Saturday, 30 April 2011


I have been working this bank holiday weekend but events have made me feel very proud to be part of the police service. I thought that the Metropolotan Police did a marvellous job of policing the Royal Wedding. They covered it in the right spirit and took decisive action against those who were intent on causing unforgiveable disruption. The sight of officers in tunics was outstanding. It shows the value of being smart and professional in the eyes of the public.

Today, I have been at Kendal and saw the Duke of Lanacster Regiment march through the town as part of the Freedom Parade. It was good to see their professionalism and discipline as they lined up outside Kendal Police Station.

If you think about the troubles abroad at the moment in places like Syria and Lybia, it makes you appreciate that our free country is blessed with a police service that is best in the world and on it's day can stand with the same pride and discipline as the military.

So, well done to the Metropolitan Police and well done to the Duke of Lancaster Regiment.

I have been banging the drum recently about police standards in South Cumbria and the need to be professional at all times - I think I'll bang on a bit more...

Monday, 18 April 2011

Face to Face

Over the last few weeks I have been meeting with police officers, PCSOs and police staff across South Cumbria. The purpose has been to listen to concerns and also to give me the opportunity to speak to my staff face to face so that I can set the direction of this command unit for the coming year.

My overridding impression is that South Cumbria is blessed with people who are highly committed to making South Cumbria safe.

These meetings have made me feel hugely proud to be the Area Commander. In the current climate of policing there is a real need for optimism with as much face to face between police leaders and our staff.

In the coming weeks, members of the senior management team including myself will be making a concerted effort to attend shift and team briefings across the Area.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

3 ways to Streamline Criminal Justice

The criminal justice system has been in the spotlight again this week with concerns raised yet again that it is not providing outcomes that people want.

Here’s my view on how the Criminal Justice System should be reformed:

  1. Early intervention i.e stop people entering. I think that local authorities should be held to account, supported by police and other agencies in reducing people who enter criminal justice. There is already a whole body of evidence of what works best from primary school work to Family Intervention Schemes.  At present, there is very little meaningful accountability to promote this kind of early intervention.

  1. Arrest to Court disposal. 40% of cases nationally are road traffic related. Is that what the public want along with the expense? Restorative Justice and Community Justice works as a deterrent and entry to the criminal justice system simply  places people on a 'life time conveyor belt'. It is better to reserve criminal justice only for those who really warrant prosecution. Public support is essential in achieving that balance.

The end to end process, from arrest to court needs radical overhaul. It remains far too bureaucratic with criminal justice partners such as the police and Crown Prosecution Service working in isolation. The CJS needs to be more integrated, digitalised and make best use of other technologies, including virtual courts. That would allow a defendant to appear in court by video link from prison, victims and witnesses at a place close to home and so on. Less costly, more effective.

  1. Stop re-offending . Again, we know what works. The Diamond Initiative in London for example has had fantastic success in reducing reoffending  by 18- 21 yr old. Nationally, we need to find out what works best and apply it. Police and other agencies should be held to account for reducing re-offending rates rather than crime and detection rates.  Currently, the minority of offenders commit the majority of crime – stop them re-offending and crime will come down further.

So, we should prevent people entering, tighten the end to end process and stop re-offending.

The introduction of Police and Crime Commissioners next year provides an opportunity to shape some of this work, making our world safer and transforming the current CJS into a world leading Criminal Justice Service.

It’s easy….

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Partnership Working in Barrow

This week I met with the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership in Barrow and I thought it might be of interest to people in Barrow to know what we do.

The partnership is made up of people who represent the community of Barrow and leaders from other agencies. The Group is chaired by Dave Coverdale from the Fire Service ( and winner of the recent Love Barrow Award! ).

Here's a sample of what we've achieved in Barrow:

  • 500 less crimes that last year.
  • Better use of Anti Social Behaviour ( ASB ) orders and Injunctions
  • Significant reductions in ASB.
  • Operation Siskin which was an operation in collaboration with Trading Standards targeting under age sales of alcohol.
  • Challenge 21: that's challenging people under 21 in the night time economy.
  • PCSOs enforcing new powers under the Clean Neighbourhoods scheme.
  • Promoting Furness Barwatch.
  • Significant reductions in violent crime making the town centre safer.
  • Better support to victims of domestic violence.
  • Multi agency work to tackle young offenders and prolific offenders.
There's a lot more and I will happy to expand on any of the above.

