Questions to the Chief Constable
At each meeting of the full Police Authority, the Chief Constable answers questions submitted by members. This section includes the questions and answers from each meeting.
Full Authority - 17 February 2012
In a recent press article it was said that West Yorkshire Police were unable to produce accurate figures of the number of serving officers with criminal convictions.
Can the Chief Constable explain why this is and could he reassure members about the implications of employing officers with a criminal past.
The recent press article was the result of a FOI request. The Force was asked to provide details of the number of serving police officers who have criminal records. Our response to the request was that, because of the way the Force have recorded such information, it would be a disproportionate exercise to aggregate the information. Principally, this is because the information that we need is recorded against an individual officers file and in order to respond to the enquiry it would have meant reading more than 5,000 files to extract the information in the manner sought.
Where any person applies to become a police officer there is a robust, and nationally required, vetting of criminal history, whether cautions or convictions, and whether spent or otherwise. All applicants are considered on a case by case basis and a national threshold is applied. For example, a juvenile caution can only be disregarded after 5 years. The purpose of this threshold is to try to ensure that only fit and appropriate persons are recruited to the Police Service but, at the same time, to give every individual an opportunity to have rehabilitated after a single, early life incident. It might be imagined that we apply absolute rigour and careful judgement in assessing anyone’s past history. Members may well agree that this careful judgement is appropriate.
But, because an individuals history is recorded on their personal file, we are unable to easily provide the precise number (although it is likely to be relatively small) of individuals who have been accepted for appointment in these unusual circumstances.
There are further, and more stringent, vetting processes for specific roles and functions. Again this vetting when someone applies, for example, for a specialist role such as Economic Crime Unit, is a matter of record on a personal file rather than centrally collated. Any criminal record, spent or otherwise, would influence a vetting assessment in such strategic roles.
Finally, Police Regulations require every police officer to report any action (eg: summons, charge or fixed penalty notice) taken against them for any criminal offences whilst a serving member of the Force. This includes driving offences which would, undoubtedly, have made up the bulk of the “criminal offences” that were quoted in one of the more sensational tabloid reports following a national trawl of Forces.
Such convictions are recorded on a central database and each is subject to a further, internal, investigation to confirm whether further disciplinary action should be taken against the officer in addition to any criminal penalty incurred.
The Force can identify such officers but this was not the thrust of the FOI request. In order to reassure members further, I can say that 27 officers have been subject of criminal proceedings in the last 4 years. 5 were found not guilty or the cases were not pursued further. 5 who were facing criminal charges resigned prior to additional disciplinary procedures and two who did not resign were dismissed at a subsequent misconduct hearing. 14 officers, for the most part convicted of motoring offences whilst driving off duty, have been subject to a misconduct hearing which decided that management advice or written warning were appropriate to the circumstances. The final case of the 27 is still subject to investigation.
The public expect the very highest standards of probity from police officers and the Force has a responsibility to ensure that these standards are maintained. I wish to assure Members, personally, that any police officer serving now and in the future who has been subject of a criminal conviction or other judicial disposal, for motoring offences or otherwise, is only allowed entry to the Service, or allowed to remain in post, if they are considered to represent a nil or low risk to the reputation of the Force.
Full Authority - 23 September 2011
"Can the Chief Constable provide information about Mutual Aid offered to other forces during the National disorder in August? Furthermore, could the Chief Constable comment upon how Mutual Aid will be provided by the Police and Crime Commissioner in future."
"The current arrangements for the provision of Mutual Aid to meet a National response involves a coordinating function by the Police National Information and Coordination Centre (PNICC). PNICC determine priority need and furnish the response by drawing upon Mutual Aid provided by all forces. In this recent example of public disorder in various sites, PNICC drew on most forces including, unusually, the Scottish forces as well.
West Yorkshire’s National requirement is 17 PSUs (approximately 431 officers) at 48hours notice. On the first night of disorder, Monday 8th August, West Yorkshire was able to spontaneously raise just a handful of PSUs which were deployed primarily in the Leeds area. On Tuesday 9th August, in line with the national requirement and timescales, the Force raised resources in excess of the 17 PSUs. Of these 22 PSUs, Gold Command in West Yorkshire, John Parkinson, determined that he needed 10 PSUs to supervise a Category C football match between Leeds United and Bradford City, and deployed others to cope with the emerging disorder in Leeds and Huddersfield. PNICC agreed to this assessment. On that night, 2 PSUs were dispatched to Greater Manchester. 3 PSUs returned to Greater Manchester on Wednesday evening, together with 6 Mounted Officers.
