Christmas 2016
The latest newsletter from the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner.
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PCC Blog: Merry Christmas – and thank you for your support in 2016

First things first: Merry Christmas to each and every one of you and here’s to a happy and healthy 2017.

This year has flown by but, looking back, there have been so many highlights and achievements along the way.
On a personal level, being re-elected back in May with the highest mandate outside of London was incredibly humbling. Thank you to all who voted and put their confidence in me.

My main election promise throughout the campaign was the recruitment of more police officers and I’m now delivering on that. The recruitment of 800 officers has now begun, with more than 3,000 people from all walks of life applying for the posts. The recruitment of 200 specialist support staff and 150 PCSOs will soon follow – and I’m sure we can all agree this is great news for the West Midlands.

One of the things I’m most proud of is changing the law surrounding zombie knives. For 12 months, I led a campaign to get these vile weapons removed from our shops and streets and I finally achieved a nationwide ban in August. This moment was particularly poignant as I felt we broke new ground in what PCCs can achieve.

Another pioneering moment was my public hearing into the unacceptable 24-hour delays on the M6 that brought the region to a standstill and saw patients unable to get to hospital, people missing funerals and pregnant women trapped in cars for hours at a time. I decided to step in and do something about and brought all the relevant parties together to thrash out the issues and come up with improvements. A follow-up meeting was held yesterday and you can read more about it further in this newsletter.

These are just a handful of the achievements we’ve clocked up in 2016 and I’m confident there’s many more to come in 2017. The hard work has only just begun and the future is looking bright for the West Midlands and its outstanding police force.

Once again, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all.

Follow-up hearing into chronic M6 delays

Delays on the M6 following the crash
“We’ve come a long way since February but we still have an incredible amount of work to do” – these are the words of West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson as he hosted his follow-up hearing into chronic motorway delays.
The hearing revealed a number of improvements have been made to how major incidents are dealt with on the motorway network, both regionally and nationally. The improvements include extra training for police officers, the immediate mobilisation of repair teams and a dedicated hotline to Highways England.
The follow-up meeting was held on December 20 to see how the response to emergencies on the motorway has improved since a fatal crash on the M6 in February.
It followed an initial hearing on March 18 that looked into why the M6 remained closed for 24 hours following the tragic incident on February 4.  As a result, people were stranded in their cars and vans for hours, with hospital appointments, family funerals and business meetings and deliveries missed – costing the regional economy millions.
During that initial hearing, 11 recommendations were made. This new meeting - which was webcast live from Lloyd House in Birmingham – checked on the progress since then.
Improvements have included:
  • Much more information put on police logs for all agencies to use.
  • Highways England now has earlier supervised access to crash sites to assess the carriageway and traffic management needs.
  • More training for CMPG and Highways England officers.
  • Highways England now mobilises repair materials to incidents immediately.
  • Major incident training workshops led by Highways England.
  • Highways England now has a major incident hotline where its partners can reach it straight away.
  • Highways England is working to improve its social media output so it can connect with drivers quicker. The police has also boosted real-time information on its social media feeds.
  • Improved communication and collaboration between all agencies.
  • Damaged road surfaces are now planed down, allowing traffic to get moving again quicker.
  • A fact-finding visit to London’s traffic control centre, which managed the Olympic Games traffic issues, has been organised to learn lessons about how they deal with major incidents and events.
The hearing was told how these improvements have already strengthened the response to incidents on the motorway – nationally as well as regionally. For example, following a severe fire on the M6 northbound earlier this year, all three damaged lanes were resurfaced much earlier as a result of these new ways of working.

However, there is still much work to be done and the upcoming construction of HS2 poses other challenges all groups will need to take into account.

Following the hearing, an initial report will be published before Christmas, followed by a more in-depth document in the new year. The PCC will also be meeting government ministers about the issues and the work he has done.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: “These hearings have proved to be extremely worthwhile, with a number of improvements made as a result. This just goes to show what PCCs can achieve if they think a little differently.

“We’ve come a long way since February but we still have an incredible amount of work to do. Obviously, HS2 is the elephant in the room and if things aren’t spot on now, the challenges will be truly vast - the process of construction could seriously undermine our economy during that time. We need to make sure we are prepared for HS2 and its construction doesn’t bring our region to a standstill.

“One thing is certain, the problems we have on the roads cannot be solved by one organisation: they are issues for all of us and we must all play our part. The Combined Authority will have a major role in bringing all these things together.”

Have your say on council tax changes in the West Midlands

The current policing precepts for Band D households for forces around the country. West Midlands is red
People can have their say on the new West Midlands Police budget.

Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson has launched his consultation process for 2017/18 – and wants to hear from residents and businesses.

The Commissioner is responsible for setting the budget, including the local policing precept, which is the part of council tax that goes to the force and funds officers and vital services.

The Commissioner is asking people for their thoughts on a £5-a-year – the equivalent of 10p a week - increase on the precept. This is an amount that would protect local policing and recruit new officers to the force. Even with the £5-a-year rise, people in the West Midlands would still be paying £60 less than in neighbouring Staffordshire, West Mercia and Warwickshire.

