Stops, Knife Crime & BLM. What Is Going On In London?

Last night my attention was drawn to this tweet from Norman Brennan.

Are things really that dire in Londinium, and if they are, why?

I must warn you, this is going to get very numbery, and I need to try out my new crayons.  Let’s start by having a look at Stop/Search in London over the last 2 years.

So there we see the beginnings of a potential problem, or is it?  There has indeed been a fall in the total number of Stop/Searches, in the order of 13,652 fewer (or 31%).  BUT, the May figure was in itself a spike and the numbers in June have more or less returned to normal.  I have no idea what, specifically, was going on in London during May, but something has caused a spike.  Possibly increased ‘Proactivity’ during a period of Lockdown?  I don’t know, maybe one of the serving officers can tell me.

There has been a lot of fuss in the media over the past few days about athletes getting stopped and the Met were accused of Racism and Racial Profiling.  How do the Stop/Searches over the past 2 years break down?

Well to be fair there have been a few months when the proportion of Black people stopped and searched has gone up, for whatever reason, but for most of the two year period, when one ethnicity gets stopped nore frequently, so do the others. In the very last set of data, June 2020, there were actually1,428 fewer Black people stopped than Whites.  Once again, I cannot provide a reason for that, but that is what the stats show.  Racially prejudiced or Profiled?  I can’t see any evidence to support that accusation.

How do the figures stack up when it comes to Positive Outcomes? i.e. the number of occasions something was found as a result of the Stop and Search?  Any racial bias there?

Interpret that any way you want but when one Ethnic Group rises they all rise, when one falls they all reduce.  In recent months the total number of Positive Outcomes for Black people stopped has been lower than for White people. 

What does the long term pattern over two years show us?

Before I leave Stop/Search and move onto Crimes, for the sake of completeness and transparency, we may as well include age and gender (there are only 2 genders because that all is the Met provide stats for).

Males are far more likely to get Stopped and Searched than Females, and the 15-25 year olds are streets ahead of any other age group.  Not surprising I suppose, there isn’t much chance of having sufficient grounds to Stop and Search many 75 year old Grandmas.

Almost at the end now.  How have the Knife Crime stats looked over the last two years?

The red/orange line representing the 2 year average, it is plain that Knife crime in London has slowed dramatically in 2020, way below average.  However this could be the results of CoronaVirus Lockdowns, increased numbers of Police on the streets or anything else.

Knife Crime with Injury.  A separate set of stats, how does that shape up in London?

Once again, below the red/orange Average line at the moment. 

In conclusion, looking at the bald statistics and with no current, personal knowledge of what is going on, it would appear that there HAS been a large drop in Stop Search during June, but only dropping back to the current baseline figure.  Why the spike in May is currently a mystery.  Has this alleged lack of Police activity caused a massive rise in Knife enabled crimes and Injuries caused by Knives?  I don’t think that the statistics bear that out at all.  There was an increase in both types of Knife Crime in May 2020, but still significantly below the two year average.

Sorry Norman, on the basis of the Met’s published statistics I cannot agree with your Senior Officer.

Whether ANY of this has anything to do with Black Lives Matter I can’t possibly say, but at least we have the cold, dry stats to form an opinion on.

Death By Cop, Are We As Bad As The USA?

Inspired by an article relating to deaths in America resulting from contact with the Police, and egged on by at least one former colleague, I decided to accept the challenge and have a look at what the picture looks like in England and Wales.

There’s any number of categories, but I decided to concentrate on 2 main areas; Death by Shooting, and what is loosely termed Death in Custody.

It’s totally fair to state that Policing in the UK and that in the USA follow two very different models, and there are a huge number more firearms held both lawfully and unlawfully in the USA than there ever will be here.

So, I looked at the data and some very inconvenient, pesky facts soon began staring at me from the screen.  I can only repeat that the numbers are far, far smaller than the equivalent numbers for America, but a pattern is a pattern surely?  The first thing to look at was Fatal Police Shootings.

Fatal Police Shootings England & Wales 2004/05 to 2018/19 by Ethnicity
Fatal Police Shootings England & Wales 2004/05 to 2018/19 by Age Group

I don’t really have to say much about these do I?  Numerically, the largest number of persons shot dead by Police were White, and the Under 21 sector doesn’t feature at all.  The facts would appear to indicate that young black men are not being shot dead in disproportionate numbers by Police. Only one of the above persons was female.

