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Staffordshire OPCC

 

STAFFORDSHIRE’S Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Ellis, has today asked the Government to consider removing or raising the cap on the level of council tax determined by PCCs in order to bolster policing at the most local level.

‘I’ve not called on Government for any more funding for policing since being elected in November 2012. I’ve coped with budget reductions and taken the view that what was already there could be spent better. My office has worked closely with Staffordshire Police to achieve better use of the money which is why here, neighbourhood policing numbers were 434 in 2013 and are 440 now with no change to response officers,’ he said.

‘However, the world we are now living in, especially post the Manchester and London terrorist attacks, means it is not credible that current budgets can maintain the increased levels of police resources required for what is likely to be a long period in Staffordshire, and I’m sure elsewhere.

Mr Ellis has frozen the council tax people pay locally towards policing in Staffordshire for 4 years out of his 5 years in office, but believes removing the cap now could help immensely in the current debate around boosting police resourcing at the most local level.

He wants to see the current cap of 2 per cent on the policing part of the council tax scrapped or at least increased because of the current environment and threats.

‘Government I’m sure will review the wider counter terrorism resources on a national basis, however, locally elected PCCs are accountable to their electorate meaning we are best placed to know the needs of our specific areas and be directly accountable for the funding decisions we make. That was the whole principle around PCCs, said Mr Ellis.

‘I froze the amount people paid in council tax towards policing every year in Staffordshire until this year, when the need to ensure new threats were met head on, meant I made a decision to increase.

‘I have written to the Home Secretary today to suggest she considers this proposal around local funding for policing. It is for local Chief Constables to determine what resources are needed and I’m sure most Commissioners will have no issue with being accountable for the budget decisions they make.’

Mr Ellis also emphasised this would also bring local accountability for the level of reserves held which varies across the country.

‘Where Police and Crime Commissioners still hold large reserves, these could be utilised ahead of making extra increase to council tax and that can be done in a more transparent way.’

‘This is an option still open to many PCCs now, as there can be little doubt we’ve reached that rainy day. But we also need that added flexibility to increase the precept.’

Staffordshire OPCC

STAFFORDSHIRE’S Police and Crime Commissioner has called together leaders from Tamworth to discuss the preparedness of local public agencies to respond to any eventuality in the light of recent terrorist attacks.

Senior managers and leaders from across all relevant public agencies will meet on Wednesday (June 21) when the Commissioner will chair the meeting. It will also include an operational update from the police’s perspective by Assistant Chief Constable Nick Adderley.

In the light of the tragic Grenfell Tower fire last week, Mr Ellis also wants to broaden the discussion and sharing of knowledge to include civil contingency planning.

Mr Ellis said:

‘Tragic events of late have once again highlighted the need to make sure the work of the police and other agencies to keep us all safe across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent is effective.

‘The meeting I’ve called will provide a security update by the police, but will also be a chance to understand in detail all agencies’ preparedness to work together in the most difficult circumstances.

‘After the recent horrific fire at the Grenfell House tower block in London I also intend to use the meeting to seek assurance that the wider civil contingencies plans responding to the most serious incidents are adequate.’

police cell

AN independent group established by Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire, Matthew Ellis, has examined the care of detainees in custody.

The Ethics, Transparency and Audit Panel (ETAP) were asked to review the processes and procedures in place for the care of detainees in custody following historic deaths in custody, one in 2011 and the other in 2014.

This comes at a time when Mr Ellis says he is determined to eradicate the use of police cells as a place of safety for people with mental health issues. He is going a step further and his policy goes beyond the law changes, to stop use completely.

As part of their latest report ETAP looked at the detention process and the way detainees are booked into custody. They also observed the risk assessments that are completed in order to ascertain the level of observation required and whether a detainee is in need of any medical or mental health assessments.

ETAP looked at the healthcare provision within the custody facilities and observed the arrangements for people with mental ill health. They looked at the Mental Health Act (1983) and the procedures followed by Custody Detention Officers if someone requires a mental health assessment while in custody. The panel observed that due to availability of nurses or doctors to carry out assessments, this process has been known to take up to nine hours, well outside the agreed time allowance.

Mr Ellis said: ‘ETAP’s report is timely given that I am highlighting the new legal restriction of 24 hours maximum in custody for a person with mental ill health. This is welcome but in my view doesn’t go far enough. The new law places a complete ban on using cells as a place of safety for under 18s, which is right, but that should be the same for everyone in those circumstances, no matter what age.

‘This report highlights the need for this law, with the process for a mental health assessment having taken up to nine hours in some cases. People suffering mental ill health need to be in a place of care, not in custody.