15 PSUs were retained in West Yorkshire for the remainder of that week.
In addition, 3 PSUs were later deployed to London on two occasions; firstly on Thursday 18th August for 5 days, and again on Wednesday 7th September for a further 5 days. These deployments were also supported by West Yorkshire evidence gathering teams and ‘medic’ officers.
West Yorkshire Police did not ask any other force to provide Mutual Aid.
It was apparent, during the first night’s response, but also in planning for the second and subsequent nights, that the increase in resources deployed to Neighbourhood Policing Teams, coupled with changes to the shift system a couple of years ago that moved resources to weekend evening, had both affected our capability. This is the first time since those two changes have taken place that a full PSU requirement has been placed on the Force. This difficulty has been reported to the HMIC, who is conducting a review of the National response.
With regards to the future, post the election of a PCC and in relation to the provision of mutual aid. It is noted that PCCs will hold all resources and will have the responsibility for “the totality of policing in their local area”, this could therefore clearly be a risk to future provision of Mutual Aid. The Government has recognised the risk and is developing something called the Strategic Policing Requirement (SPR) which will create the requirement for the PCC and Chief Constables to “have regard to” the requirement to address national threats. ACPO have raised concerns with Government that the SPR needs to be sufficiently tightly drawn so that Mutual Aid can continue to be provided at times of national emergency.
The current draft of the SPR seen by ACPO is, in their view, inadequate to ensure this national capability. In dealing with the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill in the House of Commons on Monday 12th September, the Police Minister, Nick Herbert, acknowledged that the SPR needed further development to ensure that national crises in future could be met through national response. Until the SPR ensures this mutual and consistent response, there remains the risk that a PCC may, in future consider it not in the best interests of the local area to allow deployment of resources outside of the local area.
Could the Chief Constable please advise me if West Yorkshire Police are planning to re-charge all or any of the Policing costs of approximately £82k, to the English Defence League following their demonstrations in Halifax on the 9th of July 2011.
Organisations like the EDL are neither welcome or wanted on the streets of Calderdale so why should they not be expected to cover the policing cost's, especially when local charitable organisations are expected to pay substantial costs for the Policing of their welcomed events."
"Could the Chief Constable please advise if West Yorkshire Police are planning to re-charge all or any of the policing costs of approximately £82k, to the English Defence League following their demonstration in Halifax on the 9th of July 2011.
Organisations like the EDL are neither welcome or wanted on the streets of Calderdale, so why should they not be expected to cover the policing costs, especially when local charitable organisations are expected to pay substantial costs for the policing of their welcomed events."
"The Police do not have an automatic legal right to charge for the policing of events. In order to do so, event organisers have to specifically request our services (commonly referred to as Special Police Services (SPS)), the most obvious example being that of football, where clubs request a police presence to enable a match to take place safely. Once we have been requested to provide services, we can do so conditional upon an event organiser agreeing to pay for them, or conversely not providing services if the organiser does not wish to pay for them. The SPS charges are set nationally by ACPO, as are the general protocols for charging: we would seek full cost recovery for commercial events and partial cost recovery for community/charitable events commonly 50%. Events incurring less than 24 hours staff time, and local/charitable events which would involve our Neighbourhood Policing Teams in their community role, usually have their costs waived by the local Police Commander.
Often, the only reason that SPS is requested is for the purpose of traffic management, to allow processions and marches to take place on a highway by means of a "rolling" road closure. The alternative to SPS, would be for a Local Authority to provide the traffic management through the use of barriers to effect a "static" road closure - which is usually a more costly option. However, in either method of road closure, the Local Authority applies for a Road Closure Order and the cost for this is routinely recharged to all event organisers, commercial or charitable.
Although covered by the usual definition of an event, a protest or demonstration brings additional legal responsibilities to the Police, specifically a positive duty to facilitate peaceful protest under Human Rights legislation. This legal responsibility ensures that freedom of speech and peaceful assembly is available to all members of our community, irrespective of the subjective merits of their point of view. It is therefore not commonplace for demonstrators to request SPS, as they are aware of our legal obligations to facilitate peaceful protest and we are therefore not entitled to levy charges. A good example would be the series of demonstrations against student tuition fees last Autumn, which were policed at considerable expense to the public purse.
West Yorkshire Police have experienced several large EDL demonstrations, including the most recent in Halifax, and have been sensitive to the concerns they have raised among our communities and persons wishing to exercise their rights to counter-protest. In seeking to ensure these events have taken place safely and not resulted in large-scale violence or the undermining of community cohesion, we have committed significant resources at significant cost to achieve this - the same is also true for our Local Authorities and other Partners. Given that participants in an EDL demonstration and accompanying counter protests number only a few thousand, it is understandable that questions are raised about the cost being borne by the general public, but for the reasons already explained there is no legal avenue to recover these costs from the organisers.