Moving on, Deaths in Custody, what does that look like?

Deaths in Police Custody, England & Wales, 2004/05 to 2018/19 by Ethnicity
Deaths in Police Custody, England & Wales, 2004/05 to 2018/19 by Age Group

My inescapable conclusion is pretty much the same as it is for Shootings, numerically the largest ethnic group is Whites, and the Youth are nowhere near as highly affected as the Middle Aged.  Males outnumbered Females by approx 7:1.  However, how do these figures stack up against the Population as a whole.  Unfortunately the numbers for shootings are so low that they probably are not worth comparing but the chart looks very similar to the Death in Custody figures, so maybe the percentages are not too different.  I could not find a dataset that exactly matched the IOPC data above, and they do not appear to publish that info, but I did find a relevant set of data elsewhere which should give us a reasonable idea as to whether there is any disproportionality at large.

So there you have it Ladies and Gentlemen, White folk are the biggest group here, 85% of Deaths in Custody and 86% of the population, as proportionate as you could possibly get.   The Black population do seem to be slightly over-represented, but not the crazy figures I have heard elsewhere.

IN CONCLUSION

Numerically you are far more likely to die after contact with Police or shot by Police if you are white.   The figures is the figures, the Black population are at a slightly raised risk but this is a complex subject and the reasons for that could be many and various.  My best suggestion is that an Armchair Academic with too much time on their hands does a proper, comprehensive study and publish the results without fearing what they might show.

Murder Suspects & Victims – #BlackLivesMatter

I do love a good set of numbers.  You can prove whatever you want with numbers, but, by themselves, they don’t really lie, it’s what you do with them that forms opinion.  Believe me, opinion is truly divided on this one and I’m ready for the abuse and condemnation that will no doubt come my way, my ‘Block’ button is fully serviced and ready for action.

Way back in 2018 Sky News published a rather informative article on the subject, and if it didn’t take so long, I would happily do some work to update it, but as FOI responses, even in normal times, can take anything up to 18 months to come back (yes I’ve had a couple take that long) that will have to wait for a future update.

It has widely been reported for a long time that the black population are disproportionately the victims of murder on the streets of our country, London gets a really bad press for this.  What is not shouted quite so loudly is the ethnicity of Murder Suspects.  Maybe there’s no political mileage in that.  Personally I do, and always have, preferred the reality, be it good, bad or indifferent.

Sky News submitted FOI requests to every Police Force in the England, Scotland and Wales requesting some stats on their murder victims and suspects.

Apparently, back in 2018 London was 60% White, yet only 35% of Murder Victims were white and 24% of Murder Suspects.  However the figures for the country as a whole suggest that maybe London is not completely representative, and maybe that’s not actually a surprise.  In the rest of the country white folk made up 86% of the population, 89% of Murder Victims and 81% of Murder Suspects, suspects and victims being very much in line with the population as a whole.

I’m completely happy to acknowledge that Sky News is my source for the data in the following charts, however, as it was obtained under the Freedom of Information Act it is, by default, in the Public Domain.

When it comes to ages of those concerned, it really does look like London has a problem emerging (has emerged?).  18% of the population of London is under 21, but 32% of the Murder Victims (all races) were under 21 and 45% of Murder Suspects. It looks to me as though the youth of London have running rampant. Yes, I acknowlege that this data is 18 months old, but personally my impression is that the situation has not improved, but I will try and get updated info.

Unsurprisingly possibly, males accounted for 81% of the Murder Victims in London, and 94% of those accused, and yet again the largest group was Black Males.

Other figures for areas of the UK possibly more closely represent the population as a whole.  In the rest of the UK Males comprised 49% of the population, 69% of the victims and 92% of those accused.