‘I am pleased that ETAP’s findings show people being held in custody in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent are being well looked after by Police Officers, Custody Sergeants and Custody Detention Officers.

‘Their scrutiny backs up the vital work of our Independent Custody Visitors who do a fantastic job of checking on the welfare of detainees and the conditions of police cells and custody suites. They make a difference, not just to people in custody, but in promoting public confidence in the system which is essential to making Staffordshire safer.’

ETAP was launched under the ‘New Dawn of Transparency’ agenda by Mr Ellis and aims for policing in Staffordshire to be the most open and transparent in the country. Seven members of the public sit on ETAP and meet regularly to monitor the work of police including how crime is recorded, how complaints from the public are dealt with and the use of Taser and ‘stop and search’ powers.

Police cell block

POLICE and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire (PCC), Matthew Ellis, is calling for volunteers who live or work in the Tamworth area to carry out checks on the standards in which people are held in police custody.

Volunteers from all walks of life and a variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds are sought, along with young people over 18 years of age.

Independent Custody Visitors (ICVs) are appointed by the Police and Crime Commissioner and make unannounced visits to custody suites in Staffordshire to check the conditions of police cells and the welfare of people being held in custody by Staffordshire Police.

Visitors work in pairs and can check police cells – where they are granted access to detainees – at any time day or night to make sure that custody rules are being observed. They follow a code of conduct and are fully trained before they start.

Mr Ellis said: ‘The role of Independent Custody Visitors is crucial – not just to the people in custody, but also in promoting public confidence in the system which is essential to making Staffordshire safer.

‘They provide a vital link between communities and police and help maintain public confidence in the custody system and I would love to see more people get involved in this crucial work.’

Volunteers, who receive training and travel expenses, are expected to make a minimum of twelve visits a year and attend 4 panel meetings which take place each year.

Anyone interested in joining, or finding out more, should email Jane Milgate on Jane.Milgate@staffordshire.pcc.pnn.gov.uk or visit the PCC website at www.staffordshire-pcc.gov.uk/independent-custody-visitors

ethics, transparency and audit panel

POLICE and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire, Matthew Ellis, is urging people from Tamworth to join an independent panel to strengthen public scrutiny of policing in the county.

The Ethics Transparency and Audit Panel (ETAP) is looking for people who have an interest in public service and community safety and have the ability to robustly challenge and scrutinise Staffordshire Police.

ETAP requires more members of the public to join the panel to examine all aspects of policing in Staffordshire including helping to review financial accounts and audit reports. The rigour and scrutiny brought by ETAP has received national recognition.

The deadline to apply to join ETAP is midday on Wednesday 31st May and application forms are available at www.staffordshire-pcc.gov.uk/eta. Interviews for successful candidates are expected to take place on 22 and 23 June.

ETAP was launched under the “New Dawn of Transparency” agenda by Mr Ellis, and aims for policing in Staffordshire to be the most open and transparent in the country.

Members of ETAP receive training and regularly meet to scrutinise and challenge the work of Staffordshire Police. They produce detailed reports on their findings to support the PCC in his oversight of policing

Recent reviews by ETAP, available on the PCC’s website, include a review of low level crime satisfaction levels, an audit of senior officer expenses, how officers deal with mental health incidents, body worn video use and Taser use.

Mr Ellis said: ‘Honest and independent scrutiny by the public is crucial as we strive to set the bar higher and create a new dawn of transparency in policing.

‘This is about being open and transparent so that public confidence across policing and criminal justice is improved.

‘We’re looking for more members of the public to step forward and get involved in this vital work to help scrutinise the police.’

Staffordshire ETAP

PEOPLE from Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent are being given the chance to join an independent panel to strengthen public scrutiny of policing in the county.

The Ethics Transparency and Audit Panel (ETAP) is looking for people who have an interest in public service and community safety and have the ability to robustly challenge and scrutinise Staffordshire Police.

ETAP requires more members of the public to join the panel to examine all aspects of policing in Staffordshire including helping to review financial accounts and audit reports. The rigour and scrutiny brought by ETAP has received national recognition.

ETAP was launched under the “New Dawn of Transparency” agenda by Matthew Ellis, the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Staffordshire, and aims for policing in Staffordshire to be the most open and transparent in the country.

Members of ETAP receive training and regularly meet to scrutinise and challenge the work of Staffordshire Police. They produce detailed reports on their findings to support the PCC in his oversight of policing

Recent reviews by ETAP, available on the PCC’s website, include a review of low level crime satisfaction levels, an audit of senior officer expenses, how officers deal with mental health incidents, body worn video use and Taser use.

