From Guide Dogs to guns!

Aiming a firearm and having to decide whether to take a shot or not is certainly an eye-opener to some of the decisions officers hope they never have to make.

photo (26)I was visiting Hindlip and given the chance to go through some basics on firearms with the West Mercia officers, but more on this later.

My week started with discussions with the Chief Constable where the topic of apparent ‘non-naming” of our ex-officer charged with the theft of money from Leek Wootton was discussed. I am restricted as to any comment I can make at this stage, but I will be making a much fuller statement at an appropriate time.

Meanwhile I was reassured to hear from the Chief Constable that performance across the county is still good.

This was good to hear as both the Chief Constable and I had a meeting with Dru Sharpling – our local inspector for Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary and discussed how we were going to monitor performance in Warwickshire and cross compare with similar forces.

I chaired the steering group overseeing the alliance at Hindlip on Tuesday. The alliance is noticeably moving from a paper exercise to a real life one with officers being deployed across force boundaries. Both commissioners are keeping the process under very close scrutiny.  While at Hindlip we had two demonstrations.

We were introduced to a beautiful Hungarian trainee police dog who demonstrated very clearly what happens if you choose to ignore requests to stop from the handler. The volunteer police officer (well protected I hasten to add) was immobilised very quickly.

photo (24)Unfortunately our Home Office observers were not able to stay for the firearms demonstration later in the afternoon. I did manage to get a successful headshot on a hostage taker, but only after about 30 seconds and some detailed instruction! I suspect I would have been toast by then.

The Independent Advisory Group took pity on me in the evening and allowed me to leave comparatively early. The IAG are an essential body helping to ensure that the police are listening to what different representative groups within Warwickshire are saying.

Wednesday I was in London at the first full meeting on the board of the National Police Air Service, of which I am the representative for the Central Region. Currently police air support is provided by a number of consortia of which Warwickshire/Leicestershire/Northamptonshire is but one. By integrating those consortia into one national organisation not only will a better, cheaper service be provided, but it will be more resilient too.

Thursday saw Eric and I in Nuneaton at the meeting of the local community safety partnerships, where I was able to reinforce the recruiting drive from our community safety ambassadors – the people who will be my “eyes and ears” in our communities. (Recruitment details on the website www.warwickshire-pcc.gov.uk/information/community-safety-ambassadors)

IMG_5305The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association brought one of their trainee dogs along in the afternoon for me to experience –blindfolded- what it is like to be guided around a busy area by a guide dog. Talk about scary!! Give me a 747 in a thunderstorm any day of the week.

Of major concern to the association is the number of guide dogs being attacked whilst on the street.

I anticipated a networking breakfast with the business community at Welcombe Golf Course on Friday morning, only to find that I was required to speak because of the very unfortunate unavailability of a guest speaker. Waffling to order is thankfully a skill I possess, so I think I just about got away with it.

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