Chief Constable's update
Chief Constable's Update February 2017
Chief Constable's Update February 2017 video transcript
Hello, I'm filming this review from the Centre of Criminology in Oxford where we're supporting a number of our colleagues to have some debates and listen to some of the research that's been conducted into policing issues. This is a really important part of their continuous professional development. I'm sure many will carry on and go into further learning in this area.
At the beginning of the month we announced we were launching spit guards for use by officers in Thames Valley. In 2015/16, 784 officers were assaulted by members of the public and about 25% of them were the result of spitting. This is a truly horrible thing to be subjected to and it's really important that I protect my officers who are out on patrol protecting members of the public. After looking at the evidence but also the number of assaults, we've decided to roll out spit guards. The Police and Crime Commissioner is fully supportive of this move. I'm really grateful for the support we've had from members of the public who have commented on their introduction. I know they can be controversial at times but it's really important that we provide our officers with the appropriate equipment to be able to protect themselves from this sort of act.
Later on in February, we will be opening up for requirement of Police Officers again. I hope that many people will consider policing as a career, it's a fantastic opportunity to do something really rewarding and exciting. But I just wanted to let you know about some changes we've made to the entry requirements, many of you will know that we require a level three qualification - that has traditionally been two A-Levels grade A to C but given the changes to the education system requirements and also so we can compare A-Levels with other non-vocational qualifications and also international qualifications, we've decided to change that to a pass at an A-Level, to passes at A-Level - grades A to E. Please look out on the website for more information about entry level requirements and how you can fill in the application form.
You might have seen the announcement about the Police budget earlier on in February. This was signed off by the Police and Crime panel and the Police and Crime Commissioner which means that we will have a flat line budget over the next three years, assuming that the council tax is increased and also that the government maintains it's commitment to a flatline budget in future years. But as with all organisations, we do have pressures on our finite resources, pressures around inflation and some new costs that we hadn't necessarily has been expecting. But also increases in operational areas where we've had to invest in new priority areas and I've talked previously about investing in areas like child abuse and domestic abuse. We have to look at how we manage our finite resources and sometimes that means we have some difficult decisions. We're also doing some workforce modernisation, some of the posts which traditionally have been Police Officers are now going to be Police Staff roles. What that has meant is that over the next year there will be a reduction in total Police Officer numbers of 59 but actually, we will see an increase in the number of Police Staff roles because of the workforce modernisation. And I'm working hard with all of my colleagues to make sure the important thing is not the numbers, but actually the service we provide to members of the public.
This month we've seen a number of high-profile incidents happening across Thames Valley. We've had the explosion in Oxford and also unfortunately, a number of murders. Our officers and staff are working really hard to make sure that we reassure members of the public but also to bring the people responsible to justice. I'm really grateful for all the hard work of our staff but also for the support we're getting from members of the public at these times.
The last thing I want to mention is the change in legislation that's happening at the beginning of March around the use of mobile phones whilst driving. I'm sure everyone remembers the tragic incidents which happened on the A34 last year the very moving tributes paid by members of the family and also the warnings they gave to all of us about the use of mobile phones. The penalties will increase at the beginning of March from three points and £100 fine to six points on your license and a £200 fine. We will be having a big campaign at the beginning of March across the country and we will be part of that within Thames Valley. Please think really carefully - using your mobile phone is a massive distraction whilst driving and does have horrific consequences, not just for you but for many, many other people. If you do think about using your mobile phone, not only will you be caught and prosecuted - do think about the other consequences.