The costs falling on the police and the local authority in ensuring that these events pass off safely has been raised with the Home Secretary in a joint letter from myself and the Chair last September. James Brokenshire, The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Crime Prevention, responded and acknowledged the good work done by the Force, Authority and Local Partners in ensuring that recent protests in West Yorkshire had passed with relatively little disorder. He, however, made it clear that the Government had no intention of changing the current legislation to allow protests by such organisations as the EDL to be banned. Copies of both of these letters are available for the members who have not already seen them."
Full Authority - 18 March 2011
"The media have shown a lot of interest following the publication of the IPCC’s Complaints Statistics for 2009/10. The report presents figures on complaints about the police in England and Wales for the financial year 2009/10. These complaints are made by members of the public about the conduct of those serving with the police and are dealt with under the Police Reform Act 2002 (PRA 2002). A total of 33,854 complaint cases were recorded during 2009/10. This is an 8% increase compared to 2008/09 and is more than twice the number of cases recorded in the last year before the reforms contained within the PRA 2002 came into force.
Can the CC advise members of actions taken to address the reported increase in West Yorkshire."
During 2009/10, nationally the number of complaints increased by 8%, however in West Yorkshire we only saw an increase of 3% (874 to 903). West Yorkshire are one of the few forces to have actually seen a reduction in the number of allegations per 1000 personnel reducing from 162 to 156 (3% reduction) during 2009/10, against a national increase of 7%. At 156 allegations per 1000 staff, West Yorkshire Police is significantly below the national average of 221. In formal and informal meetings with the IPCC, the Commissioner for West Yorkshire has expressed satisfaction with the way that matters are recorded, investigated and disposed of in West Yorkshire.
The level of complaints are scrutinised in detail by the Audit and Risk committee with quarterly reports being submitted which gives full details of the type of complaint through to how it has been resolved. In addition Internal Audit, on behalf of members, carries out dip sampling of complaint files to ensure that complaints are being dealt with swiftly and fairly.
Recorded cases are reviewed for any areas where "lessons can be learned" these issues are discussed on a weekly basis by the Senior Managers in PSD and action taken accordingly, with a complete audit trail. Details of lessons learned from the IPCC are communicated to the force via PSD and, if appropriate, monitored through follow up checks.
The results of misconduct meetings and hearings are communicated to the force area via the intranet - this is to be further developed to incorporate more detail and the re-iterate what standards are expected by the force.
PSD have recently introduced a "calendar" of themes. Each month a topic is chosen and communicated through the Briefing, Intranet Home Page and PSD pages, this topic is either as a result of recent activity ie. computer misuse or as a result of topical relevance i.e. drink driving at Christmas.
Officers receiving regular complaints (potentially officers of concern) are highlighted and dealt with through a joint approach via PSD Investigators and the local Complaint Manager at Division in order to address any issues.
"Following a recent FOI request in which the Force were asked about the number of police cars involved in collisions in West Yorkshire in the last year the Telegraph & Argus newspaper reported that more police car collisions occur in the Bradford South area than any other police division in West Yorkshire.
Can the CC tell members of the Authority what is being done at a Force and divisional level to attempt to reduce the number of police car collisions across the County."
The request made by the Telegraph and Argus asked for the total number of police vehicles involved in collisions. The figures provided in the response gave the number of incidents where police vehicles needed repair, including windscreen damage, found damage, criminal damage, blameworthy and non-blameworthy accidents.
As has been identified these figures showed that the two Bradford Divisions had the highest number of damage repair. However, if the numbers are examined in more detail and only blameworthy accidents are considered that it is a different picture. The two Bradford Divisions have a similar number of accidents to the other larger divisions in the Force, at around 90 to 95 in the financial year 2009/10. There is a similar story if a comparison is made against the number of collisions and the number of cars with each division.
On the wider questions of collisions, all police officers undergo training at the Force Training school before being allowed to drive police vehicles. This training varies from the basic training to allow use of police vehicles, through training to use of vehicles in a response situation to advanced training in order to be able to conduct police pursuits.
Clearly the Force is very keen to reduce the number of collisions or damage to vehicles as there is a cost to the Force of such incidents, both in terms of any repair and the loss of the vehicle whilst being repaired. There is also the reputational aspect of consider which can impact on public confidence.
