A word from APCC Chair, PCC Katy Bourne OBE
Police and Crime Commissioners met this week in London to debate some of the most important issues in policing. There have been significant changes to the national political landscape in recent weeks, which it was why it was important that the Policing Minister and the Cabinet Secretary were amongst those that joined our meeting to discuss priorities and how PCCs can best support and, indeed, drive forward change in the policing and criminal justice system. There was widespread recognition of the crucial role that PCCs currently play and it was extremely valuable to hear about the priorities of the new Government and how we can continue to work together positively to tackle crime and make our communities safer.
This was the first opportunity that PCCs have had collectively to remember Ron Hogg who sadly passed away last month. Ron, who was awarded a CBE in the New Year’s Honours list, was a hugely respected and liked colleague who will be missed by all of us.
PCCs set to have a new role in the police complaints system
Legislation has been introduced that will change how complaints made against the police are dealt with.
The changes come into effect on 1st February giving PCCs a new stronger role in the complaints process which will make it easier for the public to complain and ensure a more responsive and user-friendly service.
Speaking on the reforms Julia Mulligan, APCC lead for Transparency and Integrity said: “Transparency will be at the heart of the reformed complaints and disciplinary system, which is no less than the public would expect. It will make it easier for the public to complain and get a prompt response about issues like poor service, as well as ensure that misconduct cases can be addressed effectively. PCCs will have a stronger role in the system and, alongside the reforms to IOPC, this will help to make police complaints more independent of the police.
“The reforms will deliver a more user-friendly, timely and effective system that addresses the concerns of our communities about issues ranging from poor service to handling serious police misconduct”.
Police complaints will become more independent of the police, with complaint reviews dealt with by PCCs or the Independent Office of Police Conduct. The public will also be able complain about the way a police force acts, currently complaints can only be made about an individual officer. This will drive forces to consider and act on opportunities for organisational learning.
Additionally, the reforms will introduce Reflective Practice where minor mistakes are used as opportunities to learn, reducing the time forces spend on unnecessary investigations and shifting the focus to resolving complaints to the satisfaction of the public.
PCCs committed to tackling County Lines
A report was published last week by HMICFRS looking at how police consider vulnerable people who are both victims and offenders in 'county lines' drug offending.
The report shines a light on harmful county lines offending and the devastating impact the exploitation of young people by organised criminal groups is having on our communities.
Responding to the report APCC Leads for Serious and Organised Crime Baroness Hughes, Deputy Mayor for Greater Manchester, and Marc Jones, Lincolnshire PCC said: “Police and Crime Commissioners are committed to tackling this serious threat, bringing together local partners and delivering innovative early intervention and prevention projects protecting communities and those most vulnerable to exploitation.
“This report highlights the effectiveness of this joint working approach and warns of the unsustainable demand placed on these services. PCCs continue to press for a sustainably resourced whole-system approach to tackle the destruction that county lines causes.”
You can read more about the innovative work PCCs are doing to tackle county lines and serious violence here.
New campaign launches to help Merseyside become #BladeFree
Merseyside Police and partners. including the Police and Crime Commissioner. have launched a new knife crime campaign #BladeFree to help make communities safer for the future.
This campaign is designed to help young people steer clear of knife crime and other serious violent crime by providing support and opportunities through activities and initiatives such as sport, music, and theatre to build confidence and aspiration and improve practical skills and employability.
Through #BladeFree young people will be directed towards a range of local clubs and activities accessible across Merseyside, which we hope will give them hope, ambition and opportunity, and most importantly the knowledge and confidence to make the right decisions in the future.
Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: “Using a knife as a weapon ruins lives and has a devastating impact on families. Sadly, we have seen too many times here in Merseyside the tragedy that can unfold when a knife is used to kill or injure. Just carrying a bladed weapon is an offence.
“We know people across Merseyside want to take action to prevent the use of blades of all kinds and #BladeFree will help us to join forces across all communities and age groups. I would ask everyone to use the hashtag, join the campaign, pledge your support, share its messages and play your part in making Merseyside a safer place for all.
Read more about the #Bladefree campaign here.
Purpose Built Sexual Assault Referral Centre Facility in West Yorkshire is Near Completion
The opening of a fully integrated service for victims of sexual violence and abuse has moved a step closer. Work on a new specially purpose built Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), facility started in late 2018 and will house a number of specialist services. Latest developments include the work on the self-contained live link suites and the live link recording room as well as waiting rooms.
The new facility, due to open its doors in Spring of 2020, will incorporate court live-link facilities, vulnerable victims suites for video recorded interviews (VVS/VRI), a hub/base for specialist support services as required and access or referral to Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVA), a service uniquely commissioned by the Police and Crime Commissioner.
These developments are aimed at increasing the number of victims and witnesses giving evidence where appropriate and achieving successful outcomes through the Criminal Justice System wherever possible.
Partners including the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for West Yorkshire, West Yorkshire Police, the NHS England, Courts Service HMTCS have all been involved in its development.
You can read more on the new facility here.
New Drugs Diversion Scheme pilot in Windsor and Maidenhead
A new drugs diversion pilot scheme was launched this week in Windsor and Maidenhead, the second scheme for Thames Valley.
The Police and Crime Commissioner for the Thames Valley has helped fund both schemes, which have the support of a range of partners.
The schemes aim to reduce the harm caused by using drugs and drug related offences, allowing offenders in possession of small quantities of illegal drugs an opportunity to be offered a tailored diversion route to address their use of drugs instead of facing prosecution.
The new pilot will run for the next three months, both schemes will then continue to run whilst an evaluation is taking place and a decision about any further roll out is made.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, Anthony Stansfeld, said: “We are pleased to fund such an important project which will help tackle some of the drugs related crimes we have in the Thames Valley. Partnership working in this way is crucial for us to be able to help with such problems.
“We’re encouraged by the findings from the first pilot and look forward to see how this next phase positively impacts the reduction of crime, as well as individuals, in our communities.”
You can read more about the scheme here.
Please click here to subscribe to the APCC Bulletin. If you do not want to receive these updates, or would like any further information on any of the contents of this update, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.