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Police Chiefs' Blog: Martin Hewitt - Chief Constables Council January 2021
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Data Protection Day
Police Chiefs' Blog: Martin Hewitt - Chief Constables Council January 2020
International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers
Drones and the police
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Almost eight weeks in and, like many others, I have scoured the web seeking out advice on mastering the best way to write a blog but soon realised that there is no set way. One thing I picked up is, “Writing blog posts people want to read is a matter of speaking honestly and openly about a subject you're passionate about”. That seems simple enough!

So first thing first, NPoCC of course. If I am honest, I am just starting to fully understand where and how it fits within UK policing. I am seeing how my role helps knit together chief constables, PCCs and government stakeholders so that we have a good overview of policing capability that can, if required, be mobilised to support the national policing response to large scale operations and events. That doesn’t mean we are redundant outside of crisis though. A friend of mine said to me “what do you do all day when there isn’t a crisis ?”.Every week NPoCC helps to arrange for forces to borrow officers with specialist skills from other forces when they need them, which assists in the prevention and detection of crime and keeping the public safe.

In the last couple of months, we have provided regional and national mutual aid for specialist search capability, helicopter pilots, public order officers and even specialist detectives.

Some may say “hang on a minute aren’t there enough specialists in police forces?”and often there are but sharing specialist assets across policing at times of over-demand is the most efficient and effective way, rather than having skills waiting to be utilised.

UK Disaster Victim Identification (UK DVI) also sits within NPoCC with officers and staff from across the UK supporting the investigation into the Malaysian Airliner crash over the Ukraine.They work in difficult and dangerous conditions to support the UK policing response.

Another major programme NPoCC is undertaking, in support of Chief Constable Peter Vaughan, is mapping specialist policing skills so that there is central inventory of the skills in policing nationwide. The only way British policing can understand if it has the national capacity to deal with the threats faced is to undertake this mapping. This will then allow us to see how we can best meet the threats outlined in the Strategic Policing Requirement and, in a time of financial challenges, be efficient whilst maintaining effectiveness. Put simply, have we got enough skills and experience in the right place to meet the demands we face nationally?

Staff recruitment is also a real challenge, especially a role like analysts. We seem to struggle against market forces where the private sector can pay more if it chooses. It makes it hard sometimes to keep really valuable staff. If our staff are that good, should we not be able to pay them the going rate to stop them leaving? Controversial or good sense? Job stability is also a factor for some, especially when living in London.

I have also been busy meeting existing and new partners including the Home Office, whom of course provide our funding, but also the Civil Contingencies Secretariat and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. National Policing Lead for Civil Contingencies, Assistant Chief Constable ACC Paul Netherton has been helping me understand how we plan and prepare for emergencies in the UK. He also took me to my first COBR exercise on Ebola, where I learnt an enormous amount which will help me when I have to go alone!

It has also been a pleasure getting to know my other assistant chief constable colleagues around the UK who head up the Regional Information & Coordination Centres (RICC’s), which act as a link to forces for NPoCC when mutual aid is requested.

I recently attended the launch of a new book called “Beyond the Call of Duty: Untold Stories of Britain’s Bravest Police Officers” written by Ben Ando, a BBC journalist, and Nick Kinsella, a former Detective Chief Superintendent.Some of the officers written about were there and their bravery is humbling.

One of the stories was about unarmed officers pursuing and tackling armed criminals who had already shot at them. Every day a largely unarmed police service heads out with no idea what dangers they will face, sometimes with tragic consequences, yet despite that they continue to serve and protect communities. Sometimes it’s worth pausing and remembering all the very good things that British policing does, 365 days a year, day and night. For every book purchased, a donation also goes to the Police Dependant's Trust, which was set up after the murder of three police officers in Shepherds Bush in 1966.

Sadly my new boss, Sir Hugh Orde, has announced his retirement. Here is someone who has been a dedicated police leader for over nearly 38 years and is driven by doing good for the police service and the public we serve. It is not until you work with someone that you see exactly what they do. Amongst many things, Sir Hugh was the man who reformed policing in Northern Ireland, sometimes we forget this.I will miss him.

I have also been trying to get into Twitter. I try and balance some facts with good humour and humility. I am still very much a learner and have been direct messaged by well meaning friends and followers over spelling mistakes - thanks for your openness and feedback! Twitter etiquette is also a tricky one, I didn’t follow one person who followed me and they got most upset!Sorry..

CG2Last week I met Malachi Tyler, a little boy blinded through inoperable brain tumours. His issues have really struck a chord with me and many colleagues in the police, especially those on Kingston Borough, and we are doing all we can to support his family. Ahead of a new round of chemotherapy in January, we arranged a special day out for him and his family last week with a visit to Downing Street, a meet and greet with the police horses at Great Scotland Yard, an opportunity to run NPoCC for the afternoon and a visit to Scotland Yard.

None of this would have been possible without the love and support of police officers, staff and the very many friendly faces at Downing Street, so thank you for making it a great day.

Government data indicates over 11 million people in the UK have some form of disability, up to one million being children. There are some excellent charities out there who will work with the police on this; one is Changing Faces and another is the National Mentoring Consortium, both of whom do an amazing job and have really helped me and my former force, the City of London Police, develop a clearer understanding of things.

I welcome any feedback or questions on my blog to or on Twitter @CmdrChrisGreany