There are established Force procedures to follow for all police collisions and also the driving and use of police vehicles. Both these policies stress the importance of adequate supervision to ensure that all police collisions are thoroughly investigated. This is to ensure that driving standards are maintained and any element of blame or neglect is considered by a Senior Manager to prevent a reoccurrence, and if necessary, impose sanctions.
In the event of a collision resulting from a pursuit, whether a police vehicle is actually involved or not, then the Professional Standards Department will investigate the collision and it will be referred to the IPCC if appropriate.
In pursuit situations there is a well managed process in place to ensure that these are controlled whether it be an Initial Phase or a Tactical Phase pursuit. There is national set of guidelines that the Force follows. Follow each pursuit a report is raised and submitted to the Road Policing department.
A pursuit management steering group has also been set established which debriefs and examines what, if any, lessons can be learnt.
The Force is currently conducting a trial of ‘back boxes’ fitted to police vehicles in Leeds North West Division, which had the highest number of accidents in 2009/10. This has seen a reduction in the number of accidents and consideration will be given to the business case to fit such devices to all marked vehicles.
"Given the current policing climate and the announcements last week following the publication of the Winsor Review, can the Chief Constable offer assurances of how he plans to deal with any possible drop in morale in West Yorkshire Police."
A focus on morale is not a bolt on initiative. It is, in a profession like policing something which needs attention 365 days over 365. It is critical in achieving performance. It is a driver for the provision of a service that builds public confidence and it is at the heart of the willingness of officers and staff to put themselves at risk in ensuring public safety.
Sustaining morale, therefore, is the first priority of leadership.
Police Authority members will see, tonight, the state of morale and a vehicle for supporting it. The Excel Awards evening is at the absolute pinnacle of the comprehensive efforts that go into acknowledging and rewarding exceptional performance. Tonight’s event is supported by local Excel Awards events in every Division and Department that take place throughout the year. Furthermore, several Police Authority members will have had the privilege of taking part in, or observing, the commendation parades at local and force level; medal ceremonies to acknowledge long serving officers and staff; and attestation ceremonies at which new recruits to the organisation are inspired and imbued with the values of the organisation. Members won’t have seen the work that I personally put into briefing every single person who is promoted to a leadership role on what I expect of them as a leader of people. Morale is the currency involved in all of these activities.
We are, in some respects, very fortunate in the profession of policing. Most colleagues are driven by a sense of vocation and so it is important to sustain that vocation through acknowledgement and appreciation rather than through any financial or peripheral rewards.
Morale is monitored, in an objective sense (although narrowly) by the Annual Staff Survey. The latest results from the 2010 survey show that the overall staff index has improved by 3%, when compared with 2009.
We face challenging times over the next four years and as has been rightly identified this will have a significant impact on our staff in terms of the overall reduction in staff numbers and pressures this brings during the time of organisational change and for those who remain in terms of changes to work loads, procedures etc.
There will also be other pressures on staff which will undoubtedly impact on their continued commitment, for example, changes to pay and conditions of service and in the longer term changes to pensions. The Command Team is alive to the impact of the changes that may result from the two reports published on 8 and 10 March and the Deputy Chief Constable has been chairing a small group with representatives from all staff to consider the possible implications. In anticipation of these “knocks” I posted a video feed to the Force Intranet reassuring staff of the determination to ensure a degree of fairness in the pay and pensions corrections. That concept of fairness is a significant cultural driver in policing.
As a part Operation Transform the Command Team will assess each element of the programme both in terms of the organisation impact and from an equalities perspective, through a full Equality Impact Assessment.
In terms of going forward, the Authority can be assured that the Command Team recognise the testing time ahead and the impact that all the changes may have on staff morale, and how this can then impact on performance. We will look at innovative ways of mitigating the impact of ongoing organisational change, where these are within the scope of the Force to do so. In the areas that are outside the scope of the Force to influence we will look to support staff in all the ways that we can.
Full Authority - 8 October 2010
Question from Councillor Mark Burns-Williamson
“What are the general cost and other implications for the Force of demonstrations such as those held in Bradford on the 28 August 2010, and the impact on the communities of West Yorkshire?”
• The English Defence League (EDL) is a right wing protest group with no apparent political objectives. The group was formed as a response to the demonstration at a home coming of the Royal Anglian Regiment in the town of Luton in 2008. They held a noisy and offensive demonstration in Leeds in October 2009. Criminal behaviour was minimal. The most significant feature of the Leeds event was a determination by the Unite Against Fascism (UAF) protestors to confront the EDL demonstrators. There was every risk of violence but, because of the policing operation, which included resources drawn on mutual aid from five Police Forces, the two factions were kept apart and order was maintained.
