Committee approves PCC approach to partnership working against serious and organised crime

The West Midlands Joint Committee, made up of leaders and senior members from across the West Midlands, today (25 June) approved Bob Jones' approach to facilitating partnership working in the fight against serious and organised crime.

Bob recommended that existing Local Policing and Crime Boards should become the focal point for this work, with Force-level consideration at the annual Partnerships Summit.

The government's Serious and Organised Crime Strategy, published last year, places on Police and Crime Commissioners a responsibility to develop the local partnership response to serious and organised crime.  The strategy mimics the well-established counter-terrorism CONTEST strategy in the adoption of the "4Ps": Pursue, Protect, Prepare and Prevent.  It recommends the development of Local Organised Crime Partnership Boards that include local authorities and agencies to ensure all available information and powers are used against the organised crime threat.

The strategy states:

"Police forces will continue to conduct most law enforcement work on serious and organised crime. They should be supported by new local organised crime partnership boards, including local authorities and agencies to ensure all available information and powers are used against this threat. We believe that police and crime commissioners should play a leading role in identifying and establishing the appropriate body. These local partnerships will be informed by new serious and organised crime local profiles and should also play an important role in Prevent, Protect and Prepare."

Speaking about his approach, West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Bob Jones said, "I know that there is already much good work underway, with local authorities coming together with the police and other partners on a cross border basis to address the threats posed by organised crime, fraud, and drug dealing, as well as develop the services that can support troubled families.  It is important therefore that any work to meet the requirements of the Serious and Organised Crime Strategy is not a hindrance or administrative burden, and there is fair recognition of what is already happening, rather than any sense that we are starting from a blank page.  However, it is also important that any approach maximises the potential for partnerships to access the proposed additional funding for serious and organised crime Prevent activity, and also creatively levers in the capabilities of a wider range of agencies than is perhaps always the case now."

He continued, "The strategy recognises that the precise structure for local multi-agency partnerships to deal with serious and organised crime will vary across the country.  In our area, I see the existing Community Safety Partnerships - now developing into Local Policing and Crime Boards (LPCBs), with community representation and an outward facing approach - as the best place to locate this work.  They already bring together partners and have the support necessary for this role.  To varying degrees, they are considering issues related to serious and organised crime.  The Serious and Organised Crime Local Profiles, now in development, will map across at local authority level, making them more useful documents than a force-wide approach.  The government's strategy recognises that existing groups are often the best way to address this area of business.  I will ask my Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner and Assistant Police and Crime Commissioners, who sit on the LPCBs, to work with partners to consider the appropriate local approach in each case.  Once the Serious and Organised Crime Local Profiles are in place, the nature and scope of the threat will define the appropriate level of response.

"To allow the Local Policing and Crime Boards to come together to share good practice and receive a briefing from the police and other partners agencies on the threat and the opportunities for joint working, I propose that serious and organised crime become a standing item at my annual Partnerships Summit.  At this meeting, I will seek involvement from the national bodies that can support local activity against organised crime, such as the National Crime Agency, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, Department for Work and Pensions, HM Revenue and Customs and others.  It would also be an opportunity to share local good practice and identify common challenges."

The office of the Police and Crime Commissioner will now begin work with West Midlands Police and partners to develop the approach approved today.

The Police and Crime Commissioner's report to the Joint Committee is available to download.