This continues from Part 1 of the report on the Merseyside Police Authority meeting of the 30th August 2012, which covered agenda items 1 to 5. The agenda and reports for item 6 and 7 (apart from appendix 1 for item 6) can be found on the Merseyside Police Authority’s website.
Reports of the Chief Constable
Agenda Item 6 - Chief Constable’s Annual Report 2011-12
The Chief Constable, Jon Murphy, told Members of the Police Authority how the Chief Constable’s Annual Report was to be delivered. He said it was a “statutory requirement”, but that they had done everything they can to minimise the cost. The Chief Constable continued by saying that the community focus newsletter would go to 30,000 homes, supplemented by a corporate e-flyer and they should expect the e-flyers and newsletters distributed to the community at a cost of £860. He mentioned the “key corporate messages” and asked if anyone had any questions?
Professor Alf Zack-Williams (Independent) commented that he welcomed the report, but he suggested that they needed another set of pictures to indicate police activities over and above what they had here. He gave the example of diversionary activities and told people about his own son in the Beavers, where the guy organising it was a police officer. He thought it would be useful to have pictures illustrating this.
The Chief Constable said it was a useful observation and asked his officers if they were still in a position to do so?
The answer given by an officer to the Chief Constable was “No”. A discussion then took place between the Chief Constable and his officers. At the conclusion of the discussion the Chief Constable announced that they would consider it.
The Chair asked if anyone had any comments? No more were made, so the report was moved and noted.
Agenda Item 7 Merseyside Crimestoppers Annual Report 2011/12
The Chief Constable, Jon Murphy said that Crimestoppers had been adopted in 1994, 0800 555 111. He claimed that 100% of the calls were disseminated with 330 actionable calls. In addition to the phone, he advised that members of the public could contact them via text or the internet. The Chief Constable said that although calls were down 1%, the yield was up 41% with actions resulting from every 9.1 calls. He detailed the kinds of information provided, but wanted to make the point that they were getting increasingly high quality community intelligence from Neighbourhood Inspectors and PCSOs (Police Community Support Officers) with regards to information on criminality. He was not concerned over a 1% decrease and mentioned a success story as an initiative with Tranmere Rovers FC had resulted in the Crimestoppers number being sent out with season tickets which “continues to be a success story for the Force”.
A Member of the Police Authority said the proactivity was welcome, with evidence of Merseyside Police going out and promoting the number. They mentioned the current hiatus with the current Chair of the Crimestoppers Board stepping down.
The Chief Constable said that Ian had come in to see him and he had been asked to find somebody interested and suitable, there would be a meeting with the Chief Constable and someone in the near future.
The Chair said that the representative on the Crimestoppers Board was one of the legacy issues that fed into the Transition Committee, he expressed the view that it was important that the linkage between the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Crimestoppers Board was not lost. He said it was an important role.
A Member of the Police Authority referred to the page 42 in reference to the Most Wanted figures and the table on page 47. The Member said that Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex and Thames Valley have “quite a lot here” and did the Chief [Constable] have a comment? The Member said was it of some use but not as useful as other forces?
The Chief Constable said it had come up in discussions prior to the meeting. He asked if the figure for Hampshire, was because they never cancel it when they arrest someone? He said he didn’t know the answer, but wanted to make it clear. He explained that when they introduced Crimestoppers to Merseyside, they carried on using a different hotline number for murders whereas other forces just use Crimestoppers and link to the Most Wanted. He said it was “dangerous to read much into it”.
The Chair said that it does skew the figures quite a bit.
The Chief Constable said a pre meeting question had been whether Crimestopppers was just calls or whether it included texts? He said it was just telephone calls, with no text messages whatsoever and said that the vast majority use the telephone.
The Chair said there was no reason to use text, although landlines can send SMS, it was complicated and most people use mobiles.
The Chief Constable said a mobile phone could block its number being sent with the call, but the number couldn’t be blocked on a text.
Someone else said something about texts.
The Chief Constable said that a system exists.
Mrs Frances Street (Independent), referred to a radio program about Wonga money, where other people’s names had been used to gain £400, the police had been quoted that they won’t investigate anything under £500. She asked how many of the calls to Crimestoppers were finger-pointing, for example people ringing about their neighbours being a “pain in the neck”?
The Chief Constable said that when it was first introduced, it had been raised as a concern, but one in nine led to actions, the rest were often well-meaning but often contained information they knew already.
The Chair joked that Mrs Frances Street just wanted to know if anyone complained about her, he said information from Crimestoppers was one link in an evidence chain and that they could fill in gaps in the information.
Mrs Frances Street (Independent) said there was the potential for time-wasting.
The Chair said that when he was on the Board, there was the fear from the public as calls after 5pm were recorded, with the person phoned back the next day which had caused real ???. Then it was made anonymous, the flow rate improved and people had more confidence. With an increase in success levels, people were confident to speak as there were so many avenues, even community messaging could within an hour result in doors being kicked in. He said the confidence in communities was fantastic and that a bright spark was writing a song.
Mrs Frances Street (Independent) asked if was a rap?
The Chair said it was to make it more accessible to young people.
A Member of the Police Authority referred to page forty-nine and the information about firearm discharges. The Member said that they had one in the area, about which the public had a lot of concern Jon [referring to the Chief Constable], since then they had had a public meeting, however there had been a more recent firearm discharge that had made the front page of the [Liverpool] Echo, resulting in another public meeting to reassure people. The Member said that going back to June, there had been a more recent firearm discharge, with lots of work done by the police, they had arrested someone and found a firearm and there had been another public meeting, with a lot more recently.
The Chief Constable said he had been on leave, there was detailed Crimestoppers information, here to illustrate to Members and the public, other than Crimestoppers they received information through their own intelligence sources.
The Chair said the information would be included on the next report.
The Member said the worry is at the moment about firearms, people are concerned, especially when the same type of thing happens in the same area.
The Chief Constable understood people were concerned, he said they had made some “really good arrests last week” in the tit-for-tat shooting and that someone was in custody at the moment.
The Chair asked if there were any more questions? There weren’t any. He said the report was for noting, but he welcomed it and commended the work in reducing crime on Merseyside.
The Chair then moved the meeting onto agenda item 8 which was another report of the Chief Constable entitled Sustaining Excellence Programme – Overview.
- Merseyside Police Authority (30th August 2012) Part 2 Item 6 – Chief Constable’s Annual Report, 2011-12, Item 7 – Merseyside Crimestoppers Annual Report 2011/12 Part 2 (johnbrace.com)
- Merseyside Police Authority (30th August 2012) Declarations of Interests, Minutes, Chairman’s Announcements, Minutes of Meetings, Collaboration Agreement for the National Police Air Service Part 1 (johnbrace.com)