• The EDL announced their intention in early 2010 to carry out a demonstration by way of a march through Bradford. There was an original date of May 2010 planned but cancelled by the organisers. The EDL later designated the bank holiday weekend and Saturday August 28th in particular as the date for their ‘march’. The UAF were, again, intent on confronting the EDL protestors.
• The implications of policing such demonstrations as these range from the obvious, such as the diversion of resources, to the less obvious – the impact on public confidence if the community feel unprotected by the Police and partners.
• Because of the risks of community distress and the real risk of violent disorder caused by a provocative march, I decided to ask Bradford City Council to consider the banning of all marches in the Bradford area on the bank holiday weekend. This action appears to have been very well received not only by the City Council but by the Bradford community as a whole.
• As it was, the EDL and UAF decided to hold a static demonstration, each within Bradford City Centre. The Bradford City Council, on behalf of the communities of Bradford, also planned to organise an event on the same day to show solidarity in the face of demonstrations from people outside of the City.
• The Bradford event had much more significant risk than Leeds and any of the other EDL demonstrations that had been held around the country. The weekend of rioting in 2001, leaving a trail of riot damages amounting to £13.6m, had been triggered by incidents around a planned (but banned) National Front demonstration.
• This, therefore, called for a much more significant policing commitment to community reassurance before, during and after the event. It also called for a much more robust and comprehensive public order capability throughout the bank holiday weekend.
• This was a particularly difficult weekend for West Yorkshire Police. The 28th August coincided with the third of four days of the Leeds Festival which attracts 75,000 people per day; it was the start of the Chapeltown Carnival which, itself, attracts 30,000 people to the event and has had a history of violence in the past; there were also two football matches and an international Goths convention in the county at the same time. Our resources, on a bank holiday weekend, would have been stretched by these events let alone the planned demonstrations from EDL and UAF.
• In terms of the commitment of resources. It has already been reported to the Authority that policing the demonstrations over the weekend (the wraparound public order provision started on the Friday night and lasted until the early hours of Sunday morning) incurred additional costs of £650,000. The additionality was almost twice the additional cost of policing the EDL/UAF protest in Leeds the previous year. There are three reasons for this. Firstly, the more significant risk; secondly, the commitment of West Yorkshire resources to other events on the weekend; and thirdly, the necessity to prevent any peripheral incidents similar to those that created the trigger for the riots in 2001. We had, in other words, to be absolutely sure that there was no possibility, whatsoever, of these demonstrations spilling over into splinter events and incidents throughout the Bradford area. There is also a more significant staff requirement when the intention is to prevent anyone from marching or giving the impression of marching. This requirement was present in Bradford and not in Leeds.
• The strain on resources was felt also by partner agencies. Bradford City Council committed significant capital sums to preparing for the demonstrations. On the day, key personnel from Bradford City Council were in support of the Police operation. The Primary Care Trust in Bradford treated it as an opportunity for exercising crisis arrangements and committed a significant capability to the day’s events. Fire and Ambulance were also very much in attendance. There were a total of 12 Forces who provided mutual aid to West Yorkshire. (Mutual aid is more costly than our own resources for obvious reasons).
• From a local perspective, the impact on local communities in Bradford cannot be overestimated. The resources that went into the preparation for the event, the planning and training, and the widespread community reassurance were all aspects that diverted attention and energy from the wider policing mission. This investment appears to have been a wise one in that the communities of Bradford were untroubled and unprovoked on the day of these demonstrations.
• Some local businesses decided to close their business on the day of the demonstrations. Those that opened, describe a reduced footfall and turnover.
• 18 people have been arrested for criminal offences.
• Members may be aware that the Chair and I have written, jointly, to the Home Secretary, outlining our concerns around the cost and impact of policing demonstrations. In particular, we are concerned about the impact of demonstrations being held by people outside of the community that is affected by their actions.
• The letter acknowledges, of course, the right of peaceful protest but made the point that the financial and community costs that are borne by local people who have no interest in the aims of the protestors need to be taken into account too. The letter outlined some fundamental steps that might be taken, by Government, to preserve the rights of the wider community and limit the cost on the public purse through limits placed upon the organisation and scope of the demonstration. I attach a copy of the letter with this written response to Councillor Burns-Williamson question.
• There are, having said all of this, some significant positives arising from the events of the 28th August. There arose a very strong and united local leadership, supported, in turn, by the local media. Local communities came together in the prospect of the demonstrations to commit themselves to unity across religious, racial, cultural and political divisions. There is some evidence that this has also led to improved confidence in the city leadership across all political parties and improved confidence in West Yorkshire Police as well.
