The powerful memory for me from the last week is an emotional account from the mother of teenager Letisha Shakespeare, who at just 17 was gunned down and killed in Birmingham in January, 2003.
Letisha’s mother, Marcia, was speaking at the 25th anniversary area meeting for Crimestoppers in Rugby.
She explained how gang culture had initially stopped anyone talking to the police, but when just one person was brave enough to stand up and speak out, all of the men responsible were arrested and convicted. It takes real courage, but it just goes to show the difference we can all make at times.
Marcia has offered alternative pathways for over 25,000 young people in schools and Pupil Referral Units.
As Edmund Burke famously said, ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing’.
My week started with my weekly briefing from the Chief Constable and reviewing performance. With an end of year summary not far away I’m delighted to see such excellent performance from the force, but more of that soon…
This was followed by a meeting with Monica Fogarty and Mark Ryder from Warwickshire County Council to approve our contribution to their funding.
In all cases, the Community Safety Partnerships and County Council, I asked for detailed explanations of their requests, and heard the bids around the innovative and evidence based schemes.
Tuesday I was with the county’s fourth Community Safety Partnership in Rugby for a productive meeting.
I was then at the Regional AGM of Unison with the Chief Constable. I think it’s fair to say it was a difficult but very constructive meeting going through alliance plans.
When I started my campaign I remember a very outspoken PCSO openly expressing her views to me, and her concerns at ‘what we are letting ourselves in for’. Speaking last week I saw her again and she said to me that she loves her job and there is perhaps a little more understanding of my role now and how it works. I’d always prefer open plain speaking, and someone having the discussion, it’s the way I prefer to work.
I’ve already mentioned the Crimestoppers conference on Wednesday, which saw both me and Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Eric Wood giving presentations.
Immediately after this event I travelled to Worcester Rugby Club for a ‘Citizens in Policing’ event. Funded by the Home Office to get regular officers to think about how they can best work with volunteers, and what the obstacles might be.
In the evening I attended the Rugby Town West Community Forum.
Thursday started with a visit to the osteopath for treatment to a bad back I’ve been suffering with. Meanwhile Eric attended an Alliance Joint Performance Management Group meeting.
In the afternoon I was back in action for a Safer and Stronger Partnership Board meeting at Shire Hall in Warwick, while Eric attended the quarterly meeting of Neighbourhood Watch at Leek Wootton.
In the evening I had some interesting conversations at the Wellesbourne Community Forum.
And the week rounded off on Friday with a meeting with the West Midlands Regulatory Services Partnership while Mark Gore attended the Warwickshire Justice Strategic Board at the Justice Centre in Leamington.