In a world of competing demands we must have some way of prioritising. This is true in our own lives, our personal finances and in public policy. We expect our doctors to prioritise those most in need of care, and so similarly we all expect the police to prioritise as well. In recent years senior police officers across the country have developed an approach to prioritisation that looks at harm as the driver of decision making. The challenge is to balance competing harms.
Police forces up and down the country have adopted various acronyms for their methods of prioritisation such as THOR (Threat Hear Opportunity Risk) or THRIVE (Threat Harm Risk Investigation Vulnerability Engagement) or event THRIVE+. Fundamental to all of these decision making models is harm - and with good reason.
We all expect the police to protect us and our families from harm. Some would say it is what the emergency services exist for. It is easy to look at the extremes of harm in society, such as serious violence, sexual assault and child abuse. We would all agree that these are areas that the police should prioritise for prevention and response. So far so good.
Thankfully however a majority of people will not become victims of these “high harm” offences. When presented with a list of possible offences, I would expect most of us would identify these most serious of crimes as the highest priority. However, in the abstract, the concerns regularly raised by residents are much more likely to relate to anti-social behaviour, speeding or theft. These are the issues that are most likely to affect our communities and there remains a need to address these real life concerns.
In the complex system of policing, it must be possible to address multiple priorities at the same time. There is no simple trade off: a sexual assault may trump speeding, but both matter, albeit in different ways. This is critical not just because the offences themselves should be dealt with, but more fundamentally because we need to maintain confidence in the police.
Launching Thames Valley Talks
This month I have launched my own podcasts series. Conversations with interesting people about local and national issues affecting policing and politics across Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.
In addition to my monthly newsletter it is an opportunity to communicate with communities across the Thames Valley, and the podcast format allows a bit more time to explore some of the more complex issues in our lives.
Thames Valley Police smash recruitment target
Figures released last month show that Thames Valley Police have already exceeded their recruitment targets for this year.
As part of the Government's drive to deliver 20,000 additional police officers, Thames Valley has recruiting and deploying additional officers across Thames Valley.
In the first tranche of the national programme, 6,000 new officers were to be recruited by early next year. According to the Home Office plan Thames Valley had a target to recruit and additional 183 police officers by the end of March 2021.
The Force have however smashed that target, and ahead of schedule. As of the end of June 2020 the number of officers had increased by 219. Exceeding the Home Office target by 36 and nine months ahead of schedule. The latest figures show that at the end of June Thames Valley had almost 4,500 serving police officers working alongside the dedicated police staff, PCSOs and Specials who play such an important role in protecting the public.
Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner, Matthew Barber, said:
"The success of this recruitment drive shows the efficiency of the Force in attracting new officers and deploying them on the streets. I want to say a huge thank you to all of those men and women who have taken the incredible step to put on that uniform and step up to protect the public. There is much work still to do, and recruitment continues, but this huge boost to policing in Thames Valley will help to reduce crime and keep people safe."
Thames Valley Police continues to seek to recruit officers from all backgrounds and communities. Serving the public as a police officer is a hugely rewarding career, playing a vital role in fighting crime and protecting our society. Visit the TVP Careers website to apply for a police officer role. You can read more about police officer roles here.
200 officers executed warrants near Wantage in serious organised crime raid
Working with other government agencies more than 200 Thames Valley Police officers have taken part in two separate raid to tackle serious organised criminals. As part of the raids five arrests were made as part of this ongoing investigation demonstrating the Force's commitment to tackling criminal gangs.
Details have been published by Thames Valley Police:
Over 200 Thames Valley Police officers carried out warrants near Wantage that led to five arrests in connection with money laundering and tax offences.
The warrants took place in Woodhill Lane, East Challow and Faringdon Road, Stanford in the Vale.
Officers conducted a search of premises, outbuildings and cars within the grounds.
The searches resulted in officers seizing a range of property including large quantities of cash and high-value jewellery and recovering a suspected stolen JCB.
Five people were arrested as a result of the warrants.
Thames Valley Police led the operation and were supported by HMRC, Department for Work and Pensions, Environment Agency and Government Agency Intelligence Network (GAIN).
Thames Valley PCC successfully bids for £970,000 to help make communities safer
The Home Office has announced that the Thames Valley Police & Crime Commissioner has been awarded more than £970,000 in extra funding following a successful bid to the Government’s £25 million Safer Streets Fund – delivering on a key Conservative manifesto commitment.
The Safer Streets Fund forms part of the Government’s concerted action to tackle crime, and aims to stop offences that blight communities and cause misery to victims from happening in the first place.
The extra funding will be aimed at improving security in areas particularly affected by acquisitive crimes such as burglary, vehicle theft and robbery.
These offences are the crimes that often most concern the public, and they are estimated to cost society billions of pounds every year.
The £972,264 of new funding will go towards two pilot projects seeking to cut crime, with an evaluation to follow to see measure the impact locally.
Police and Crime Commissioners were invited to bid for a share of the £25 million Safer Streets Fund in January, with each project eligible for a grant of up to £550,000.
Bids were evaluated against a set criteria and bidders were asked to outline a plan to reduce crime within a local crime hotspot, demonstrating value for money, evidence of community engagement and long-term sustainability.
This additional funding comes alongside the Government’s commitment to recruit 20,000 additional police officers over the next three years, and the £1.1 billion funding boost for the policing system for 2020-21.
Commenting, Matthew Barber said:
“This Government was elected on the promise to crack down on crime and make our streets safer, and announced today of nearly a million pounds of additional funding for Thames Valley Police will help deliver that.
“I want people everywhere to feel secure in their communities and be able to live their lives free from the threat of crime, and this extra funding for Thames Valley will help make that possible. If successful and the schemes demonstrate value for money I hope that we can replicate more projects like these in other local areas.”
Virtual policing and crime discussion event
Join me for an online discussion about the big issues affecting policing and crime across Thames Valley and the role of the Police and Crime Commissioner in delivering and effective and efficient police force.
Due to the coronavirus restrictions my normal face to face events have been put on hold but thanks to video technology there is an alternative.
The next live discussion will be via Zoom on Monday 14th September, 6-7pm. Click the link below to register now to join this free event.
Helping to uphold standards in policing
The Professional Ethics and Standards Panel is an independent forum that reports jointly to the Chief Constable and the Police & Crime Commissioner on issues of complaints, ethics and integrity. The Police & Crime Commissioner is currently recruiting new independent members to the panel. For more information and to apply for the role please visit the PCC's website at www.thamesvalley-pcc.gov.uk.
Make your voice heard to help shape the future!
The role of the Police & Crime Commissioner includes holding to Chief Constable to account, setting the council tax precept for policing, commissioning services for victims of crime, funding community safety partnerships and setting the policing priorities for the Thames Valley.
I want to know your views about policing where you live. Please spare a few moments to complete my short survey and tell me what you think is going well and what can be done better. Click the button below or visit www.matthewbarber.co.uk/haveyoursay.
Please do spread the word and share the survey with friends and family!