• There are a series of debriefing events. ACC Mark Gilmore is leading in the debriefing process. The operational debrief has already taken place. A wider city debrief is to take place with political representation as well as officer representation. Councillor Sarah Ferriby has been asked to represent the Police Authority in the debrief that is planned.
Full Authority - 25 June 2010
Question from Janet Spencer:
"What value does the Chief Constable believe the communities of West Yorkshire are getting out of regional collaboration and is it enough to justify the level of expenditure/effort?"
Chief Constable's Answer:
The Chiefs and Chairs of the Police Authorities of the Yorkshire and Humber have been working towards greater collaborative working. The majority of the work thus far has been within the operational field namely Roads policing, Serious and Organised Crime and developing a response to the Protective Services gap.
As the strategic driver has changed, to a financial focus the four authorities have agreed that there is a need to develop savings through collaboration where possible. Consultants appointed by the Region, were charged with identifying potential efficiencies through greater Collaboration. Their findings detailed opportunities for collaborative working across a wide spectrum, one such example included Operational Support Services.
West Yorkshire contributes 42.7% of the costs associated with the region’s shared operational capability, and 25% of other regional programme costs; in 2010/11, we will contribute £2.415m. This money pays for established regional assets, (the Roads Policing, Special Operations and Regional Intelligence Units) as well as new assets, (Confidential Unit, Regional Crime Unit and Witness Protection Unit). Within this sum, £303K is West Yorkshire’s contribution to the Regional Programme Team. The overall regional budget for 2010/11 is £6.409m.
Working together within the operational environment provides value for money. Whilst the cost of achieving this regional operational capability is significant at £5.2m, it should be recognised that a number of the shared functions are stand-alone assets that do not duplicate or have an equivalent asset in each of the forces. These areas include the Special Operations (undercover) Unit, Confidential Unit, Witness Protection Unit, and the Regional Crime Unit. As an example, the provision of the region’s Special Operations Unit costs the four forces a total of £1.638m; however, if West Yorkshire police were to deliver a separate capability, the estimated cost would be £1.310m (£3.768m across the 4 forces). Value for money can therefore be deduced from the savings of potential cost. We have built capability across the region in a cost effective fashion. A couple of examples of this added capability are described below.
Regional Roads Policing
Established in September 2008, the Operational teams are split across 3 sites at Tadcaster, Wakefield and Sheffield. Each team comprises of a Sergeant and 10 Constables. With a remit to target organised criminality, the Unit deploy both as teams and as a full Unit to meet demand. The region’s internal force boundaries are not relevant to their activities. Since inception, the Unit has arrested 870 offenders and has seized £7.9 million worth of assets.
Examples of their effectiveness, one of the teams was deployed in the Kirklees area in relation to ‘2 in 1’ burglaries. They stopped a suspicious vehicle which was found to contain £4000 in the foot well, 4 men were arrested. During the same shift an Audi TT failed to stop for officers. It was pursued, stopped and found to be stolen during a burglary; two men were arrested from the vehicle. Whilst searching their homes the keys for another stolen vehicle were recovered.
Special Operations Unit
Established in September 2008, the Unit has facilitated the arrest of 102 offenders and have disrupted 20 organised crime groups. The work of the Unit has resulted in the restraint of assets to the value £2,696m and the seizure of Class A drugs with a street value of £654K. Significantly, the Unit’s work has resulted in the seizure of 18 firearms.
In summary - the current benefits felt by West Yorkshire as a result of Regional Collaboration, offer value for money. The Neighbourhoods of West Yorkshire have seen an increase in visible operations from the Regional Roads policing teams. They have also benefited extensively from the assets recovered by the Regional Asset recovery team, through the incentivisation fund, and will shortly benefit from the newly formed Regional Crime teams, who will deal with level 2 Serious Organised Groups. The emphasis has now shifted from building additional capability to one of reducing cost. Over the coming months and years continued Collaboration should assist with meeting reduced budgets whilst ensuring services are maintained and improved.
Question from Mark Burns Williamson:
"The police in West Yorkshire fact two major strategic challenges; increasing our communities’ confidence and dealing with pubic spending reductions. How does the Chief Constable plan to reconcile these two things?"
Chief Constable's Answer:
I recognise the two strategic challenges and I agree that there might be a tension between the two. My aim would be to take cost savings in the organisation with as little impact as possible on community confidence.
In order to achieve this ambition it will be necessary to focus on front line delivery in trying to maintain, as far as possible, the status quo. Simply having the same number of Police Officers and PCSOs in neighbourhood policing and response, whilst important, will not, in itself, be sufficient to maintain existing performance levels in customer and citizen focus. For example, if we have fewer people answering telephone calls, or fewer crime scene investigators following up on local crime reports, this may have some marginal and negative impact. However, protecting the core, and particularly protecting the Neighbourhood Policing Teams, which currently have 1,659 Officers and PCSOs, is a priority.
