they help us deal better with vulnerability.
Our own people have needs. We shall build on the great work on the People Deal by making sure we are starting to be clearer what we expect of you, as well as what you expect of us.
Filling vacant roles quickly. We are using our new POD and Occupational Health functions to get people back to work or help them leave.
Recognise the need for fairness and diversity in the force and ensure promotion and selection. We started with good leadership programmes and performance management systems.
All these pieces are in place but we now need to show pace and determination to get these things in place and a style of leadership.
I have three reflections:
After lots of urgent tasking over the summer I want us to task less. Direct and coordinate more.
I want to see leaders setting high expectations. It’s tough and the summer felt like coping at times. That’s not the ambition and it’s not the summer now.
Set out the mission you want other leaders and teams to deliver. What is the outcome you want to achieve, not just the tasks to be done. A clear mission comes with accountability and also have freedom to look at how to go about it. Coach, support and challenge those who lead our mission to get the best plan and execution.
I am looking at the next few months with real ambition and I am particularly interested to see how NPUs push forward leading our prevention and public involvement mission and the People Deal delivery by POD.
Finally I am spending a great deal of time out of force in my national role trying to make a stronger case to government for police funding. I feel there is a genuine need to make a case for policing which I am doing passionately.
It’s important to remember we have a budget of about £550m, 10,000 people and a very innovative change programme that can, and will, deliver more.