So there we have it, or at least how it was in 2018.  I’ll do my very best to obtain up to date and current info, and publish a new post to update this one.  The activists are quite right, Black Lives do Matter, I believe it’s unpopular to say it but All Lives Matter, but London seems to be completely out of step with the rest of the country.  I fully accept that Black Lives Matter everywhere, but it seems to be an inescapable fact that in London Black Lives are mainly being taken by Black People.  Is it racist to say that?  I don’t think so. It’s my interpretation of the figures.  I will make it a priority to obtain up to date info for London at least, the rest of the country seems pretty well balanced.  Not only do I not think it’s racist to  point it out, I also think that ALL agencies on both all sides of the argument need to sit down and thrash this out once and for all, and that includes the Mayor of London, whoever he is.  This CANNOT be simply nothing more than a tool to bash the Police and other agencies with.  Young Black Males are dying, killed, mainly, by young black men (or at least that’s what the figures say to me) but no doubt there is an Academic somewhere out there who will point out where I have gone wrong.  I have said it many times before, I don’t care what colour the victims or suspects are the killing SIMPLY HAS TO STOP.  No more dancing around trying to score points. STOP THE KILLING.

Finally, thank you to my good friend @obbsie for the following two montages of some of the murder victims in London over the last few years.  he did send me a third one representing last year but as it contains names and other personal details I have elected not to use that one.

A third of police officers will have less than three years’ experience by 2023

It isn’t very often that I rely on the Daily Mail for my source material, but on this occasion I was delighted to find Mainstream Media highlighting an issue I had identified and pointed out months ago.

The full headline reads

A third of police officers will have less than three years’ experience by 2023 as forces scramble to replace officers who have left since 2010

Well now, we all know why officers have been “leaving” in droves since 2010, the legacy of Camoron and Dismay.

Back in September 2019 I wrote this

Policing Experience – Is There Another Crisis Waiting To Happen?

I won’t replicate it here, you can follow the link and see what I made of it, together with the odd pretty chart. I often get told that I am being “negative” because I don’t believe that Boris’ 20,000 extra recruits will save the day. My estimate was that we need to recruit 40-45,000 to make an overall increase of 20,000 due to the numbers leaving, at approx 7,000 per year. The Mail believes that we need to recruit 53,000 overall to achieve that goal.

One thing that is for certain, this is the direct result of the actions and policies of Camoron, Dismay and their respective governments, INCLUDING Boris, who consistently voted in favour of the cuts, and never forgetting the Tory MPs who actually cheered when the vote was passed totally stuffing the pay of Police, NHS and the like. They actually cheered.

I have said it before and I will no doubt say it again, the Conservatives under Camoron and Dismay inflicted untold damage on the Public Sector. Come the General Election the population were so blindsided by Boris and Brexit that they voted the party of cuts back in with an increased majority. Let that sink in. As far as they are concerned their previous actions have been validated.

My My, How Times Have Changed

I have tried my best not to write about #CoronaVirus, but I have failed. Too much has changed, some things might never be the same again and some things are just totally unimaginable.

I’m not going to get involved in the arguments about PPE for NHS staff, much has already been said and I will that debate to people who know better than I, although I fully understand ehy the NHS personnel are wanting it.

I recently went to see my GP, I got through the telephone inquisition and was granted an appointment. When I arrived I was allowed through the ‘Fort Knox’ airlock and into the building. I was the only patient there. The Waiting Room, normally heaving at 9:30, was empty apart from me. Within seconds my doctor appeared and called me in. I was confronted by a man, dressed head to toe looking like he was just prepped to carry out a heart transplant.

I wasn’t there to discuss anything vaguely similar to CoronaVirus, but I do understand why he was so attired, and I don’thave a problem with it per se, but it did get me thinking.

There he was, gloved, gowned and masked to the nines, just in case I was infectious. As I said, I don’t have the slightest problem with that, but, how many Police Officers are out on the streets every day interacting with the public on any number of levels, with what protection exactly? Some very horrible people have already been arrested and imprisoned for spitting or coughing over Police Officers, PCSOs and others. What protection did they have? Every day, somewhere in the UK, a Police Officer will be rolling around on the ground with a violent suspect. Almost every day a Police Officer someehere will be giving First Aid to a stabbing victim or similar. With what protection?

I fully realise that Police Officers, and many others, can’t actually do their jobs dressed up like Robocop or whatever, but, they go out there and they do it anyway because that is the mark of our brave ladies and men, and we should be proud of them and grateful that they do it. Instead a small but vociferous section of our population moan like drains because someone has had their beach barbecue put out or someone else has been moved on from a park bench, and, heaven forbid, possibly given a ‘ticket’.

