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Police Chiefs' Blog: Martin Hewitt – Chief Constables Council April 2019

26 Apr 2019

Last week saw a key early milestone in my tenure as chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) as we held Chief Constables’ Council in Manchester. Council brings together the leadership of the service and is our senior decision-making forum.

I shared my vision for how I plan to develop the NPCC in the future and signalled some of the changes to how council will operate.  I was very grateful for the support that all my colleagues gave me and I am already looking forward to making more changes when we meet again in London in July. As ever, we had a packed agenda that covered a wide range of operational and business issues. I was pleased that we had lively debates, made clear decisions and set actions for achieving them. 

We began the day by reviewing and discussing feedback from the regional chiefs’ meetings on twelve papers that had been pre-circulated. I took this opportunity to share with the group my plans to deal with more business at regional level as a way of making quicker decisions and spreading business throughout the year, rather than concentrating it into the four annual Chief Constables’ Council meetings.

That session was followed by two operational briefings on pressing current issues: Chief Constable Charlie Hall and Lynne Owens, Director General of the NCA, gave an update on the law enforcement preparations for the UK’s EU exit.  We felt confident that we were as ready as we could be to respond to potential challenges linked to EU exit – whether policing protest or planning for the impact of a no-deal exit.   

Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu gave a counter terrorism update, including showing a new training video for frontline officers that helps them to spot the signs of attack planning, which has been created using real life examples and extensive research with members of the police family and colleagues from MI5.  It will help in our fight against terrorism of all kinds.

The morning concluded with a good debate on the National Police Air Service (NPAS), which provides air support to all police forces for a range of incidents.  The majority of chiefs agreed the operational requirements for the service subject to further work to optimise performance and determine the most appropriate charging model.  This challenging work is being undertaken and taken forward on our behalf by Chief Constable Rod Hansen and will return to future Councils for further discussion.

Chief Constable Mike Barton led a very important session on a national capability model for policing based on the work that he had been developing within the crime operations committee. One of my first priorities is leading a review on how we manage our business within the NPCC and this paper was a great catalyst for a broader discussion on that work.   

We then had a briefing on the newly formed National Economic Crime Centre (NECC) and fraud from Graeme Biggar, DG at the NCA, and Commander Karen Baxter from the City of London Police. Afterwards Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Constabulary Sir Tom Winsor, Deputy Chief Constable Craig Naylor and Karen Mellodew from Lincolnshire Police, gave a presentation on the continuing development of force management statements and their potential uses now and in the future.

A busy day concluded with input from Chief Constable Michelle Skeer who gained support from council to develop a model for allocating costs for nationally delivered services most fairly. The model will return for decision in July.

Day two had a focus on our workforce and we were joined for these discussions by Scott McPherson, Director General for the Crime, Policing and Fire group in the Home Office. The first two sessions were focused on improving equality and diversity, a priority for me in my role. The small number of women at chief constable level is not acceptable and we discussed the reasons for this and the actions necessary to address it. I will personally take on this work and you will hear more from me on this in the near future.

We then had a fascinating session led by Chief Constables Ian Hopkins and George Hamilton on the broader diversity of our workforce and how we can collectively maximise the impact of positive action. I was really pleased that contributions in both these sessions were honest and challenging and a number of colleagues shared very powerful experiences.

We concluded with a long session led by Chief Constable Matt Jukes and College of Policing Chief Executive Mike Cunningham about how we realise the ambition in Policing Vision 2025 to build a “profession with more representative workforce that will align the right skills, powers and experience to meet challenging requirements”.  We discussed key building blocks – reforming initial recruitment, entry routes, progression routes and professional development – and progress towards them. We then discussed the linked changes to officer pay, which will link pay to skills and contribution so that officers and staff are rewarded fairly for the work they do. Matt has recently taken over the lead on this work.  In the coming months, he is reviewing, consolidating and further consulting and communicating before moving onto financial modelling and planning how we should transition to new arrangements. Detailed recommendations will return to Council this autumn. 

Finally I want to say a personal farewell to four long standing council members who will retire before we meet again in the summer. Dee Collins, George Hamilton, Jon Boutcher and Mike Barton have made an enormous contribution to policing and, as I said as we finished in Manchester, our discussions in council in the future will be poorer for their absence. I wish them all the very best for the future.

Notes to readers

We blog about the discussions and decisions at Chief Constables Council 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 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.