This week is my first back in 2018 as I took the week off after New Year.
Can I thank all the staff who worked over Operation Silent Night. As a smaller force we need to draw on roles across the force to deal with peaks in demand. I am aware some of you were in unusual duties. I got the chance to speak to a number of you on New Year’s Eve and we were embracing the one team effort. The Christmas period was well managed in terms of demand, so thank you.
I am afraid Christmas and New Year saw some nasty assaults on officers, which can never be regarded as acceptable. As of this week I shall be submitting an impact statement as part of any prosecution file where one of our officers or staff is assaulted. This has had a good impact in West Yorkshire where the idea originated.
We have been working closely with CPS in our region to get it right and will be making sure for each prosecution of an assault on one of our officers or staff, that the court understands the impact this has on us, our families, our workplace and the policing of the West Midlands.
If I have three New Year’s resolutions for us it’s to take more risk, be agile and be innovative. (Clearly as always my personal ones are to lose weight and be fitter – same as every year!).
2017 was a frustrating year with high demand and issues after our big change at the back of 2016.
As some of our changes are bigger things are taking more planning but it feels that some things seem to take too long and we are settling on a pace that is too slow. We are, in my view, still taking on activity where there is no real policing risk, ‘just in case’, and as a consequence under delivering on some cases that need more.
Just a reminder that even if the Police and Crime Commissioner has a full precept rise of £12 approved, it will still be below inflation which is running at over 3 per cent, so it’s clear we cannot operate on the assumption there will be more resources in any area of the force. Hard choices in what we do lie ahead at every level, but these hard choices will be informed by our vision and values.
2018 is going to be different and I intend to drive more ambition from us and to be more disruptive when we are not moving quickly enough. One of my favourite quotes is from the 1970s racing driver Mario Andretti: “If everything seems under control you are just not going fast enough”. It’s as true for business and the public sector in a fast-moving world as it is for racing.
In early February I shall be doing a two-year speech (hard to believe I have been doing this job for two years) to senior leaders to reframe the challenges. A great deal has been achieved in the last two years, some things have not, and quite a bit has changed in the world about us. Now is a good time to refresh our outlook and I shall set this out.
That’s vital in my role as Chief but also in the leadership of the force at every level.
As part of the sergeants’ inductions I do an input and was looking through old reference points to help guide me. I found these lessons of leadership from General Colin Powell. They are worth a look at the start of 2018. I can I personally reinforce lessons 5, 6, 8, 12 and most of all 17!
Powell’s quote “Leadership is the art of accomplishing more than the science of management says is possible”. That is the challenge of 2018!
What can you do? Look again at our vision, values and operating principles this month. Ask are you and your teams delivering these to the maximum. Go and do something extraordinary to make a difference in preventing crime, protecting the public and helping those in need. Have fun doing it. Whatever job we are doing we only get one go at it so be extraordinary at it in 2018.