Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson has launched an emergency update to his Police and Crime Plan to support West Midlands Police through the coronavirus outbreak.
The plan sets out the key actions the PCC expects the Chief Constable to deliver, as well as tasks the PCC’s office will be undertaking. It builds upon the Police and Crime Plan launched in 2016 and will last until May 2021.
Amongst new priorities in the plan are:
- Protection for key services during the crisis, such as health and retail. Those intimidating or targeting health or retail staff should be dealt with robustly.
- A pro-active approach to tackling domestic abuse, as cases are expected to rise whilst people are expected to stay at home.
- The PCC will ensure any victim of domestic abuse in the West Midlands has access to the support they need.
- West Midlands Police should continue its pragmatic approach to stay at home measures to maintain the current public support.
- A renewed focus on online child grooming to deal with rises in cases as more children are using the internet during the crisis.
- Continue to ensure that officers and staff have the personal protective equipment (PPE) they require.
- Expand the package of support (including counselling) that is available to officers and staff, during and after the coronavirus crisis, especially for those that will have to be involvement in the handling of the deceased.
- Expand the use of Specials during the crisis, to maintain the resilience of the force. Work with government to allow the force to pay Specials who are not able to work in their main job.
- Work with government to ensure that there is flexibility in funding to support West Midlands Police and the array of support services for victims that the PCC funds.
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson, said:
“This emergency Police and Crime Plan is to ensure the force has the support it needs and is adapting to the new threats as they emerge during the crisis.
“Our officers and staff are dealing under huge pressure and will increasingly be exposed to distressing situations. That is why one of the key objectives of this plan is to ensure they have the support they need during and after the crisis, including counselling if they require it.
“Crime is changing as a result of the coronavirus, it is not going away. People are unfortunately targeting NHS and retail staff – this will not be tolerated. I am also worried about domestic abuse, with people spending more time at home. This will be prioritised and I will be working with the support charities I commission to ensure people can access those vital services. I am also particularly worried about a higher prevalence of online grooming with young people spending more time on the internet. I expect the force to work with national agencies to tackle this threat.
“To ensure the resilience of the force we are proceeding with recruitment, but also making more use of Special Constables and we are also working with government to ensure we can pay recently those that are now unable to work, so we can make even more use of them.
“Overall, the absolute top priority remains working with the public to ensure people continue to stay at home. This requires a pragmatic and sensitive policing style.
“This is a plan to ensure the force not only copes with the current crisis, but recovers from it as soon as possible. The force are doing a great job under huge pressure, and it is my job to support them so they can continue to protect the public.”
Responding to the updated Police and Crime Plan, Chief Constable Dave Thompson, said: “I welcome this plan. It acts as a blueprint for the response to coronavirus for West Midlands Police and is what I will be held to account to deliver. I am committed to ensuring we continue to have a resilient force that works with other agencies to help the public through these incredibly difficult times.”
The law requires every Police and Crime Commissioner to have a Police and Crime Plan, detailing the policing to be provided and the Commissioner’s police and crime objectives.
The updated emergency Plan will now go the West Midlands Police and Crime Panel for approval.