WEST MIDLANDS Police is asking people to use the 999 service responsibly during the current heightened security state and only dial it for real emergencies.
Last night the national security state was raised to critical, this means that not only does an attack remain highly likely but a further attack may be imminent.
As a result emergency resources will be stretched and members of the public are reminded to only dial 999 if there is a threat to life or a genuine crime in progress and police attendance is immediately required.
Examples of genuine emergencies include where there is a threat to life, where there is on-going violence or if offenders are still at or near to the scene or if there has been an injury road traffic collision.
Any suspicious activity should still immediately be reported to 999 or the via the National Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321.
Non-emergency calls and enquiries should be directed to the 101 non-emergency number. This should be used to report a crime or anti-social behaviour which does not need an emergency response. For example, it could be used to report a crime that has already happened, seek crime prevention advice or make police aware of local policing issues.
Every year West Midlands Police receives more than two million telephone calls, including nearly 700,000 emergency calls, many of which are not genuine emergencies.
Chief Superintendent Sally Bourner, Head of Force contact said: “We are asking the public to just think before calling the police at this critical time. At the moment our officers and staff are juggling a huge number of demands and we ask people to be patient and bear with us. Of course any suspicious behaviour or emergency should still be reported on 999 but we have limited resources and still get time wasting calls.
“Recent examples of misusing the 999 system include calls about a shop not offering a refund, a picnic taking place in a park and spilled paint.
“We are averaging between 4-5,000 calls a day in total and we need to assess each and every one so please think before dialling.”
AFTER an impressive first year the Staffordshire Youth Commission has been asked to continue its work for a second year and Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis is now appealing to young people in Tamworth to come forward.
The Staffordshire Youth Commission was established as a pilot project in 2016 to provide 14-25 year-olds with the opportunity to help shape the future of policing.
The unique group immediately identified six areas of concern they wanted to focus on; hate crime and islamophobia, cyber-bullying and safety online, drug and alcohol abuse, stereotyping and trust in the police, knife and gang crime and changing lives away from crime.
Since identifying these priorities the members have gone on to speak with 1,500 other young people across Staffordshire to gain their views and opinions on policing, the criminal justice system and what they feel is important to their generation.
A year’s worth of work cumulated with a ‘Big Conversation’ allowing the Youth Commission to present its findings and recommendations to key organisations and influencers including PCC Matthew Ellis, Deputy Chief Constable Nick Baker and representatives from the Princes Trust, YMCA and Staffordshire County Council.
Recommendations included involving Youth Commission members helping police to run online safety sessions with their peers, the OPCC to encourage youth groups, schools and organisations to take part in educational sessions with those who have been directly affected by drug and alcohol abuse and providing more information to employers on criminal records so they can make an educated employment decision based on an individual’s risk of reoffending.
The group is made up of people from across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent and includes those who have been victims or witnesses of crime and those with an interest in policing and related fields such as criminology and law.
Mr Ellis said: ‘The Staffordshire Youth Commission is a seriously impressive bunch of young people and I was blown away by their insightful and well thought out feedback.
‘I commissioned this group to carry out in-depth work to gain the views of young people but also to involve them in the work to improve the criminal justice system and to shape policing in Staffordshire. I know young people in Tamworth have plenty of opinions and great ideas and we want to hear them.
‘It was fantastic to see the members of the Youth Commission take ownership of this project and come up with some great recommendations to improve relationships with the police.
‘I am incredibly grateful for all their hard work which is why I have commissioned them for a second year and agreed to provide £10,000 to help them put their plans into action. I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with next.’
Deputy Chief Constable, Nick Baker said: ‘It was fantastic to hear the detailed feedback from the Staffordshire Youth Commission. They had some great recommendations on how we can work with young people to get a better understanding of the crimes that particularly worry them, how they view the police and how they suggest we can engage better with young people in the community.’
Rebecca, a Youth Commission member from Stafford said: ‘I joined the Staffordshire Youth Commission after finding out about it during college. I thought that it would be a great experience which would help me towards my goal of being a police officer in the future.
‘During the time that I’ve been a part of this, I have not only developed a better insight into many topics such as hate crime and islamophobia and, drugs and alcohol, it has also taught me more about how it affects people and what impacts they have on society. I feel as though this opportunity has helped me develop many skills such as public speaking and will stay with me on my journey to achieving my career goals.’
If you are interested in joining call 01785 232491 or join in the conversation on twitter using hashtag #StaffsYC.
THE death toll following an explosion in Manchester has risen to 22, and at least 59 people have been injured.
A number of people have been killed following a suspected terrorist incident in Manchester at around 1030pm last night, Monday 22 May.
The attack happened on the fourth anniversary of the murder of British solider Lee Rigby in Woolwich, southeast London.
Latest news suggests that children are amongst those dead and injured.