Application forms are available at www.staffordshire-pcc.gov.uk/eta with a closing date of midday on Wednesday 31 May. Interviews for successful candidates are expected to take place on 22 and 23 June.

Mr Ellis said: ‘Honest and independent scrutiny by the public is crucial as we strive to set the bar higher and create a new dawn of transparency in policing.

‘This is about being open and transparent so that public confidence across policing and criminal justice is improved. We’re looking for more members of the public to step forward and get involved in this vital work.’

creative choices

AN organisation in Tamworth is providing services for people with learning disabilities thanks to a grant from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s People Power Fund.

Creative Choices CIC is providing a drop in service for people with learning disabilities where they are able to meet new people, learn new skills and take part in activities.

The drop in centre is aiming to prevent people being targeted or becoming a victim of crime because of their vulnerabilities. They are also aiming to combat the isolation that can sometimes be experienced by people with learning disabilities.

Staff and volunteers at the centre provide a lifeline to people with learning disabilities by providing a safe, non-judgmental environment for them to socialise with other people.

Creative Choices CIC were awarded £2,600 to hold the drop in sessions

Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire, Matthew Ellis, said:

‘Creative Choices are doing a brilliant job of supporting individuals with learning disabilities in Tamworth. They provide an environment where they can build their confidence; learn about their safety and develop new skills. I was extremely impressed with the group I met and I am pleased to support them with funding.

‘The best ideas to reduce crime, social harm and anti-social behaviour often come from communities affected by those issues. That’s why, since 2013 I’ve increased the funding provided for simple things that make local areas safer and better to live in.

‘At the heart of developing the Commissioner’s People Power Fund and Proceeds of Crime Fund was listening to those who are closest to the problem and supporting their ideas with funding to try and fix things. I’m continuing this because the principle has been so successful over the last few years.

‘Tackling the issues, building community spirit and often reducing repeat demand on policing means providing that financial help at the most local level is really cost effective.’

Sally Shorrock, from Creative Choices CIC, added:

‘Without the funding we received we couldn’t have set this up. We started in January and before this there wasn’t a drop in service in Tamworth specific for adults with learning disabilities.

‘There’s a social element to the centre with people making new friends. We also have people who attend who can feel isolated, or just want some help with things like letters or phoning people. It has been really good and really positive so far.

‘We’ve used it as a platform for information sharing and educating people on their health, wellbeing and safety and we are working with organisations such as the police, health and fire services to deliver workshops and information.

Staffordshire’s High Sheriff visits police custody with Volunteers

DEPUTY Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Arnold was delighted to welcome the new High Sheriff of Staffordshire, Humphrey Scott-Moncrieff, to the Northern Area Custody Facility where she accompanied him on a visit with Independent Custody Visitors (ICVs).

During his year in office the High Sheriff has a focus on raising awareness of the work undertaken by volunteers across the whole of Staffordshire, a passion that is shared by Mrs Arnold, whose portfolio of work includes volunteers who help scrutinise the work of Staffordshire Police.

Mrs Arnold and the High Sheriff were shown around the custody facility with ICVs Stan Harrison and Elizabeth Shenton, and were able to observe how they conduct their visits and check the welfare of people detained in custody.

Mrs Arnold said: ‘ICVs play a vital role in inspections of police custody sites and the people detained in them. They make a difference, not just to people in custody, but in promoting public confidence in the system which is essential to making Staffordshire safer.

‘I was delighted to invite the High Sheriff to take part in an ICV visit and showcase the work that our wonderful volunteers do here in Staffordshire.’

Humphry Scott Moncrieff, High Sheriff of Staffordshire, added: ‘It was great to visit the custody centre in Stoke on Trent. Thank you to Sue Arnold the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for arranging this visit.

‘I was shown around this excellent facility by Inspector Jason Allport and the Independent Custody Visitors. It was a very informative afternoon learning about the work of the ICVs and observing them carrying out their visits.’

Voluntary ICVs are appointed by the Police and Crime Commissioner to check on the wellbeing of people held in custody by Staffordshire Police. The Staffordshire volunteers make regular, unannounced visits to custody sites throughout the year.

Visitors 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. They follow a code of conduct and are fully trained before they start.

The role is vital to ensure public confidence in Staffordshire Police treating the public with dignity and respect if they happen to end up in custody.