The Corona regulations and the accompanying restrictions on all of our movements have been in force for long enough now. Everybody should know what they are and how they affect them. Break them at your peril but stop bitching about being caught and ‘told off’. Nowhere near everybody gets a ticket, most just have things explained to them and sent home. If you can’t take that I have no sympathy. Occasionally the Police Officer may be less than 100% polite, but again, I can see why that may be the case. I’m not saying it’s OK, but just think what else they may have had to deal with that day, or how many before you had had to be moved on, then be grateful that you have not been dealt with by one of our European neighbours. These are far from ‘Normal’ times.

Finally, our government announced yrsterday, a £60,000 ‘Life Insurance’ payout for NHS workers dying as a direct result of CoronaVirus. Even my daughter, who works for the NHS, questioned why they were being singled out. Any number of other Emergency Service or Key Workers are extra vulnerable to CoronaVirus. Are they any less worthy? I’m not totally sure where I stand on the principle of the £60,000 payout, but I’m quite clear in my mind that it is potentially unfair to only grant it to NHS workers, many others are also vulnerable and with less protective equipment.

My my, times have really changed in a very short space of time, and I have no idea when, if ever, things will return to normal.

It’s Those Awful Arrogant, Overbearing Rozzers Again

It’s been one of those weeks for Policing. Having got bored of attacking the Police for being over-zealous in enforcing the government’s lockdown, a certain sector of the public have moved on and resurrected Police Racism again.

In London two incidents flooded the Twitter waves

The first related to an operational matter whereby a disinterested observer just assumed that there was a bit of Institutional Racism going on and took to Twitter without waiting to establish the facts.

The second was a so-called journalist who took a photo in a park and immediately cried racism. When a Local Councillor got an explanation from the Met and passed it on, the author still didn’t have the decency to retract or delete her Tweet.

Imagine my delight when I found a couple of good news stories that received nowhere near as much traction as the so called ‘Racism’ tweets did.

Firstly, a young WPC in Rochdale (yes, I did type WPC, no I won’t apologise for it). Any OCU Commander should be extremely proud to have her on under his/her command. An absolute credit to the Police Service, and a thoroughly deserved Commendation.

Not only did Michelle help a vulnerable lady,

On some of her days off she went to the supermarket and bought shopping for them using her own money which she then delivered.

She also baked scones for them, cleaned their kitchen, did their washing and made their beds as well as cooking them a meal amongs other household tasks.

She chose not to tell anybody at work what she had done. A true credit to her profession, and certainly worthy of recognition in an age when it’s fashionable to bash the Police.

Finally, and certainly not least, today I discovered Chaz Singh (@PlymouthChaz) who had tweeted to tell the story of how he had been stopped by the Police, breath tested, and allowed to carry on his way (because it was negative 😂😂)

Now Chaz is a man who is quite obviously not white, middle class British. He decribes himself as #thatmanwiththeturban. I immediately loved his attitude. He was open about the fact he had been stopped and the reasons for it. Not only that but he went on to publicise the fact and his positive reaction to it, even including the Chief Constable and the Local Paper in his Tweet.

https://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/news/plymouth-news/plymouth-politician-thanks-police-breathalysing-4066739?utm_source=linkCopy&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=sharebar

Reading of Chaz’s experiences also prompted the following complimentary Tweet

If only more people were willing to publicise their positive experiences like Chaz did. Far too many just want to bitch and moan, or even, and much worse, just make shit up. Tweeting about things that either didn’t happen or the author has no personal knowledge of the event they are negatively publicising. The job of the Police is difficult at the best of times, virtually impossible during the current crisis, and still people seek out opportunities to knock them

Don’t be like Jessica and Rikvah, be like Michelle and Chaz

Same Old, Same Old Tories

Before I get carried away and rant TOO much I would just like to say that I actually hope that I am wrong.

Following the downfall of the disastrous Theresa May and her infamous Cuts we inherited Boris Johnson as PM, almost by default as nobody else seemed very willing to challenge him.

In he came, full of promises and “Let’s Get Brexit Done” (that’s Boris for Strong and Stable) and quicky won over the public with all his rash promises. First he promised 20,000 ‘extra’ Police Officers. This is something that would appeal to all right-minded people. Why would we not want more Police Persons?

Following swiftly on the heels of the 20k pledge we had a promise to build 40 ‘new hospitals’, well, maybe 6 if we’re lucky.

