I start this week’s blog with a very heavy heart. I was devastated that on the 26th June, Special Constable Resham Singh Nahal died at his home. Resham was at home after suffering life changing injuries from an RTC when on duty last year. I spoke to Resham on the Monday on the week of his death and we discussed how he could continue as a special and how he was recovering. He was an honourable officer and a man of great faith. A post mortem will determine if his death relates to his injury but the force will honour his service when his funeral can take place.
Resham, on the left, at Pride 2017
As you probably saw I had a short bathe in one of Birmingham’s canals last week. It was a neither heroic or dignified and I am grateful to PCSOs and officers from Ladywood NHT who carried out the rescue. It was a side story in three terrific arrest by the team.
These great arrests and the difference we make in communities are the reasons why I am so proud of what we do. It is also important to remember lots of what we do to make the public safe is not high profile, like our street policing. Last week we saw the amazing efforts of our Regional Organised Crime Unit under Operation Venetic. Supported by the four regional forces, the encryption of the EncroChat system was broken allowing the arrest of 43 people and the seizure of 200kg of drugs and £7 million of cash. Well done!
Policing requires officers to act confidently and with courage and I am conscious recent events are placing policing under great scrutiny. Everyone recognises our actions could be filmed and our actions judged. There have been some very high profile cases nationally. There is a real challenge here for policing as sometimes a short clip does not give the full picture. The IOPC recently determined a high profile video from Sandwell did not demonstrate officers had acted inappropriately. Sadly this story received less coverage that did original video.
I want you to feel confident as you go about policing that you have my backing.
It is entirely compatible that you are supported to do a tough job, that we recognise we must be transparent and accountable and that we question why we are using more force with black people. This is about recognising we have a job to do but our legitimacy is always under scrutiny. So can I make a few things clear:
My job is to look at policy and practice. If you are in an operational role I hope you can try and reflect more on are we getting these things right? not just from our perspective but particularly from the optics of those we serve, particularly our young people.
Your ideas and views on how we do this will be critical.