Last week Chief Constables met in Yorkshire for two days and discussed a broad range of matters.
Opening day one, Chief Constable Simon Bailey gave an update on child sexual exploitation. Activity against online child exploitation has been stepped-up and every police force is now using a central Child Abuse Image Database, or CAID, which allows forces to streamline the process of investigating cases involving indecent images of children by reducing the need to repeatedly grade the same image.
Council also approved a new Child Safeguarding Action Plan designed to professionalise and standardise the police response to all aspects of child safeguarding. Recognising the importance of stopping harm before it happens, as well as putting victims first, the four main themes are ‘Prepare’, ‘Prevent’, ‘Protect’ and ‘Pursue.’
Chief Constable Simon Bailey update on Child Protection
Following the terrorist attacks in Paris, we looked closely at our ability to respond to a similar incident here in the UK. Earlier this month it was announced that 1,500 extra firearms officers would be trained using a combination of local funding and Home Office grant. Chiefs then went through the proposals in more detail and offered feedback to NPCC leads Deputy Chief Constable Simon Chesterman and Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley. Especially, they were concerned about the need to recruit significant numbers of officers into firearms roles. We rely on officers volunteering for these difficult roles and it is vital that officers feel that they will be supported and treated fairly in cases where lethal force is used.
Chief Constable Steve Finnigan gave an overview of the most recent HMIC PEEL inspections and his latest conversations and meetings with HMIC. Over the last five years, there has been a move away from targets in policing and Chief Constable Alan Pughsley shared the approach in his force. While Kent police do measure their performance, they have no targets at any level. The Chairman of Kent Police Federation attended and explained how officers now felt able to get on with the job, protecting the public and cutting crime rather than chasing targets.
The Policing and Crime Bill introduces a duty to collaborate on the three emergency services, and I established a working group with the fire chiefs several months ago. A presentation by Chief Constable Alec Wood and Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) President Paul Hancock summarised current thinking - looking mainly at the aims, principles and path any future programme might adopt. Chiefs were cautious about the appropriateness and feasibility of a national plan, given that a very different picture has emerged locally. However we wanted the working group to look at what was happening nationally, identify what was working and the plans that are in place in order to share approaches and any concerns.
Chief Constable Alec Wood update on Police and Fire Service Collaboration
The NPCC works closely with a range of organisations including the College of Policing, National Crime Agency, Association of Police & Crime Commissioners and Home Office. In an increasingly global world, however, these relationships can no longer begin and end with our physical borders. For the first time ever, Chief Constables’ Council hosted a serving FBI Director. On Thursday James Comey joined the meeting to discuss encryption and the challenges posed by modern technology. While our countries have many differences it was clear that some of the challenges were similar and we all agreed on the importance of continued international cooperation.
Notes to readers
We will blog about the discussions and decisions at CCC after each meeting.
Of course, there are some parts of the discussions at CCC that cannot made by public at the time of writing because relate to information that has been classified as restricted or secret.
The minutes of this meeting will be published at a later date.
If you have any questions about anything in this blog or any feedback, please get in touch. Because of the nature of the meeting and what is discussed, there may be some information requests that we cannot meet. We will always try to answer your questions as fully as we can.