Operation Transform is a pan force review of where efficiencies and cash savings can be found. It is being led by the DCC and is an attempt, over a period of 2 years to make planned efficiencies. Furthermore, regional collaboration which has been discussed earlier in today’s Police Authority agenda, should create the opportunities for savings without impact on service delivery.
In summary, I am committed to the principle focus of the Force and the Authority – public confidence. The latest survey shows that those believing that the police do an excellent or good job in their local area has increased marginally by 0.1% from last month up to 49.8%. This indicates an improvement of 11.4% across the Force since April 2007. There are 2 consequences of taking cost savings at the level proposed which may have an adverse impact on public confidence. The first is that there is, in spite of our best efforts, the risk that internal morale may suffer through anxiety about job security. On the other side of the coin, if the media describe the necessary efficiencies in alarmist terms then that reporting, in itself, could have an impact on public confidence. I shall strive to control all the variables in maintaining our continued improvement in public confidence that has been achieved over the last three years.
Question from Ann Liston:
"What measures does the Chief Constable use to ensure that the Force is proving value for money?"
Chief Constable's Answer:
In the current financial climate the force is ever mindful of the need to ensure all spending is not only necessary, but delivers value for money. The Deputy Chief Constable is tasked with developing an updated Efficiency and Productivity strategy which will facilitate and control expenditure reduction. The Deputy currently chairs a monthly meeting named Operation Transform. The objective of the operation is to ensure that the Force maintains its frontline effectiveness while reshaping some of its activities so that they are leaner and more efficient.
Examples of this are:
• Review of 'back office' functions across Divisions and Departments
• Review of the CJS Department
• Review of Communications and Dispatch.
As part of the budget scrutiny process and now part of the CPR and OPR process, all divisions and departments are required to produce financial plans for future years, up to and including 2012/13. During each of the performance review meetings, detailed discussions are taking place about reducing overtime costs, procurement cost, fleet cost etc. All other costs are continually being monitored with a view to reducing any unnecessary spending and to ensure we are achieving value for money in all areas.
The Force currently has a freeze on the recruitment of all Police Staff and Agency staff. This will allow the Force to keep redundancies to a minimum, when faced by tighter financial constraints anticipated in the coming years. It also aligns with the current requirements on all Divisional and Departmental heads to reduce non frontline staff. Personnel have developed a matrix to monitor each action plan and are working with divisions and departments to ensure they meet their agreed targets. Management structures across the organisation are also being examined with a view to rationalising structures.
Conscious of the fact that we will have less staff in the future, Quest business process re-engineering has been rolled out across each division and CJS. Reviews are currently taking place in connection with Communications and Intelligence. This will allow the Force remain effective and efficient in the leaner years which lay ahead.
The current Estates strategy is being reviewed to identifying under usage and any redundant space which can be shed in the coming years.
In summary – the Force is actively addressing the financial pressures likely in coming years. Early steps have been taken with the roll out of Quest and Operation Transform, to ensure that savings are identified and realised where possible within this and the next financial year. All working practices are being reviewed to make sure they are lean, effective and efficient and will in the longer term continue to deliver a quality of service which will sustain the Confidence communities in West Yorkshire have in the police.
Question from Steven Rollinson:
"The recent deaths of Shelley Armitage, Suzanne Blamires and Susan Rushworth in Bradford have once again shown the danger of on street sex work and the link to drug addiction.
Can the Chief Constable inform the Authority how West Yorkshire Police differentiates between on and off street sex work and their approach to each and also the strength of the relationship with those drug agencies who work with prostitutes particularly in Bradford. In addition what sex workers co-operatives exist in West Yorkshire and what can be done to strengthen relationships with them?"
Chief Constable's Answer:
Significant demographic differences between in/out door sex workers (age/ethnicity/origin) and significant differences in geographic location/ business characteristics impacting on visibility and access to sex workers by agencies.
Common strategy : Problem identification/ Prevention/ prosecution/ Assistance to exit/ addressed as a community issue;
Addressed through: specialist team (Bradford), NPTs/ local partners and North East Immigration Crime Team.
Ongoing policy development (HMET/ Crime Division)
Links to drug agencies
Bradford – multi agency tactical group case managing individuals supported by senior strategic group;
Other areas: Close working by police with local authority and voluntary sector groups;
DOMU lead police agency through DIPs (street outreach and drug testing on arrest).
