Great initiatives across Essex
Last week was another busy one, and it started with a financial focus. I spent the morning of Monday 17 June with our audit committee, and then I travelled north to attend a meeting of the Braintree Against Retail Crime group. It’s great to see members of local business communities getting together to find solutions to their challenges, and it provided me with lots of valuable information.
Tuesday began with a meeting to discuss potential regional collaboration, and ended with an important discussion of what is known as “Stage 2 Transfer”, which fundamentally is a decision as to whether Essex Police staff will be employed by Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh or by me, from April 2014. In between, I interviewed several outstanding candidates for the Personal Assistant role in my office, and I’m delighted that Lucy Gordon was successful. We all greatly look forward to working with her.
On Wednesday, I was down in London for a high level seminar on the changing landscape of intelligence, which looked in part at the use of new technologies. It’s essential that policing keeps up with best practice.
I took a day’s holiday on Thursday 20 June, and Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Lindsay Whitehouse represented me at three different events. In the morning he went to Epping Forest district to look at the Crucial Crew event for Year 6 schoolchildren. Every child in the district attends the event, held at the Scouts’ wonderful facility in Gilwell Park. Crucial Crew is an interactive event that improves children’s awareness of their safety across a number of areas. The event also covers bullying, citizenship and the environment.
All of the children were fully engaged and clearly keen to contribute. Officers from Essex Police helped teach personal safety to the students, and the contribution of Chief Inspector Tracey Harman and her team is clearly highly valued by the community. The High Sheriff of Essex, Julia Abel Smith, was guest of honour at the event. She and Lindsay took the opportunity to discuss domestic abuse, the safety of children and community engagement.
In the afternoon Lindsay represented me at the Essex Police Independent Advisory Group meeting held at the Force Headquarters. He reported back on the valuable work that this group delivers around the diversity and equality agenda and how these volunteers can help shape police thinking around working with some of the minority groups in our community.
In the evening Lindsay attended the AGM of the Essex Council for Voluntary Youth Services in Essex which was held in Chelmsford. This was an excellent opportunity to talk to a wider audience about my priorities in the Police and Crime Plan. The work of those who give up their free time to help develop and support our young people is beyond price. As a community we are lucky to be able to work with such committed volunteers.
It is great to be able now to share my work with Lindsay and I am grateful to him for his enthusiasm and commitment.
Friday 21 June started with a finance meeting with the Chief Constable and his team. The accounts for financial year 2012-13 are almost complete, and we’ll be publishing them soon. I’m pleased to be able to say that there were no huge surprises in there, and Essex Police is on course to deliver £44 million of savings. This has been a huge accomplishment and everyone in the force deserves our thanks and respect for their professionalism and commitment.
The day continued with a partnership meeting in Loughton of the larger local councils’ forum, which was a worthwhile experience. There’s great scope for joint working. This was followed by a session on the bids for the New Initiatives Fund. I hope to be able to publicise details of some of the successful projects in the next few days.