March 2017
The latest newsletter from the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner.
View this email in your browser

PCC Blog: Finally! Tougher penalties for drivers on mobile phones come into force

I’ve dedicated much of my career to road safety, it is one of the issues I feel most strongly about.

Over the years, I’ve fought many battles and campaigns for safer roads: the most notable being the introduction of the ban on driving while talking on a handheld phone back in 2003 while a Transport Minister.

This is why I’m delighted to see even tougher penalties for this crime now being brought in.

From now on, anyone caught driving while on a handheld phone will face six points on their licence and a £200 fine – tougher action that, in my opinion, is long overdue.

After all, this is about saving lives. Studies have found that motorists who talk on their handheld phone while driving are four times more like to crash.

But I want it to go further: I want to see those tough new fines devolved to local police forces.

What could be more fitting than having dangerous drivers pay for road safety policing instead of general taxpayers?

I am calling for our cash-strapped police forces to benefit from the higher fines and be given that cash to help keep our roads safe.

I hope that the government listens to this and brings in this sensible, cost-free change to help police enforce the ban. It will also ensure that offenders pay for road safety instead of general taxpayers.

If you’d like to read the letter I wrote to the Transport Secretary previously calling for this, click here.

SOLD! Rolex watches are top of the lots in police auction

Three Rolex watches stripped from criminals in the West Midlands have sold at auction for more than £10,000.

The watches went under the hammer along with other seized items including jewellery, designer clothes, mountain bikes and bottles of brandy, vodka and whisky

The ill-gotten gains up for auction were a mixture of court seizures and Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) and Police Property Act (PPA) items.

POCA and PPA cash goes into West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner's £1 million  Active Citizens Fund, which supports good causes around the region.

The sold West Midlands Police lots included:

  • A Rolex Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master II for £6,000
  • A Rolex Submariner for £3,000
  • A Rolex Datejust for £1,300
  • A 9ct gold chain for £1,600
  • Bottles of whisky, brandy and vodka for £65
  • A Carrera Virtuoso boke for £70
  • Three North Face jackets for £200
  • A collection of radiators for £20

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: "These tainted trinkets are the result of people's suffering: criminals preyed on victims to earn their dirty money.
"This auction sends a strong message that crime doesn't pay and justice catches up with criminals in the end.
"It is great to see that ill-gotten gains helping community projects across the West Midlands. The money raised from these auctions will make a difference to active citizens across the region."
Chris Aston of Aston's Auctioneers added: "These West Midlands Police auctions are the most exciting auctions we hold - with the biggest variety of items on offer - and they certainly make a change from the traditional antique auctions like people are used to seeing on TV.

"The best part for both ourselves and the bidders is the fact that all of the items are sold 'without reserve' so items start off very low, attracting plenty of bids and ultimately selling to the highest bidder with a 100% sale rate - the very definition of the word auction."

For the full auction list and pictures, visit the Aston's website here and click 'past auctions February 21'

West Midlands Police judged ‘good’ in the latest HMIC police inspection

In the latest PEEL Effectiveness report, West Midlands Police has been assessed as 'good' overall by Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary (HMIC). 

The report, which rates every police force in the country, says West Midlands Police is good at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe.

The force was also assessed as good at investigating crime and reducing re-offending, with inspectors praising the new crime recording process which ensures victims are regularly updated.

The report says improvement is required in investigating offences involving vulnerable victims and working with other public service organisations to keep people safe. It recommends better risk assessment of domestic abuse victims and missing children.

The force is good at tackling serious and organised crime, with HMIC saying there is a variety of effective projects in place to deter people from becoming involved.

HMIC acknowledges that the force has effective specialist capabilities and is well prepared to respond to an attack which requires an armed response and has thoroughly assessed the threat of a terrorist attack.

Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: "I welcome this report showing that West Midlands Police is effective at keeping people safe, preventing and reducing crime. 

"I recognise that there are improvements that need to be made to safeguarding and will work the force bring them about."

Deputy Chief Constable Louisa Rolfe added: "We continue to strive to reduce crime and ensure our communities are safe places for the residents and visitors of the West Midlands force area.

"We are pleased with the outcome of the report and that HMIC recognises the work we are doing.

"We acknowledge that improvements still need to be made in protecting vulnerable members of our society and we are continuing to invest in our Public Protection Unit, which has significantly increased in size in recent years and continues to do so.

"A team dedicated to finding missing people has been introduced in the past year aimed at reducing the time and resources required to return missing people to safety and providing support to prevent them from being absent again in the future."

PCC office welcomes work experience students

The office of the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner is welcoming work experience students through its doors.

A number of young people are finding out what life is like working for the PCC and learning about all things policing.

The first students were Nina Lelidou, aged 16, and Thasniya Parvin, 17, who spent time with all departments within the office - from the communications team to the victims experts, PCC and everyone in between.

At the end of their week, the students wrote about their experiences.

Thasniya wrote: "I have really enjoyed working at the Police and Crime Commissioner's office this week. I have learned many things in the space of five days, from using the diary planner to learning about crime rates and the PCC's involvement in counter-terrorism.

"One thing I enjoyed most was attending a meeting with the Commissioner at West Bromwich Police Station as I learned a lot about how money which is taken from crimes is used to benefit the community. I found this very interesting as I did not know what the money was used for."

Nina added: "Working with the Police and Crime Commissioner as part of my work experience has been a great opportunity. 

"The PCC staff were very friendly and welcoming, as well as helpful and informative.

"During my work experience week, I became more willing and determined to develop different qualities, such as my communication skills, even further as it will be useful for the career I would like to pursue in the future."

News Bulletins
  • Interested in the police budget and council tax policing precept? The 2017/18 finances leaflet is now available. Click here for the easy-to-read information.
  • Assistant PCC Judy Foster attended an event at Coventry Women’s Voices. CWV is an independent group of women’s organisations and individuals that have come together to ensure women’s voices are heard when policy is made in Coventry. The Assistant PCC delivered a speech on women’s rights, equality and empowerment.
  • Don’t forget to take part in a major new study to investigate hate crime in the West Midlands and to shape the development of improved support services for victims. The research, which is led by the University of Leicester and funded by the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, will be led by Dr Stevie-Jade Hardy and Professor Neil Chakraborti from the university’s Centre for Hate Studies within the Department of Criminology between February and April 2017. You can take part here.

Assistant PCC Blog: Judy Foster

March 8th was International Women’s Day and the theme this year was Be Bold For Change, calling on people to help forge a more equal working world.

West Midlands Police has always been a pioneer when it comes to women’s rights and I am proud of its strong and spirited history.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the force’s first female officers and, today, there are more than 2,000, including Deputy Chief Constable Louisa Rolfe, Assistant Chief Constable Michele Larmour and scores of Commanders and unit heads.

The office of the PCC is also dedicated to inclusion and equality and 67 per cent of our staff are female. I am also extremely proud of the hard work being carried out by the office in fields that disproportionally affect women, including domestic violence, coercive control and honour-based violence.

International Women’s Day is a great opportunity to take stock of where we’ve been, where we’re going and what we need to do to Be Bold For Change in the future.

Copyright © 2017 Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner West Midlands, All rights reserved.

Our postal address is:
Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner West Midlands, Lloyd House, Colmore Circus Queensway, Birmingham, B4 6NQ
unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences