Out and about in Essex
Every week as a PCC is different and this has been no exception.
I spent much of the week reflecting on the feedback from officers I met last week from B shift at Laindon Response and Patrol. After talking with them and seeing the outstanding work they did caring for a seriously troubled person who was presenting a risk of harm to herself and others, I thought deeply about the daily risks and challenges our police officers face. Most of the time I have to talk about policies and theory but seeing the work at first hand and hearing comment from the frontline is crucial and was a welcome change. Thanks B shift!
Monday was the first day at work for my new deputy, Lindsay Whitehouse, who has joined me having been a deputy governor at Chelmsford Prison. We went together to Southend to meet the Chief Executive of the Borough Council, Rob Tinlin. Maintaining strong relationships with our unitary authorities is crucial and Southend has some great initiatives such the Triage approach to potential young offenders.
Later in the day I contributed to a top level meeting on policing oversight at the Home Office as one of those representing PCCs. With the Stage 2 transfers (to do with the respective responsibilities of the PCC and the Chief Constable for police staff) the new College of Policing and the new National Crime Agency on the agenda it is clear that policing faces many challenging issues. An important one at national level is the on-going work to investigate organised child sexual abuse which we also discussed at the Home Office meeting.
I continue to rebuild my team, so I have been interviewing for two vacant posts. This has been time consuming but it is essential to get the right people. My thanks to all those who have taken an interest and applied to join the team.
One of the many tasks of my team is to help arrange our public engagement meetings. We were in Harlow on Wednesday where I chaired a really lively debate for more than two hours about crime and policing topics of local concern including domestic abuse, burglary and the control of dangerous dogs. Thanks to Chief Inspector Justin Smith and his team, to DI Tracy Martinez, to Malcolm Morley and the Community Safety Partnership in Harlow, to Janet Dalrymple of Safer Places, and to everyone who contributed to an excellent session.
The rhythm of routine scrutiny is settling down. My regular meeting with the Chief Constable this week focused on Stage 2 and on how to ensure real public visibility and involvement in how I hold the Chief Constable to account. Look out for new public scrutiny sessions that will commence soon! Also this week was my regular formal review of complaints against Essex Police with the Deputy Chief Constable and the head of the Professional Standards Department.
I finished the week with the second formal meeting of the new Business Crime forum. There is a real risk that with a strong focus on local crime issues, business crime can get overlooked. At a time when there are significant number of crimes against business, including for example shoplifting and fraud, I want to give Essex businesses a distinct voice and support Essex Police as it continues to improve the service it delivers to business. The prosperity of our businesses across Essex is really important to making Essex an even more desirable and safe place to live.