The West Midlands Police precept is the second lowest in the country at just £111.55 per annum (for a Band D council taxpayer) compared to the highest of £220.19 in Surrey. In comparison to forces similar to West Midlands, the next nearest precept level is Greater Manchester at £157.30.

If the police precept is frozen at its current levels, West Midlands Police will lose out on approximately £3.4m per annum, which will mean a total loss in funding of at least £10.2m by 2019/20. This loss of funding would have a significant impact on policing across the West Midlands with inevitable reductions in service.

As part of the Comprehensive Spending Review last year, the Chancellor gave forces with historically low precepts, such as West Midlands, the ability to raise their precept by £5 per annum, compared to two per cent for other areas. In official Government documents, the Home Office and Treasury have assumed that all Police Crime and Commissioners will increase the precept by the maximum amount each year over the next four years. That increase would maintain police funding at its current level and fill the gap in funding from the Government, who are continuing to cut the amount of money they give to West Midlands Police. Therefore it is essentially a Government requirement that police precepts are increased by the maximum amount to maintain local police funding. That is without taking into account increased fuel costs, inflation and other increased costs since last year.

The Commissioner is seeking people’s views on the level of precept for 2017/18 in his consultation survey here. The consultation will run until January 27 2017 at 5pm.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: “The public have made it clear to me that despite government cuts they want local neighbourhood policing to be protected. To protect neighbourhood policing and get the force ready for the new threats the West Midlands faces, I am recruiting 800 officers, 150 PCSOs and 200 specialist police staff.

“However, the government has made it equally clear that to cover its reduction in police funding, it expects PCCs to increase council tax precept by the maximum amount. In the West Midlands that would mean council tax increasing by £5 a year or just under 10p a week for a Band D council taxpayer.

“Before I make my final decision on the local policing precept, I want to hear the views of the public. Please get in touch and fill in our online survey."

PCC attends Prince Michael International Road Safety Awards

Assistant PCC Ashley Bertie, HRH Prince Michael of Kent, PCC David Jamieson
PCC David Jamieson attended the Prince Michael International Road Safety Awards, which celebrate achievement and innovation in road safety worldwide.

The awards were an opportunity to learn about the very latest road safety initiatives and pick up best practice ways of working.

The main categories cover road safety management, safer roads, safer vehicles, safer road users and post-crash responses.

The PCC is a director on the Roadsafe Board, of which HRH Prince Michael of Kent is the patron and Nigel Mansell the vice patron.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: “This was a wonderful event that celebrated people who work tirelessly to make our roads safer.

“I found it an inspirational evening and left with lots of ideas about things we could bring to the West Midlands.

“Road safety was the top concern from members of the public during the consultation stage of my Police and Crime Plan and I will do all I can in make our road network safer and stronger.”

The awards were held in London on December 13. People attended from all over the world, with representatives from the Department for Transport, DVSA, Highways Agency, RAC Foundation for Motoring, Michelin, Shell and Volvo.

The full list of winners is here
News Bulletins
  • Around 100 people attended the 2016 West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Youth Summit at Tally Ho! on December 13. The summit focused on young people and the issues that matter to them, including safer travel, internet safety, digital policing and the dangers of sexting. Brand new Youth Commissioners - who are the voices of their peers when it comes to matters of policing and crime in the region – were also welcomed to their roles.
  • Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson is backing West Midlands Police’s two Christmas safety campaigns. Supported by his Assistants, Judy Foster and Ashley Bertie, the PCC is endorsing the force’s bids to tackle drink/drug driving and domestic abuse during the festive period.
  • Assistant Police and Crime Commissioner Judy Foster appeared on West Bromwich-based Venus TV to wish the region well at Christmastime. Councillor Foster also recapped a successful year for West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner and looked ahead to 2017.
  • West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson attended the West Midlands Police force carol service in the Bullring in Birmingham. Mr Jamieson thanked all those who took part and wished them well for the holidays.

Assistant PCC's blog: Ashley Bertie

This has been the biggest and busiest year of my life.

In June, after a vigorous selection process, I was appointed Assistant Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands and haven’t looked back since.
It has been whirlwind, with so many interesting projects and challenges landing on my desk.

Being only 25, one of my main priorities has been engaging with young people and I’m happy to say we’re making real progress towards the introduction of a West Midlands Police cadets scheme. I aim to have it up and running by this time next year and really engage with young people in communities where links with the police could be strengthened. This has the potential to be an inspiring and interesting scheme that could provide us with the next generation of police officers and instil leadership skills in our young people. 

Another subject I’ve really got to grips with this year is cyber crime. The second regional cyber crime survey is up and running and we’ll use the findings to shape services in the future. Please have your say here and help us ensure we’re making the right progress in the fight against this complex crime.

I’m already looking forward to 2017 and building on my portfolio, which also includes knife crime, gangs and violence, transport and animal crime. There is much work to be done but I’m confident we can make a difference in the West Midlands.

Finally, I’d like to wish you all a merry Christmas and a very happy new year. Thanks for supporting me in my new role: your well wishes have meant the world to me.

Thanks for reading,


And finally . . . 

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