Links to Sex Workers Cooperatives
No current police activity in this area.
Sex Worker Briefing Document
1. Differentiation between on/ off street Sex workers.
i. A detailed and recent Problem Profile of Sex Working in the Bradford area identified approximately 107 street workers and 73 off street workers in the city, all but 3 female, with significant differences between the groups. 91% of street workers were identified as white British as against 61% of off street workers (21% being from Eastern Europe and 6% of Asian origin, including Malaysian and Thai workers). 33% of off street workers were under 24 compared to 12% of street workers who are generally older with many working to support drug addictions. Off street workers are more likely to come from outside the UK, be trafficked and be moved around the country at short intervals. Street sex working is visible and localised in small geographical areas facilitating access to sex workers by treatment staff.
Off street sex establishments (saunas, massage parlours, licensed premises where sexual services are available or private dwellings) may be dispersed across a wider area and may close down and reopen elsewhere at short notice. Although they may advertise in the press and on the internet the specific location may not be publicised making sex workers within them a harder to reach group.
ii. A policy response of:
• Problem Identification;
• Law enforcement – against those who purchase sexual services or exploit or coerce sex workers for gain;
• Assistance to exit sex work;
• Addressing prostitution as a community issue;
is common to both areas.
iii. A specialist team operates in Bradford and in other areas (for example in City and Holbeck where Operation Dairy has been conducted combining these elements) Neighbourhood Policing Teams (NPTs) take the lead in:
• Working with voluntary and statuary agencies and Drug Intervention Programmes (DIP) to identify street workers and refer into agencies;
• Taking enforcement action against kerb crawlers, none engaging sex workers and brothels and other establishments where sex is sold;
• Working with partners to address anti social behaviour issues associated with sex workers, both on and off street, for example through the use of ASBOs and planning regulations.
iv. Additionally the Leeds based North East Immigration Crime Team located with the UK Boarder Agency liaises with the UK Human Trafficking Centre in relation to women trafficked for sex, conducts those investigations and coordinates Divisional responses.
v. The Force strategic Safeguarding Board is overseeing the development of Force policy in this area and work is currently being undertaken by the Homicide and Major Enquiry Team (HMET) and Crime Division to review practice and policy in the light of the work undertaken by Suffolk and the recent Problem Profile conducted in Bradford. The current Bradford Strategy has been circulated amongst district leads as best practice.
2. Relationships with drug agencies.
i. Bradford has an effective partnership structure to refer sex workers into appropriate services. The Prostitution Strategic Partnership consisting of senior staff from partner organisations and Chaired by Superintendent Cotter oversees a monthly Vice Tactical Group meeting attended by voluntary and statutory support agencies such as: the Bradford District police Vice Team, Bradford DIP, the Probation Service, the local authority, Bradford Working Women’s Service (WWS), Ripple (Drug and Alcohol Services), the Bridge Project (drug treatment ), the Together Women Project (TWP) and other local groups. This group actively case manages individuals based on an assessment of the risk to themselves, families and the community. WWS has a service user group which ensures feedback is given to the agencies involved in this service delivery. Over 5 days this month 79 women accessed the WWS drop in service, approximately a third of whom made follow up visits. In a recent operation 34 women were out reached on the streets by the DIP team.
ii. In Leeds, Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield there are currently no formal partnership arrangements implementing a similar case conferencing model. The police work closely with the voluntary services which exist, for example the Sex Worker Empowerment Education and Training project (SWEET), co-located with the Kirklees council Safer Communities Team, and Lifeline in Kirklees, the Calderdale Women’s Centre in Halifax, Genesis in Leeds and the Well Women’s Centre and Turning Point in Wakefield (this list is not exhaustive). Kirklees will begin holding meetings on the 6th of July between the Kirklees police Safeguarding Unit and the SWEET project to begin exploring a Bradford type case conferencing model. The police refer into TWP in Leeds and Bradford.
iii. Police interaction with street workers requiring drug services is primarily through the Drugs and Offender Management Unit (DOMU) which includes the police element of the DIP teams. In Leeds DIP officers accompany workers from the Crime Reduction Initiative (CRI), the commissioned provider within Leeds DIP, on outreach visits to sex workers in the red light districts in order to engage them in treatment. Across the county sex workers may be drug tested upon arrest (either for prostitution related or other offences) and then be subject to required appointments with the DIP teams and referral on into services.
iv. Sex workers identified in operations against premises are also offered these services.
3. Sex Workers Cooperatives.
West Yorkshire Police are not aware that any such group operates in West Yorkshire. We are engaged with individuals and groups in the third sector that have direct links with sex work.