Hold your breath, here comes another one. 50,000 ‘extra’ Nurses.

We currently ‘lose’ about 7-8,000 Police Officers per annum due to Natural Wastage, so are these 20,000 ‘extra’ officers ‘extra’ to what we currently have, effectively replacing those who will leave in the coming 3 years, or are they truly additional, in which case how the hell can we recruit and train more officers in 3 years than we ever have done before? 40,000 recruited and trained over a three year period when Cruella and co have already been instrumental in dismantling our training infrastructure.

The above chart clearly shows that never, since 2005 if at all, have we ever recruited more than approx 9,000 officers in a single year, so how will we cope with circa 40,000 across 3 years with a reduced capability?

40 new hospitals? Where is the money coming from for those? We can’t even get the two hospitals that Carillion left half-built finished. How will we pay for them, who will build them?

50,000 extra Nurses? Boris has now backtracked and that has been downgraded to 31,000. I don’t know enough about the NHS but I suspect that they will also struggle to recruit an extra 31,000 Nurses in short order.

Fast Forward, we have now had another General Election and Boris and the Conservatives now have a workable majority in Parliament.

Call me cynical, but maybe now the mask has slipped.

I’ll leave it for someone better qualified to commentate on the NHS promises, but I will address the Policing issues.

The government recently announced an increase in expenditure on Policing of up to £15 Billion. Gosh, that’s a lot, where is it going?

Is it just me or has the word ‘extra’ been omitted from the first item? And I do assume that all of these officers, 20,000 or 40,000, ‘extra’ or not, will have to either be graduates or sign up to an Apprenticeship programme?

If you want to know where the remainder of the £15 Billion is coming from, look no further than your Council Tax Precept. PCCs have been invited to raise the Policing Precept to pay for extra officers. Not such a generous government offer after all maybe?

But at least the new look government hasn’t put any conditions on the increased funding.

Kit Malthouse, Policing Minister, said the public “need to see results” for the £1.1 billion extra that police have been awarded for 2020/21. He said that they must slash their backroom staff to put more officers on the frontline and improve their use of technology to combat the surge in violent crime.

This will be tricky as those cuts have already been made.

“Lives are being lost. Families are being devastated. Communities are being torn apart. We must bring an end to this violence. This is the public’s money and they need to see results for their investment,” said Mr Malthouse.

“So it’s only right the Government holds them to account and we expect to see measurable outcomes from this generous settlement.”

This view is totally right and proper but does he not realise that is what the Police WANT to do? They certianly don’t need League Tables and Powerpoint Charts.

With Blair Gibbs, that well known Horseman of the Policing Apocalypse, inside Number 10 as one of Boris Johnson’s SPADs it will only be a matter of time before numerical targets are reintroduced into Policing.

The Times has already reported, on 5th January, that the Government are planning on bringing in a Target Culture again.

My opinion on that is predictable

All in all it seems that this version of a Conservative government hasn’t really changed much from Cruella’s regime, just a few more platitudes and empty promises.

Finally, NONE of Boris’ promises regarding Policing even begin to address the dwindling numbers of PCSOs and Support Staff, both culled under Theresa May.

Every person who voted Tory in 2019 did so knowing full well what the Conservatives had done under Theresa May. Most of Boris’ current Cabinet voted IN FAVOUR of those cuts and even cheered at the results of some of the votes.

Empty words and vote-winning rhetoric or truly the beginning of better times? We shall see.

More College Smoke And Mirrors?

A recent set of College of Policing Board minutes makes the bold claim that the Police Service will be recruiting 53,000 new officers over a three year period.

This presumably includes Boris’ famous 20,000 officers.

My problem is this, since 2005 (at least) the Police Service has never recruited more than 10,000 new officers in a single year. After 10 years of #Cuts, where the hell are the facilties for training all these officers? How good will their training actually be? Can we actually attract 53,000 new recruits, especially given Graduate and Apprenticeship Entry looming?

Para 4.2 of the attached minutes makes this bold claim, but does anyone actually believe it?

This Parrot Is Dead

I know a dead parrot when I see one and I’m looking at one right now.

Well, not really a parrot but a Superintendent’s Direct Entry Programme.

