Monday saw me attending the West Sussex Divisional Awards Ceremony in Arundel. A variety of awards were presented to officers, staff, volunteers and members of the public for displaying outstanding courage, leadership, partnership, personal responsibility, justice, public service and compassion. More about the awards later.
Tuesday saw me in Crawley meeting my new boss. We chatted about some of the things I am working on and involved in— ASB, Hate Crime, Community Resolution, engaging with hard to reach, under represented and at risk groups, Street Watch, Street Pastors, Redeeming our Communities, Specials, Volunteers, Information Sharing, LGBT communities, Neighbourhood Policing Review Implementation, Social Media, Customer Service Improvement, Organised Immigration Crime, Human Trafficking and Exploitation and starting a piece of work that will see us working more closely with partners to improve the lives of what the Government term ‘Troubled Families’.
Wednesday saw me back in Crawley catching up with a couple of colleagues to discuss the progress of and next steps for increasing the divisional and force wide understanding of Organised Immigration Crime and Human Trafficking and Exploitation. A great deal of preparatory work has been completed and we now need to give staff and the wider community information that will help them identify and investigate incidents of this nature.
It was then on to a meeting with the Neighbourhood Policing and Response Superintendent and Response Team Inspectors. During the meeting discussions included our response to ‘repeat’ missing people, effective deployment of staff to incidents, efficient handling of complaints, custody issues and standards regarding behaviour and dress. All present were totally committed to supporting front line staff to deliver a good service.
Thursday saw me in Lewes for the day. Firstly I attended the Neighbourhood Policing Review Implementation Group where representatives from divisions, training and the Police Authority discussed progress being made with regard to the agreed improvements in Neighbourhood Policing. Ten of the twelve Community Engagement Officers have been appointed across the county. Plans are in place to recruit the Coordinators who will support the day to day running of NPTs to allow colleagues to spend more of their time on the street and in communities. We also discussed the long awaited training that is now available to NPT staff in such areas as media and meeting management, problem solving, engagement and anti-social behaviour to name a few. We discussed work that is being done around the shift pattern and allowing districts to develop working patterns that are more bespoke to their engagement and demand profiles, as well as a performance and an engagement framework. Lots achieved already but more to do.
I was able to catch up with some work in the Foundation Training office before my evening meeting.
The evening saw the fifth External Reference Group meeting for LGBT matters. There were some new faces from LGBT communities across Sussex who met the new LGBT Champion for Sussex Police, Supt. Laurence Taylor.
The group discussed and moved forward work to increase trust and confidence within LGBT communities by debating the makeup of a soon to be published survey that would seek to understand the under reporting of crime against LGBT people based on hate or prejudice. The group discussed its desire for positive outcomes in LGBT hate crime cases to be publicised externally and the chance to review and understand previous cases and procedures that were felt would assist in increasing trust and confidence. The ability to look at and discuss figures in relation to reported crimes and outcomes across the county was an area that would be progressed for the next meeting.
I have been involved in this group since its first meeting and am pleased with the geographic and demographic mix of members and the openness and quality of debate. I really do believe the work of the group will not only be a force for good in relation to increasing trust and confidence within LGBT communities but in other minority groups as well.
Friday morning saw me catch up with David Merrington who is conducting the post implementation review into Community Resolution (CR). I am such a strong advocate of the restorative justice approach and am pleased at having been asked to speak about Community Resolution – Sussex Police’s practical application of restorative justice – to groups of magistrates, colleagues, store detectives, partners, prospective PCC candidates and members of the ‘shadow’ Police and Crime Panel I couldn’t miss the opportunity to input into this important review.
So what did I say to David?
Community Resolution is well embedded within Sussex Police with over 6,000 cases successfully completed. Victim feedback is overwhelmingly positive about this additional disposal option. I do feel however we need to do more to promote the benefits of Level 2 CR – round the table conferencing – as the potential benefits for all parties are huge, we need to provide examples of cases and outcomes to officers and victims as there is a lack of direction as to the sorts of outcomes that can be proposed. This has led on occasions to the agreed outcomes being insufficient for some victims, especially some large retailers. We are doing some work to provide information that will allow victims to propose outcomes that are more meaningful to them.
I also believe we need to do more work to explain to officers and victims that the real benefits of CR are in allowing victims to reflect on the harm caused to them and to convey that to the perpetrator through the proposed outcomes.
CR has proved to be hugely successful across Sussex and with a little bit more work I know we can make it more meaningful and rewarding to all parties, even perpetrators.
Wow, what a week. A couple of days off and I start all over again.