I’ve never been keen on the word Ambition, always associating it with striving to succeed at all costs. I don’t consider myself as particularly ambitious, which I know is a little odd as a deputy chief constable. I’ve never had my career mapped out and always loved the job I’m in at the time, rarely looking beyond wanting to do my best right here and now. I remember being told I needed a career plan – I avoided that task so long I got there despite one. However, over the years I’ve grown to know it’s not good for me to be too comfortable. I’m at my best when I’m stretched, challenged to achieve and out of my comfort zone.
Part of my job in WMP is to write our Ambition Plan. I know our organisation and our people are at their best when stretched, challenged and not too comfortable, so our plan is unashamedly ambitious. We may not achieve it all but we’ll give it our best shot. As this is my second year of planning here, I’ve learnt a lot from what worked well last time. I heard you liked the plan but didn’t always know how you contributed to it, what exactly you were responsible for and what other teams and departments were meant to achieve.
Deputy Chief Constable Louisa Rolfe
This year we have taken a different approach. Senior leaders across the organisation have been much more involved. As an Executive Team we spent a day back in the autumn working out what we really needed to achieve this year and next – what was most important to us and our communities and our contribution to delivery of the PCC’s Police and Crime Plan. We took these ideas to the Force Leadership Conference, attended by all department heads and NPU commanders. We considered a detailed analysis of the challenges, threats and opportunities we face for 2018-2020 and how we build upon our achievements to-date. We have also started to look beyond 2020, using Accenture’s skills and expertise and thinking about the opportunities, challenges and threats for policing to 2025.
While an increase in Council Tax precept means our funding position is not quite as bad as anticipated, we must use our financial reserves to sustain services. We will continue to recruit new officers and staff, striving to better reflect our diverse communities.
After substantial reorganisation in 2016 and new, technology aided ways of working through 2017, we faced a challenging year of rising crime and unprecedented demand with the terror attacks and increases throughout the UK in violent crime, robbery, burglary and vehicle crime.
In 2018 we will strive to reduce crime, bring more offenders to justice and refocus our efforts around intervention and prevention. We are determined we will increase the influence and voice of our staff in leading and shaping the force and we will seek more feedback about our services from victims and communities.
With constrained resources it is more important than ever that we are clear about our priorities and what we expect of our staff. We have therefore ensured that everything within the plan is also within the personal objectives of the Executive Team. We have published our objectives on the new WMP Conversations Portal so you can see who is responsible for what. We will be working with our teams to ensure everyone is clear about their contribution. We have also pledged to each write a blog to introduce our objectives. Mine is the first and the chief will complete the series.
So, what does this mean for me? I’ve picked just a couple of my personal objectives to describe here but you can see them all on WMP Conversations.
I’ll be focusing on making sure our Force Tasking processes are driving the right activities to reduce crime and bring offenders to justice. This is a daily focus for me so you may see me around the force asking about our efforts to prevent crime, arrest offenders and deliver effective interventions. We’ve done a lot already to ensure we are more resilient, better at identifying our most vulnerable callers and working through any backlog of incidents. We are now starting to see some green shoots with burglary reducing but we’ve got more to do to get behind the causes of vehicle crime and put the full weight of the force behind our efforts to tackle the crime hurting our communities the most. I’m not a fan of targets, as you’ll have seen in the news this week targets can have perverse outcomes, but I am determined we will get better at tasking and coordinating all of our resources and then checking what effect we’ve achieved. I will be intrusive about our response to priorities set at Force Tasking. What, in practice, actually happens? I’ve seen too many instances of high visibility patrols with no outcome. The old adage that 20 per cent of offenders commit 80 per cent of crime still holds true so relentless targeting of perpetrators, effective offender management and intervention need to feature in all of our missions. I will be ensuring that leaders are clear about what is expected of staff and that good outcomes are celebrated.
I’ll also be striving to ensure our change programme is agile, responsive to the issues most affecting staff and ambitious in equipping our people with technology and innovation quickly and cost effectively. With budget pressures here to stay we’ve got to continuously improve our efficiency and innovation to deliver more for less. I’m determined you, our staff, will have more say in what you need to do your job well. With complex projects it is all too easy to become embroiled in the challenge of delivery and lose sight of what matters most to our people and the communities we serve. Occasionally we’ve focused upon achieving perfection rather than solutions that are ‘good enough’. We need to be ambitious in trying more that’s just ‘good enough’, learning and moving on quickly. I’ll be checking at every opportunity that we are delivering new kit like Taser, mobile ID and body worn video as quickly as possible and to the right people who need it most. Our people have some brilliant, creative ideas about how we use technology in policing but we’ve got to prioritise the things that will have the greatest impact on the ground.
Additionally, all of us in the Executive Team have an objective that reflects the importance we place upon improving fairness and diversity throughout the organisation. We know we still have a lot to do to be more representative of our communities. This year you’ll see an increased focus upon ensuring your voice is heard in our decision-making, with more opportunities for you to comment upon the issues affecting you at work. The WMP Conversations work will start with published PDR objectives for the Executive Team and a commitment to 360 degree feedback for all senior leaders as we think you should have the opportunity to provide feedback about the leadership you receive.
While I know I’ve got a busy and challenging year ahead, I feel tremendously privileged to work here and I’ll be approaching my objectives with enthusiasm. I’ll look forward to your feedback when I see you.