Delivering policing in a new way Date published: 29th July 2015 12am
In early July the Constabulary switched to a new way of delivering policing to you.
After months of planning and preparation we embarked on the biggest change to policing Cheshire in a generation.
There was a feeling of anxiety in some quarters as we switched off the computer systems to allow them to be reprogrammed to cope with the changes, but crossing fingers worked and everything switched over really well.
Senior colleagues and I were out across the Force to see how the changes were working. The good news is that so far, aside from some minor admin problems, things are going well.
In fact, from what I saw, a real buzz about the place with officers and staff enthused about a new sense of direction coupled with a tangible investment in frontline support.
So what have we done? Firstly removed bureaucracy and layer of leadership to create 8 new Local Policing Units each led by a Chief Inspector responsible for policing where you live. Full details are on our website, which is about to be upgraded at the end of the month.
We have moved 130 Police Officers posts to boost frontline numbers and continue to recruit new officers to take the total workforce to nearly 2000 officers for the county.
We have created a new Public Protection Command with specialist officers and staff dedicated to investigating some of the most odious and harmful crimes like sexual offences, child abuse and domestic abuse.
We have also created a new Task Force of uniform officers with specialist skills to help Local Policing Units keep the organised criminals on the back foot.
And we have opened a new ‘War Room’ or Ops Centre to directly task those officers with front line intelligence about criminal activity as it breaks out.
All told, an awful lot of change but we are already seeing results as we hunt for wanted criminals and attack crime groups who peddle drugs on our streets – and there’s lots more to come.
Celebration and a sense of fun too as I joined the Police and Crime Commissioner in a historic photo call with 100 recruits in training – our biggest number in years and a boost to neighbourhood policing.
So some early optimism about how the Force is shaping up.
It would be remiss of course not to reflect on the impact of the explosion and fire at a wood factory at Bosley in East Cheshire. Talk of change and optimism will sound very hollow if you have lost a family member, friend or relative in this tragic incident.
Clearly a major incident like this has been an early test of working in a different way alongside rehearsed practices and procedures for dealing with an event on this scale.
Now is not the time to go into details but some are inspiring tales of courage, resilience and determination will emerge over time. Suffice to say, our working relationship with other blue light colleagues has been superb, complemented by help from Cheshire Search and Rescue and the Salvation Army.
So on your behalf, condolences and admiration in equal measure.