Many forces have indicated their continued support for the Direct Entry Superintendent Programme beyond 2020. However, our understanding of the current appetite for Direct Entry Superintendents would indicate there is not a sufficient requirement in order to establish a meaningful cohort for next year. So a decision has been reached that there will be a pause on recruitment into the Direct Entry Superintendent programme for 2020, with a view of reassessing service appetite in subsequent years.

A Pause you say? Does that mean a pause while the Superintendent’s Direct Entry Programme quietly disappears, or is this moribund parrot going to rise, Phoenix-like from the ashes to be stubbornly resurrected in a few years time when they hope the crusties will have gone quiet?

Or maybe this quietly sees the beginning of the end of several of Theresa May’s Vanity Projects?

  • Winsor’s Independent Reviews
  • Tom Winsor as Head of HMICFRS or whatever it’s called today
  • IOPC
  • Direct Entry Supernintendos
  • Direct Entry Inspectors
  • Graduate Entry Scheme and Apprenticeships

I have no idea what the cost to the Public Purse of the two Direct entry programmes has been, and evverybody has an opinion on how succesful and relevantthey have been, but the numbers do not really make sense to me.

In April this year I wrote a post concentrating on the Direct Entry programmes, it might have been a little bit critical bit critical but the numbers are simply these:-

In 3 years since the Programme began there had been a TOTAL of 54 Direct Entry Inspectors recruited, and in the 5 years since teir programme began there had been a TOTAL of 32 Direct Entry Superintendents.

And then it gets worse, the College of Policing decided not to tell me how many of those meaagre numbers had subsequently left (for any reason) but they did give me a clue (yes, I know it’s strange)

A) Up to 18.5% of Direct Entry Inspectors have fallen by the wayside one way or another since 2016.

B) Up to 31% of Direct Entry Superintendents have quit or been let go since 2014

Not exactly a glowing recommendation of such a controversial scheme, but I do know one thing in life.

This parrot is dead, it is an ex-parrot

David (Warwickshire) Vs Goliath (West Mercia)

Forget #Brexit, this is much closer to home and just as gripping to some of us.

Before I go any further, beacuase I’m a fair kind of person, I must point out the collaboration between Warwickshire and West Mercia Police Forces came into being in 2012, the present encumbent in West Mercia, my old adversary John Campion, has only been in post since 2016.  He had no say whatsoever in the planning and setting up of the colloboration between the 2 Forces.

Right, that’s got the civilities out of the way, let’s begin.

It would appear that Conservative PCC John Campion has decided to end the Strategic Alliance with Warwickshire, without Warwickshire actually agreeing to it.

Chief Constable Martin Jelley of Warwickshire said

Our two forces entered into a strategic alliance in 2012 which has been recognised nationally for the extensive nature of its collaboration and has demonstrated significant benefits from shared working.


In fact, it has allowed both forces to save more than £35million and maximise resources to Frontline Policing? Excellent, what could be wrong with that.

Save more than £35 Million?  Has to be good.  Maximise resources for Front Line Policing?  An excellent plan.  What could possibly go wrong?

The alliance between Mr Campion and his own Chief Constable is what could possibly go wrong.

As a Council Tax payer contributing to West Mercia’s coffers I have been shocked and appalled by some of the decisions and policies coming from the penthouse suite at Force HQ.

They include (and please feel free to add others in the comments below or email them to me and I will add them anonymised)

  • Withdrawal from the Central Motorway Police Group
  • Sale of VRM AB1, possibly at lower than best market value.
  • Closure of many operational Police Stations leaving (I believe) just one Charging Centre per County serving Shropshire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire, 3 quite large counties)
  • Project Athena, an IT system so frail and flawed it seems worse than some of the antiquated systes in use prior to my retirement. I can think of at least 2 IT systems from my era that could have been brought up to date and function better than Athena.
  • Failing to acknowledge the ‘experience gap’ in the West Mercia caused directly by Conservative cuts since 2010, merely pledging to recruit extra brand new officers.
  • The current ‘divorce’ between West mercia and Warwickshire.

In relation to Athena, I asked the question of West Mercia

1) Could you please tell me the total cost to date to West Mercia and Warwickshire Police of joining Project Athena?

2) Could you please tell me the cost for this Financial Year (alternatively the total number of hours) of overtime incurred by Police Officers in relation to file preparation etc for Project Athena?