The partnership is made up of Barrow people working hard to make Barrow safer and stronger.

In my opinion, the Partnership is a credit to the town. If anybody thinks that the CDRP should be looking at other problems, I'll be happy to take any comments on this blog.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Criminal Justice - 'System' or 'Service'?

We have something called the Criminal Justice System in this country. Should it be a System or should it be a Service? What's the difference you might ask. For me, a System operates in isolation whereas a Service provides outcomes that meet the expectations of the people that it serves i.e you and me. If it is a service-and in my view, without question it should be - then it must take account of what the customers of that service want.

So, who are the customers? Obviously, that includes the general public and in particular victims and witnesses of crime. Also, 'customers' should include the key parties who could be classed as customers to each other i.e. the Police, The Crown Prosecution Service, the Courts, Probation, Voluntary services etc.

Exploring this customer service idea a bit further, what do you think people want?

Here goes. Did you know....

A national survey was recently carried out of 2000 adults, 1000 victims of crime and 500 police officers and here is what they said:

  • 8 out of 10 people said that community sentences are a soft punishment.
  • 3/4 of police officers thought that community sentences were given to offenders who ought to be jailed.
  • 2/3 of people thought prison life should be made harder for those on short jails sentences.
Does our current Criminal Justice System meet those expectations?

What do you think? Does this survey represent your view?  Do you think we are have a Criminal Justice 'System' or 'Service'?

I have a lot more to say about Criminal Justice but before I go on, I hope you'll say what you think.


Thanks to those who have taken the time to read my blogs and thank you very much for the comments so far. I think it's great  that some have taken the time to post a comment. It makes the blog worth doing. Best regards.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Police Visibility - time to move on.

The ongoing debate about frontline policing hit the news headlines this week with a report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary. There is a clear view from HMIC and chief constables around the country that the required savings cannot be made without an impact on the frontline. That is why there has been this debate about what the police frontline is.

Here’s my view. Yes the debate is important but I wonder whether the police service has lost sight of what the public see – or don’t see. Do the public care about what the frontline is?  I don’t think so. I think that they do care about seeing a visible and responsive police. So, do the numbers on the frontline matter?

Well it matters because we need to maximise our visibility and responsiveness – that’s about doing what it says on the tin. But there’s more because we can make better use of our staff by making sure that we have officers in the right place at the right time. We can also improve by taking better advantage of the skills of our excellent police staff.

In my view though, we need to move on from the public debate about the what the frontline is. The police and public  know that we have to face cuts and common sense tells us that the scale of the cuts will affect the number of police officers and the numbers of police staff who perform key roles within the police service.

In Cumbria for example, we will reduce by 100 police officers and over 230 members of police staff over the next 4 years. It will be huge challenge to continue to deliver a service equal to previous years. A tough challenge for the service and  tough for those individuals within the service.

The police service to it’s credit is doing what it does best and we are in the process of adapting.

The conversations that I have been having with our communities in South Cumbria are based on honesty and openness. We are not promising to be all things to all but we are saying that we remain committed to delivering the best possible police service with the numbers that we have. We have made changes which I have mentioned in previous blogs which I think will make our local police service better.

In moving on, I think we should talk less about the frontline and more about  how we provide the best quality service in meeting the needs and expectations of people within out communities.

In South Cumbria we are working really hard to meet and listen to our communities and details of meetings both in person and on line can be found on the Cumbria Constabulary  ( site link top right ). We are also working hard to be as visible to the public as we can. The feedback that I have had so far has been good.

If you are in South Cumbria, what do you think. Are the police visible?

Local Press article

Here's a link to a local press article by the North West Evening Mail regarding local policing in Barrow. It highlights some of the fantastic officers and staff working in South Cumbria and the good relationships we have with our communities. Thanks to the NWEM for the coverage.