Crime down but we need to think cyber

A slightly longer blog update after last week’s launch of the Police and Crime Plan for Warwickshire and announcement of performance figures for the year from Warwickshire Police.

Warwickshire Police's Chief Constable Andy Parker

Warwickshire Police’s Chief Constable Andy Parker

I was delighted to hear from Chief Constable Andy Parker that crime in Warwickshire is down:

  • In 2012/13 there were 4,206 fewer crimes in total compared to 2011/12, a reduction of 12.4%.
  • The daily average crime rate has reduced from 92.3 crimes per day in 2011/12 to 81.1 crimes per day this year.

I was also pleased to hear that detection rates are up, and that satisfaction levels with Warwickshire Police from victims of crime had also improved.

The Chief Constable was speaking at our bi-monthly ‘Meeting of the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Chief Constable’ which is a public meeting.

This was held in Stratford-upon-Avon, having previously held meetings in Warwick and North Warwickshire – our next meeting will be held on June 10 in Rugby.

Ron Ball with Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire Timothy Cox

Ron Ball with Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire Timothy Cox

I was also extremely pleased to welcome the new Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire, Timothy Cox, to the meeting.

One of the first issues I raised with the Chief Constable was a reminder as we approach the first anniversary of the accident in Stratford where a car left the road and collided with Costa Coffee. I have asked for a review of the decision not to prosecute anyone. This doesn’t mean I think someone should be prosecuted, but I would like the whole incident looked at in detail again. I expressed my disappointment to the Chief Constable that more has not happened in taking this forward as we approach the first anniversary.

I also asked for an update on the missing money from police headquarters, but Deputy Chief Constable Neil Brunton explained that an investigation was underway, and as such no comment on the detail of the investigation could be revealed at this stage.

We had an extremely interesting presentation on Cyber Crime from Detective Inspector Mark Glazzard, which prompted some searching questions from Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Eric Wood.

Despite crime being down, Eric said that cyber crime is an area that is going unrecorded and is growing all the time. He stated that according to the British Crime Survey you are now two and a half times more likely to be a victim of cyber crime than any other crime.

I asked that officers are as familiar in giving cyber security advice to members of the public as they are at reminding them to keep their windows and doors closed to prevent crime. When I asked what was being done about this, I was reassured by the Chief Constable that action was being taken to train officers.

We also launched the Police and Crime Plan highlighting in particular expenditure on community safety, the appointment of community safety ambassadors, and the recruitment of special constables.

I was pleased to speak to several members of the print and radio press about both the crime statistics and the launch of the plan.

On Tuesday I chaired the Joint Strategy Group which is the committee overseeing the progress of the alliance with West Mercia. We made some further progress in trying to sort out the problem of the tax liabilities incurred by recently retired officers who have been re-employed too quickly-a problem encountered by many forces around the country.

For commissioners to be really effective we need to work together when appropriate, and we had a visit from Simon Efford of the national body-the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners on Wednesday. We are all still exploring how to get the best out of this body and they are keen to know how they can help us.

A programmed one hour breakfast meeting with the Leamington Chamber of Trade turned into nearly two hours on Thursday. A very lively and interesting discussion was held at the Wright Hassal offices on the outskirts of Leamington.

Since I needed to visit the Air Unit in Derbyshire on Friday as part of my role as a director of the Police National Air Service, I thought it would be useful to compare notes with my opposite number in Derbyshire, Alan Charles. Unfortunately he was not available, but I had a very productive hour with his deputy comparing notes on such things as how we have chosen to hold the Chief Constable to account, and how we are engaging with our communities.

Having spoken at length to ACC Dee Collins, I’m now much better briefed on the issues concerning the formation of the National Police Air Service from the smaller groupings of air units. There are potential savings to be made from the formation of a national service, but the transition from the current arrangements is going to require flexibility and imagination. I’m delighted to hear that I will be able to take a flight at some future occasion, but they couldn’t guarantee me a high profile chase and arrest!

In a week where the use of social media has been under the microscope, it’s disappointing to see an officer having to resign for a wholly inappropriate comment, whatever his private thoughts may have been. It’s taking a long time for this particular penny to drop. Everybody needs to give a great deal of thought before committing themselves to commentary on social media – you are expressing a public opinion and it could well have an impact on your professional role.

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One comment

  1. the most relevant thing about Ron Ball,to me is his choice of terminology also the matters to which he gives his attention,with the probable exeption of the reemployment of police after being made redundant. I believe the police are extremely well represented to present thier case in this matter and Ron Ball should devote his time to matters more relevant to his mandate. I voted for you and up to now am not disapointed. Beware the ceremonial side,I hope that I do not hear about you laying foundation stones or cutting ribbons. Best Wishes.

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