The response I received was

The implementation of Athena has resulted in West Mercia Police and
Warwickshire Police force Alliance investment costs to date of £4.423m.
This represents the one-off costs from both capital and revenue.

The overtime cost to date for this financial year 2017/18 is £127,205.

The initial cost for the original 7 Forces was £32 Million over a period of 10 years. I’m no expert but the best part of £4 and a half Million so far for West Mercia and Warwickshire seems a little steep and possibly indicates a bit of creep ahead, but we’ll have to see. £127,205 is surely a scandalous figure for overtime costs on a system designed to be more efficient and save money.

In relation to AB1 I submitted the following FOI to Mr Campion

In relation to the sale of Vehicle Registration Mark AB1 could you please supply me with the following:-
Copies of Minutes of any Meeting where the sale of AB1 was proposed or discussed (redacted if appropriate) including the very first proposal to sell it. I have yet to locate in the Disclosure Log any document containing the original proposal to sell it and ensuing discussion. Decision Notice 8 only records the decision to accept the offer of £160,000, specifically NOT the Decision to sell the VRM.
Copies of any documents including, but not limited to, any correspondence concerning the monetary value of the VRM, any letters or emails between OPCC/PCC/HEO and the successful purchaser
Copies of any other documents or emails, not specifically requested previously, that contain reference to the sale of AB1 and have not been previously included in a Disclosure Log

His response?

a) Copies of Minutes of any Meeting where the sale of AB1 was proposed or discussed (redacted if appropriate) including the very first proposal to sell it. I have yet to locate in the Disclosure Log any document containing the original proposal to sell it and ensuing discussion. Decision Notice 8 only records the decision to accept the offer of £160,000, specifically NOT the Decision to sell the VRM.
The answer to this was:-
There are no copies of minutes or any other documents regarding the first proposal to sell AB1. Decision Notice 8 implicitly incorporates the recommendation to sell with the recommendation to accept the offer
b) Copies of any documents including, but not limited to, any correspondence concerning the monetary value of the VRM, any letters or emails between OPCC/PCC/HEO and the successful purchaser
The answer to this was:-
The documents and correspondence concerning the monetary value of the VRN and copies of emails between the OPCC/PCC/HEO and the successful purchase are exempt from disclosure under Section 43(2) of the Freedom of Information Act – Commercial Interests.

And now we have the best of all, the ‘divorce’ and breaking up of the collaboration that was meant to save £35 Million.

A Freedom of Information Request submitted to West mercia PCC by A N Other, asking for the cost of the breakup was met with this response

There is currently no total estimated cost for ending the two force
alliance.

Well, in my humble opinion that is nowhere near good enough.  Mr Campion is controlling a huge budget, he has already increased the Council Tax Precept for Policing, West Mercia covers 3 large counties in rural England and he is publicly accountable for his budgets and decisions.  There seems to be an emerging pattern, common to Conservatives everywhere in Public Office, that they don’t have to do Risk and Impact Assessments, then they can’t be held up as getting it wrong.

In fairness, Mr Campion did record this monumental decision in a publicly available format (for what it’s worth), enjoy (Please note it comprises 4 pages, just use the arrow at the bottom for Next Page)

26-Record-of-Decision-Ending-of-Strategic-Alliance-with-Warwickshire-Police

Now for the really boring bit, this would never had happened if I had been the West Mercia PCC, but Mr Camoron made damn sure that I (and many other Independeent candidates) hastily withdrew from the elections when he craftily increased the deposit payable by all candidates from £500 to £5000, which he did not apply to any other elections, just the PCC elections. Short of remortgaging Angry Towers, that well and truly saw me off without the might of a large, powerful political party behind me and the personal support of Theresa May I was toast.  Surprisingly (well I thought so anyway) Mr Campion didn’t even want to short-list me as an applicant to be his Deputy, but that’s another story entirely.

In conclusion, as a resident of West Mercia, who pays their Council tax (on time as well), takes an interest in the local Constabulary and their problems and interractions with their public I am appalled that such a decisision has been taken by Mr Campion.  I fully understand the anxst of the Warwickshire PCC and Chief Constable.  I truly do not understand how this will benefit ANYBODY, either side of the Alliance.  I can only hope that the people who did vote for him can live with that decision and tolerate the potential damage that will be done to Public Safety if this reckless proposal eventually goes ahead. But what do I know?