Witnesses to the incident have said that they heard a loud bang, after a pop concert by singer Ariana Grande and an explosion is said to have occurred in a ‘public area’ outside the arena.
Greater Manchester Police have said that 22 people have died and at least 59 people have been injured.
Prime Minister Teresa May will be chairing a meeting of the Governments COBRA committee this morning.
People concerned about loved ones can call the casualty bureau on 0161 856 9400 / 0161 856 9900.
Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said: “This has been the most horrific incident we have had to face in Greater Manchester and one that we all hoped we would never see.
“Families and many young people were out to enjoy a concert at the Manchester Arena and have lost their lives. Our thoughts are with those 22 victims that we now know have died, the 59 people who have been injured and their loved ones. We continue to do all we can to support them. They are being treated at eight hospitals across Greater Manchester.
“This is a fast-moving investigation and we have significant resources deployed to both the investigation and the visible patrols that people will see across Greater Manchester as they wake up to news of the events last night. This will include armed officers as people would expect. More than 400 officers have been involved in this operation during the night.
“To remind you, we were called at 10.33pm to reports of an explosion at the Manchester Arena at the conclusion of an Ariana Grande concert. More than 240 calls came in and emergency services were very quickly on scene. Emergency numbers have been established for anyone who is concerned for loved ones who may not have returned home 0161 856 9400 or 0161 856 9900.
“We have been treating this as a terrorist incident and we believe, at this stage, the attack last night was conducted by one man. The priority is to establish whether he was acting alone or as part of a network.
“The attacker, I can confirm, died at the arena. We believe the attacker was carrying an improvised explosive device which he detonated causing this atrocity.
“We would ask people not to speculate on his details or to share names. There is a complex and wide ranging investigation underway.
“Our priority is to work with the National Counter Terrorist Policing Network and UK intelligence services to establish more details about the individual who carried out this attack.
“We have received tremendous support from across the police services and partner agencies throughout the night.
“We regularly carry out exercises to test our ability to respond to such incidents and this has ensured a very swift response from local and national agencies. I want to thank all those members of the emergency services and other agencies who have worked tirelessly through the night in very difficult circumstances. Their response has been outstanding.
“There remains a large cordon in place around Manchester Arena and Victoria Train Station which will be in place for some time. The station will remain closed while a detailed forensic search is underway. People should plan their route to work and follow Transport for Greater Manchester for updates on social media.
“Terrorists attempt to disrupt our lives and create distrust and fear in communities. We have a long history in Greater Manchester of communities standing together during difficult times. In the coming days we will be working closely with community leaders to address any issues.
“It is important that we all continue to remain vigilant, but also to go about our daily lives. We would ask people to be alert and report any suspicious activity to police on the Anti-Terrorist Hotline 0800 789321 or dialling 999.
“As people are waking up to this tragic news on what is a sad day for Greater Manchester, the officers and staff from Greater Manchester Police and the other emergency services will continue to do all they can to help get us through the difficult days ahead.”
TWO men were arrested after a police pursuit ended in a three-vehicle crash close to Tamworth Town Centre.
A number of police cars, two of which were un-marked, an Ambulance and a TAME community first responder attended the incident at the ‘bell corner’ junction shortly after midnight in to the early hours of Sunday morning, 21 May.
A red Seat Leon failed to stop for a Police vehicle and sped away from officers before crashing in to a member of the public at the popular junction.
After the collision, a male was seen to run away from the scene and a short foot chase ensued, with the male being detained a short distance away.
Witnesses say that they saw a second man being held down on the floor, next to where the collision occurred.
A witness told Tamworth Informed: “I was in the BP garage when I heard a loud bang, I went outside and it was like something you see on TV. A red car was sideways across the road and a small blue car had lots of damage to it’s front. There was another car, a small red one which looked damaged. I could see that there was an undercover police car with lights flashing and the siren going. This didn’t appear to be damaged.
“Other police cars and an ambulance car arrived – there was lots of people about. I hadn’t really seen anything like it before.”
As well as damage to the Seat Leon, two other vehicles could be seen to have been damaged.
A spokesperson for Staffordshire Police said: “Two men were arrested following a vehicle pursuit in Tamworth in the early hours of Sunday morning.
“A red Seat Leon, failed to stop at around shortly after midnight in the Upper Gungate area of Tamworth and a pursuit followed. The vehicle was abandoned but the two men were quickly arrested.
“Two other vehicles were damaged during the pursuit. Fortunately, there was no serious injuries reported.
“The men aged 23 and 28 are both from Tamworth. The 23-year-old was released under investigation and the 28-year-old was released without further action.”
Anyone with information or who witnessed the collision is asked to contact Staffordshire Police on 101.
TODAY saw the national launch of the fund raising campaign for the new UK Police Memorial to recognise the courage and sacrifice of the thousands of members of the UK police service who gave their lives to serve and protect our communities.