Anyone interested in joining, or finding out more, should email Jane Milgate on Jane.Milgate@staffordshire.pcc.pnn.gov.uk or visit the PCC website at www.staffordshire-pcc.gov.uk/independent-custody-visitors

 

ethics, transparency and audit panel

AN independent group established by Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Staffordshire, Matthew Ellis, has scrutinised crimes which are sometimes perceived as ‘low level’ to establish the impact it can have on public satisfaction.

The Ethics, Transparency and Audit Panel (ETAP) were asked to review low level crime after Mr Ellis identified that crimes considered ‘low level’ were not being effectively dealt with, leading to low satisfaction levels and a potential lack of confidence in policing.

Panel members found that vulnerable victims of crime received ‘good’ support from Staffordshire Police, but improvement could be made by updating victims of low level crime with the progress of their cases.

ETAP also identified that the cases that are more likely to result in dissatisfaction are those where the crime is dealt with via telephone. The panel noted that under these circumstances there is a lack of visual contact between the call handler and the victim, meaning the call-handler is unable to detect disappointment or frustration and respond appropriately.

As part of their latest report ETAP had access to and examined different aspects of the process, including the way call handlers in the control room assess incoming calls and decide the appropriate response based on their severity and level of threat. The panel also examined the way information is entered into police systems to establish if there was existing records linked to the caller and then how this information was transferred to the local policing teams and Staffordshire Victim Gateway.

The panel also looked into the support provided by the Staffordshire Victim Gateway, which was commissioned by the PCC, by analysing quarterly performance reports and looking at the satisfaction of victims who have received support.

Following their scrutiny, ETAP made several recommendations in their report including:

  • Improving the communication between Staffordshire Police Control Room and the Staffordshire Victim Gateway so there is a better understanding of a victim’s satisfaction.
  • Improving Communication with victims of crime when a decision of ‘Resolution without deployment’ has been made so the victim understands why this decision was made.
  • More detailed reporting from Staffordshire Victim Gateway to highlight methods of contact, timings and victim satisfaction.

Mr Ellis said: ‘ETAP’s report is thorough and is precisely what I hoped for when establishing this independent panel 3 years ago. It is the latest in a series of valuable reports about the way Staffordshire Police go about serving the public.

‘At the heart of these findings is that good information provided effectively for victims of crime is crucial to their confidence in policing and satisfaction. When investigating complex or more serious crimes the flow of information appears to be working well.

‘It’s issues such as anti-social behaviour and low level crime where the police in Staffordshire need to do more to keep the victim or person who reported the incident properly informed. But it’s also that sense of customer service, rather than just providing information which is so important.

‘I will expect Staffordshire Police to examine the recommendations made by ETAP and provide an action plan to address the areas they could do better’

ETAP is currently recruiting for new panel members to help rigorously challenge aspects of policing that are critical to us all and assist in the work to hold Staffordshire Police and the OPCC to account. The deadline for applications is 31 May and you can find out more about ETAP and apply on the websitewww.staffordshire-pcc.gov.uk/eta/

 

Stalking awareness week

AS part of National Stalking Awareness Week 2017, which was last week; Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire, Matthew Ellis, has highlighted a piece of work undertaken by an independent panel he set up in 2013, to help combat stalking and harassment.

The Ethics, Transparency and Audit Panel (ETAP have shone the spotlight on the service given to victims of Stalking and Harassment in Staffordshire after a number of high-profile cases in the national media in 2016 where women, in particular, had been subjected to assaults following incidents of stalking.

To form the report the panel met with officers to learn more about the policies in place for stalking and harassment, the training they receive and the relationships officers have with agencies who support victims of stalking and harassment.

The panel also examined a selection of local stalking and harassment cases, from when the initial call was made, through to the outcome in order to understand the issues faced by victims of stalking and to see how cases are dealt with by Staffordshire Police.

The Panel found that while Staffordshire Police has ‘fairly robust’ procedures in place for dealing with stalking and harassment crimes, it was recommended that more guidance needs to be provided to officers on how victims should be supported.

Mr Ellis said: ‘This report by ETAP provides valuable insight into how Staffordshire police deal with cases of stalking and harassment and the service that is provided to victims of these crimes.

‘Since this report was done, we have launched the Staffordshire Victim Gateway, which is about putting victims’ needs first and providing them with free advice and support.’

Detective Supt Jav Oomer said: ‘It is important that stalking behaviour is identified early and acted upon but this relies upon the victim to trust their instincts and recognise when someone’s behaviour is being intrusive. Stalking matters and no one should live in fear of another person.

‘The impact of stalking and harassment on victims and families can be devastating and whilst victims do come forward it is still under reported.’

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