My September challenge is to try and ensure in exceptional times West Midlands Police does not lose a year in making progress on our vision of preventing crime, protecting the public and helping those in need through the “This work matters” strategy.
Some of you may admire my optimism given the challenges we are dealing with so let us start there!
The need to dial up our work on COVID restrictions is now very pressing given the global and local upturn in infections. This time of course there is no lockdown and we are very busy with normal demand. The good news is the multi-agency team in each local area is on a better footing. We have a much better picture on where infection risk is highest, though the quality of this is reliant on testing information.
We have been very successful under Operation Reliant on dealing with large gatherings. We are now trying to focus on gatherings of six and facemasks in key areas like public transport. When you are out and about please challenge and use the 4E’s (Engage, Explain, Encourage, Enforce). If you need to enforce please do so. Keep the app updated.
What is happening outside the building matters inside too.
We are working very hard on COVID secure environments. You must take personal responsibility for social distancing at work and follow PPE and handwashing guidance. We are a mission critical service and we cannot afford to fall down through illness. Please self-isolate and arrange testing if you have symptoms. We will be reviewing our gradual return to work plans in line with government advice. At the moment this is unchanged.
I do know everyone can point to contradictions in the rules. To the public, we are either over or under enforcing. It is very tough but we need to concentrate on the job in hand as we always have.
In addition key challenges we are juggling are:
These pressures are requiring deft management by the Chief Officers and senior leaders. However our job is also to look forward and there are a number of things we must keep at so we come out of this stronger:
There is more but you will get my point.
Managing the challenges we face now but ensuring we are thinking and planning for what is next is a tough balance. It is made harder by the inability to say when COVID ends. I absolutely know you can feel pulled from pillar to post but time and again you deliver. In life and in work we need to look forward to what will be exciting times.
Keep up the amazing work.
Finally I want to say a big thank you to ACC Chris Johnson who retires on the 25th September. He has been an outstanding officer. A kind man people admire and respect. He has been inspirational in the way he has managed his diagnosis with MND. We will be staying in touch with Chris as he intends to volunteer his help as he leaves but I want to offer a huge thank you to Chris. He is one of the best of us.