Staffordshire Police say that they are very proud to be police force responsible ensuring the safety of the National Memorial Arboretum where the memorial will be built.
The fund has now had Royal support with the following statement from His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge:
“The United Kingdom is recognised around the world as the home of modern policing but, as recent events have reminded us, that rich heritage is interwoven with a history of sacrifice. More than 1,400 police officers and staff have died in the line of duty, and it is high time a Police Memorial in the National Memorial Arboretum existed to act as a focal point for remembrance and gratitude.
“Since 2001, the National Memorial Arboretum has been a place of solemn remembrance and quiet reflection. It is therefore a fitting place in which to pay tribute to the bravery and dedication of the policemen and women who have given up their lives, and the commitment and courage of all those who continue to serve.
“This campaign aims to fund a physical memorial and a digital experience, as well as a living memorial that will help to support the families of the fallen. The money committed so far by the Government, as well as Chief Constables, Police and Crime Commissioners, staff associations and companies and business is testament to the significance of this project, and I have no doubt that people across the UK will be eager to raise the rest of the funds needed.
“I am delighted to lend my support to this campaign to raise funds to honour the memory of the hundreds of fallen officers by erecting a UK Police Memorial in the National Memorial Arboretum.”
INDEPENDENT Custody Visitors (ICVs) have made 263 unannounced visits to custody sites and visited 566 detainees in Staffordshire in the last year.
The figures come from the 2016/17 ICV Annual Report which provides an overview of the work of the ICVs.
There are currently 44 ICVs in Staffordshire split between the Northern Area Panel, Southern Area Panel and the Trent Valley Panel. The ICVs work in pairs and can check police cells – where they are granted access to detainees – at any time day or night to make sure custody rules are being observed.
The report shows that between 1st April 2016 and 31st March 2017 ICVs spent over 17, 492 minutes inspecting the custody suites in Staffordshire.
Voluntary ICVs are appointed by the Police and Crime Commissioner to check on the wellbeing of people held in custody by Staffordshire Police.
Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Sue Arnold, said: “Roles of Independent Custody Visitors are crucial – not just to the people in custody, but also in promoting public confidence in the system which is essential to making Staffordshire safer.
“ICVs provide vital work behind the scenes of Staffordshire Police in making unannounced checks on conditions of Staffordshire Police cells and the welfare of people in custody.”
POLICE and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis today confirmed Gareth Morgan will be the new Chief Constable of Staffordshire Police after the Police and Crime Panel ratified the decision.
Mr Morgan, currently the Deputy Chief Constable at Avon and Somerset, was appointed out of a short list of three.
As part of the interview process candidates were questioned by the Staffordshire Youth Commission members and over 60 officers and staff from Staffordshire Police.
The process concluded with a formal panel interview where the Commissioner invited the Chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, the OPCC Chief Executive and the Head of People Services for Staffordshire to join him in interviewing the shortlisted candidates.
Mr Ellis said: ‘We had exceptionally strong candidates for the position, but DCC Morgan demonstrated the knowledge and breadth of experience needed to take the force through the huge period of change needed over the coming months to meet the ever-changing face of crime and evolving threats.
‘It is clear that he has the right attributes needed to be an effective Chief Constable and I am looking forward to working together to deliver the plans that we have set out for the next few years.’
Mr Morgan was appointed Deputy Chief Constable at Avon and Somerset in February 2016 after a career of 26 years predominantly in the Midlands.
Gareth joined West Midlands Police in 1990 as a Constable and then a Sergeant based in Birmingham. In 1996 he joined the Accelerated Promotion Scheme and on promotion to Inspector continued to work in a variety of uniform and detective roles.
In 2000 he was selected to attend the FBI National Academy at Quantico. On his return he was promoted and posted as a Detective Chief Inspector to Sandwell.
On promotion to Superintendent in 2002 he was seconded to the Home Office, within the Police Standards Unit.
Gareth returned to the West Midlands in 2003 to review the provision of child protection policing and oversee the introduction of the Climbie recommendations before taking up the post of BCU Operations Manager at Stechford.
In 2005 he was appointed Head of Training and in 2006, as a result of the Government’s intention to merge police forces, Gareth was seconded to programme manage the ‘Mergers Team’ for the West Midlands Region.
Following promotion in 2007 he became a BCU Commander and the police lead for Children and Young People in Birmingham.
In 2009, as part of the change programme in West Midlands Police, Gareth led on the review of local policing and the creation of a Public Protection Department, which he subsequently led.
Following his attendance at the Strategic Command Course in 2011 he was temporarily promoted and took up the post of Chief of Staff to the President of Association of Chief Police Officers.
In July 2012 he took up appointment as Assistant Chief Constable for local policing of Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police.
Mr Morgan said: ‘I am grateful to the Police and Crime Panel for their deliberations today and I am delighted to have my appointment of Chief Constable confirmed. I look forward to joining the force on 19 June.’